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Community Service through AmeriCorps

Have you ever participated in community service and seen the difference a passionate group of people can make? Have you wondered what you could accomplish if you had more time and resources? Are you looking for a "gap year" between graduation and your future career or graduate school? Do you believe that you could help make a difference in our country? AmeriCorps might be the program for you!

AmeriCorps is a federal government program that offers 75,000+ opportunities every year to make a difference in America's communities. A sampling of topic areas are: community development, community outreach, disaster relief, economic development, education, health, hunger, housing, neighborhood revitalization, public safety, and technology. AmeriCorps is a fantastic opportunity to broaden your horizons, work with diverse populations, and challenge yourself in ways you may have never imagined during 10 to 12 month service terms.

AmeriCorps is comprised of three main programs: AmeriCorps State and National, AmeriCorps VISTA, and AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps).

State and National corps members support local service programs to address specific needs within a community. City Year (which has a site in Columbus) is the largest program within AmeriCorps and works with underserved youth in urban areas all over the country through tutoring, mentoring, and service programs.

AmeriCorps VISTAs (Volunteers In Service To America) serve as full-time members in community organizations and public agencies who create or expand programming that helps low-income individuals and communities work their way out of poverty.

AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) engages its member through direct service in multiple communities across America during a 10-month service term. Corps members work, live, and travel with their group to perform direct service tasks that strengthens communities and develops leaders in the process.

In addition to being a phenomenal resume builder, what other benefits come with these positions? Upon completion of your service term (one full-time term is usually 10-12 months), you will be eligible for an education award of $4,725 to pay for college tuition, graduate school tuition, or repay qualifying student loans. Also, during your service term, your existing loans will go into forbearance, and AmeriCorps pays for the interest your loans accrue during that period. You will also receive health coverage, training, and a modest living allowance.

As a City Year Columbus graduate (2008-2009) and an AmeriCorps*VISTA alumna (2009-2010), I would be happy to talk with you about my personal experiences and help guide you through the application process. Feel free to schedule a meeting with me at 614-292-6651.

With the passing of the Serve America Act in 2009, AmeriCorps is looking to grow from 75,000 members per year to 250,000 within the next eight years - this is a very exciting time to get involved! The program is hoping to expand its reach within new arenas, potentially environmental and health care issues, so those with an interest in those fields might consider exploring opportunities with AmeriCorps.

For more information:

"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do."-Edward Everett Hale

Authored by Jena Pugh.