AmeriCorps is a United States federal government organization set up under former President Bill Clinton, and it was later expanded under President George W. Bush. AmeriCorps is a division of the Corporation for National and Community Service whose focus ranges from service in education to the environment. Each year AmeriCorps offers more than 75,000 opportunities for adults of all ages and backgrounds to serve their communities in a variety of ways.
Why is AmeriCorps the coolest?
Your term of service through AmeriCorps will have multiple benefits. By serving in an AmeriCorps program, members become eligible to for the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. This award can be used toward the payment of student loans or graduate school tuition. Many programs offer an allowance that will cover the basic costs of living.
A term of service will also be beneficial when searching for professional work. Those who make a commitment to service have better networking options, and become more competitive in the job force, than those who do not. Members also have the opportunity to develop skills that they may not have had the chance to use otherwise.
What options do you have?
AmeriCorps is split into three different programs that have different focuses.
- AmeriCorps State and National: Refers to a broad range of service areas in your local community. The main focus is intensive service in community programs. Members have the opportunity to serve in a variety of agencies including faith-based, community organizations, higher education, and public agencies. Their goals are to raise awareness in the fields of education, environment, public safety, and health. They engage in direct service such as after-school tutoring, volunteer recruitment, and capacity building.
- AmeriCorps VISTA: VISTA was originally created under Lyndon Johnson as a way to fight poverty. Former president Bill Clinton brought it under the AmeriCorps program during his presidency. There are currently over 5,000 VISTAs serving throughout the country in various organizations. They work to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create businesses, and strengthen community groups.
- AmeriCorps NCCC: NCCC is a full-time program for adults ranging from the ages of 18 to 24. NCCC stands for National Civilian Community Corps. Their goal is to strengthen communities, while building leaders out of team service. NCCC members focus on aiding national crises.
AmeriCorps Week is March 10-18, it is the perfect time to recognize and celebrate the dedication to service that AmeriCorps members make every year. There are many great ways to get involved in celebrating AmeriCorps and service this week! The theme for this week is AmeriCorps Works. Although, these are just a few examples of how it works, you can see that AmeriCorps truly accomplishes its goals and provides a great deal of service to our communities.
Now that you know more about AmeriCorps, how will you show that it works?