"I decided to take a year off from school. I think it's important for young people to serve their country," said Corcoran, who was assigned to the Western region based in Sacramento, Calif.
"We look for people who have a really strong work ethic and strong leadership skills," said Aimee Conlee, an AmeriCorps spokeswoman.
Corps members provide support to faith-based, community-service and government organizations across the country. Members are on 24-hour call, if needed, to aid disaster relief efforts anywhere in the country, Conlee said.
"They've all gone through Red Cross disaster relief training," she said.
Corcoran credits his home-schooling experience and supportive parents with giving him the confidence to spread his wings.
"We couldn't be happier for Jack, in fact, we're tickled to death and we're so proud of him," said his mother, Ann Corcoran.
His father, Howard Corcoran, is an attorney for the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington D.C., and his mother manages the Ranger Foundation on Greenbriar Farm in Keedysville. Established by his mother, the Ranger Foundation is a retirement home for horses that have given years of service to people.
His parents said the AmeriCorps program has expanded his knowledge of the world.
"I didn't have a good understanding of how people in low-income communities lived," Corcoran said. He said he has gained an understanding of economic and social problems.
From October to December, Corcoran worked with a team assigned to provide English language tutoring to a mostly Hispanic and black student population at Pacific Elementary School in Sacramento, Calif.
"The students bonded with us instantly, they accepted us for who we were and how we treated them," Corcoran said.
He said he was surprised at how the students instantly attached to members of his team. "Race was something that never crossed their minds," he said.
Last week, Corcoran and his team arrived in Hawaii, where they'll spend the next seven weeks on an environmental project.
"We'll be removing Kiawe - an invasive plant species on the island of Maui," he said.
Corcoran said the program has given him an opportunity to give something back to his country in exchange for first-hand experience working with people from different cultures.
During the AmeriCorps selection process, Conlee said, Corcoran showed a high level of dedication and willingness to endure the 10-month program.
At the end of the program, Corcoran will receive a $5,000 educational award.