Greater Miami Service Corps Member Receives Prestigious Award

Author  Deborah Dorsett

Miami — Esperanzita Castillo, a recent graduate of the Greater Miami Service Corps (GMSC)Youth Build program, currently serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA under the Points of Light ServiceWorks program at GMSC, was  honored on February 14,  by The Corps Network, the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps, as a 2018 Corps member of the Year.

The Corps Network presents the Corpsmember of the Year Award on an annual basis to six young adults chosen from among the 25,000+ individuals who serve in member organizations of The Corps Network every year. The Corpsmembers of the Year are young people who have demonstrated personal growth, outstanding leadership skills, and a sincere commitment to national service. All winners of the Corpsmember of the Year Award are nominated by their Corps and selected by a panel of staff from The Corps Network and its member Corps. 

Esperanzita Castillo hasn’t had an easy life by any stretch of the imagination; however, her determination, perseverance and positive outlook have turned her challenging circumstances into an inspiring story of strength and triumph. She remains committed to giving back and takes great pride in neighborhood clean ups and landscaping projects that help restore beauty in local neighborhoods. “I was excited for the opportunity to do community work. I’ve always loved helping others and beautification projects,” Esperanzita shares.

GMSC is one of more than 130 member organizations of The Corps Network. Corps are local, state or national programs that provide young adults and recent veterans the opportunity to serve their community, advance their education and obtain in-demand skills. Serving in crews or individual positions, Corpsmembers spend up to a year performing meaningful projects that address conservation and infrastructure concerns, wildfires and natural disasters, outdoorrecreation access, and a range of other issues. Corpsmembers gain work experience through building trails, conducting prescribed burns, managing habitats, helping disaster-stricken communities, and performing various other service-oriented tasks.

“All of our member Corps and Corpsmembers make significant contributions to communities across the country,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President and CEO of The Corps Network. “With the Corpsmember of the Year Award, we have the opportunity to celebrate extraordinary individuals and programs from our network and shed light on the vast capabilities of Corps; our awardees are symbols of the impact of national service. The Corps Network is humbled to represent such inspiring people asEsperanzitaand programs like Greater Miami Service Corps.”

“Using service to connect young people in Miami-Dade County to education and meaningful work experience opportunities, allows them to transform their lives while contributing to the communities and neighborhoods they live in,” says Deborah Dorsett, Executive Director of the Greater Miami Service Corps.

Esperanzita, joined  five other Corpsmembers of the Year  at a formal ceremony on February 14th on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC as part of The Corps Network’s 2018 National Conference, “The Trail Ahead.”  For more information about the conference, please visit For more information about Greater Miami Service Corps please visit