make a difference

AmeriCorps

What Is AmeriCorps? I was delighted with President Obama’s increased commitment to Americorps announced last week. Sponsored by then Senator John F. Kennedy and implemented by Congress in 1961, AmeriCorps builds on the power of citizen volunteers to make a difference across our nation to meet critical community needs. AmeriCorps members address critical needs in communities all across America. AmeriCorps members:

• Tutor and mentor disadvantaged youth

• Fight illiteracy

• Improve health services

• Build affordable housing

• Teach computer skills

• Clean parks and streams

• Manage or operate after-school programs

• Help communities respond to disasters

• Build organizational capacity

According to the AmeriCorps website – http://www.americorps.gov/, “Each year, AmeriCorps offers 75,000 opportunities for adults of all ages and backgrounds to serve through a network of partnerships with local and national nonprofit groups. Whether your service makes a community safer, gives a child a second chance, or helps protect the environment, you’ll be getting things done through AmeriCorps!” Benefits of Service “As an AmeriCorps member, you’ll gain new skills and experiences—and you’ll also find the tremendous satisfaction that comes from helping others.

In addition, full-time members who complete their service earn a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award of $4,725 to pay for college, graduate school, or to pay back qualified student loans or some programs also pay $1200 in cash. members who serve part-time receive a partial Award. Some AmeriCorps members may also receive a modest living allowance during their term of service.”

There are a variety of AmeriCorps programs. I mention four below. Visit their website for additional information!

The state-based programs provide opportunities to work in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Americorps projects in your state (Kansas link): http://www.americorps.gov/about/role_impact/state_profiles_detail.asp?tbl_profiles_state=KS

Some programs are nationally based. Americorps national: http://www.americorps.gov/about/programs/national.asp

Americorps VISTA program to fight poverty in the U.S.: http://www.americorps.gov/about/programs/vista.asp VISTA volunteers serve full-time for a year “at a nonprofit organization or local government agency, working to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create businesses, strengthen community groups, and much more … to bring individuals and communities out of poverty.”

Americorps National Civilian Community Corps http://www.americorps.gov/about/programs/nccc.asp: is for young adults 18-24. The goal of NCCC is to “strengthen communities and develop leaders through direct, team-based national and community service”. NCCC volunteers work regionally with nonprofit organizations, state and local agencies, faith-based and other community organizations. Members live on one of five campuses, located in Denver, Colorado, Sacramento, California, Perry Point, Maryland, Vicksburg, MS, and Vinton, Iowa.

Follow AmeriCorps on twitter at: http://www.twibes.com/AmeriCorps

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