Zack Balcha is an Eritrean-American and former refugee, and he served with the RISE AmeriCorps program in 2019 after moving from Seattle. Once in Iowa, Zack met with members of the Kunama community and began teaching English as a Second Language. He was then connected to a friend who suggested he join RISE AmeriCorps. From there Zack became more and more involved with the community and saw many opportunities to help.
As an AmeriCorps member, Zack had the freedom to work closely with his community to learn how to best meet their unique and urgent needs. Zack often says of the RISE program, “Focus on service and learning first, and the rest will come.” RISE AmeriCorps allowed Zack to build his skills in leadership, community organizing, and public speaking.
When Zack completed his service term with RISE, he was prepared to take on a role as a Community Navigator with Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center (EMBARC) in Des Moines. This fall Zack is supervising RISE members himself in his new position as WorkReady Coordinator.