Catherine Noel, B’10, started feeling antsy shortly after she landed her first pro­fes­sional job as a port­folio accoun­tant for a finan­cial ser­vices firm.

The office life, she explained, simply wasn’t for her. Instead, Noel wanted to con­tinue the community-​​building work that she had begun as an under­grad­uate vol­un­teer for a student-​​led orga­ni­za­tion called Social Change through Peace Games.

Noel started looking for new oppor­tu­ni­ties in Boston and quickly found the Mass­a­chu­setts Promise Fel­low­ship, a non­profit Ameri­Corps orga­ni­za­tion that is housed within Northeastern’s Center for Com­mu­nity Ser­vice. The orga­ni­za­tion places 40 fel­lows who commit to a year of full-​​time ser­vice at non­profit orga­ni­za­tions, schools, and city agen­cies across Mass­a­chu­setts to create, lead and manage youth-​​development projects. The pro­gram also gives par­tic­i­pants the option of taking free classes through the university’s Col­lege of Pro­fes­sional Studies.

At the begin­ning of August, Noel started serving with America Scores, a Boston-​​based urban youth-​​development pro­gram that com­bines soccer, men­toring and ser­vice learning. “Now I’m working with a group I really believe in,” she explained. “I’m working with more senior fel­lows who have expe­ri­ence, and I know what we’re doing is really making an impact.”

Mass Promise fellow Hatsie Haley.

Hatsie Haley recently com­pleted her second year of ser­vice as a Mass­a­chu­setts Promise fellow for an orga­ni­za­tion called MassPower. Haley, who served with chil­dren and facil­i­tated the building of a new site at the South Boston Boys & Girls Club, noted that the expe­ri­ence has pre­pared her for a teaching job in ele­men­tary education.

I feel like I grew up with this pro­gram,” said Haley, who is pur­suing a master’s degree in edu­ca­tion through CPS. “I grad­u­ated from col­lege and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I went into ser­vice so I could try a few things out.”

She added, “Through this fel­low­ship, I gained a real appre­ci­a­tion of the impor­tance of ser­vice and com­mu­nity, which helped focus what I want to do with my life.”

The Mass­a­chu­setts Promise Fel­low­ship is the only Ameri­Corps pro­gram in Mass­a­chu­setts to dis­patch its fel­lows to loca­tions across the state, and not just within a spe­cific region or city. The Fel­low­ship is funded with fed­eral money that is then dis­trib­uted by the Mass­a­chu­setts Ser­vice Alliance, a non­profit orga­ni­za­tion that serves as the state com­mis­sion on ser­vice and volunteerism.

Fel­lows, said pro­gram director Colleen Holohan, spend about 80 per­cent of their time in the field and 20 per­cent in pro­fes­sional training and devel­op­ment seminars.

The pro­gram helps strengthen the lives of the fel­lows, from both a pro­fes­sional and human­i­tarian per­spec­tive. “Our fel­lows become very close pro­fes­sional col­leagues and are ready to make real changes to their com­mu­ni­ties once they com­plete the pro­gram,” she said.