A Buffalo Grove resident is preparing to spend the next 10 months helping strangers prepare for and respond to emergency situations.
Mitch Levinson will leave his hometown next week for Vicksburg, Miss., where he will be stationed as a member of FEMA Corps, a unit of the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps that is dedicated to disaster preparedness and relief.
He will first complete about five weeks of training in Mississippi.
“After that, I could go pretty much anywhere,” he said.
Levinson, a Stevenson High School graduate, earned a bachelor’s degree in political science this year from the University of Iowa. He decided to dedicate a year to AmeriCorps before beginning his career.
The application-based program accepts participants who are between the ages of 18 and 24.
“There’s a limited time when I can do something like this, and I want to help people,” he said.
Levinson said he has volunteered in the past with Habitat for Humanity, and he also led free hockey clinics for children while in college, where he played on the university’s hockey team.
While he’s not sure precisely what he will encounter as a member of FEMA Corps, he said he’s been assigned an office-based management role. But as part of the organization’s requirements, he will also spend time in the field, performing work such as gutting homes that were in the paths of natural disasters.
In exchange for his service, he will receive housing, meals, uniforms and modest living allowance.
“Public service is something I want to get into,” he said, “and this seems like a good place to start.”