Transforming Communities through Service: A Collection of 52 of the Most Innovative AmeriCorps Programs in the United States
A report by America’s Service Commissions and Innovations in Civic Participation June 2010
Acknowledgements: ASC and ICP would like to thank the Advisory Committee for their time, effort and guidance in developing this publication. Thank you also to state service commissions for nominating programs, answering all of our questions and your support. Thank you to ASC Board Chair Bill Basl, Executive Director Tom Branen, and Public Policy Manager Joe Gersen, ICP Executive Director Susan Stroud and interns Caitlin O’Donnell and Sara Danver for their efforts in preparing this report. Project Coordinators: Christy Venable, America’s Service Commissions (ASC) Colleen Hammelman, Innovations in Civic Participation (ICP) Advisory Committee: Rachel Chadderdon, Executive Director, ServeWyoming Maryalice Crofton, Executive Director, Maine Commission for Community Service Lisa Frederick, Program Director, Massachusetts Service Alliance Bryan Guiot, Assistant Director, Nevada Volunteers Kristin Honz, Program Officer, Iowa Volunteers Brian Lock, Assistant Director, Washington Commission for National and Community Service Circe Olander, Assistant Director, CaliforniaVolunteers Jim Snell, Executive Director, Volunteer Tennessee Gene Sofer, Susquehanna Group Audrey Suker, Executive Director, ServeMinnesota Chuck Supple, former Director of California Service Corps Gregory Webb, Executive Director, New Mexico Commission for Community Volunteerism About Innovations in Civic Participation
About America’s Service Commissions
Innovations in Civic Participation (ICP) is a non-profit organization supporting the development of innovative high-quality youth civic engagement policies and programs both in the US and around the world. ICP is a leader in the global movement to promote sustainable development and social change through youth civic engagement. We embrace a positive view of young people that recognizes their potential to create beneficial and lasting social change in their communities through active participation in service opportunities.
America’s Service Commissions (also known as the American Association of State Service Commissions ASC) is a non-partisan, non-profit organization representing and promoting state service commissions across the United States. State service commissions are governor-appointed public agencies or nonprofit organizations made up of more than 1,110 commissioners. The nation's 53 state service commissions operate at the state and local level granting more than $260 million in AmeriCorps funds while matching these federal dollars with over $32 million from state and local sources to support citizen service and volunteerism in America.
Innovations in Civic Participation 1776 Massachusetts Ave NW, Suite 201 Washington, DC 20036 202-775-0290 www.icicp.org
America’s Service Commissions 1875 K St NW 5th Floor Washington DC 20006 202-729-8179 www.statecommissions.org
Transforming Communities through Service: A Collection of 52 of the Most Innovative AmeriCorps*State Programs in the United States A report by Americaâ€™s Service Commissions and Innovations in Civic Participation June 2010
The AmeriCorps Pledge U
I will get things done for America to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier.
Table of Contents 0B
Foreword Introduction Program directory by focus area Program directory by state Program profiles Education Environment Health Public Safety Human Need Multi-Focus, Other
ii iii v vi 1 1 29 49 59 69 91
I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities. Faced with apathy, I will take action. Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground. Faced with adversity, I will persevere. I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond. I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done.
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Dear Friends of National Service, Innovations in Civic Participation (ICP) and America’s Service Commissions (ASC) are proud to share the 2010 edition of “Transforming Communities through Service: A Collection of 52 of the Most Innovative AmeriCorps Programs in the United States.” With a recent surge of interest in national service, many existing AmeriCorps*State programs have been lauded as highly successful and innovative. Yet, this information is not widely shared. State service commissions have therefore relied on word of mouth or chance workshops to learn how to create similar programs in their states. To address this, ICP and ASC are highlighting 52 innovative AmeriCorps*State programs from 39 states in this publication. State service commissions from Alabama to Wyoming shared their tremendously creative and meaningful AmeriCorps*State programs that are making a difference in the lives of Americans. We hope you will review this powerful tool and use it to educate others on AmeriCorps’ role in transforming communities nationwide through service. By sharing information about innovative programming, we hope to support the role of states as laboratories for service and to foster new strategies for addressing a variety of social issues. The breadth, creativity and contribution of these programs in communities throughout the US demonstrate that AmeriCorps Members are meeting a wide array of critical needs in effective and innovative ways. Whether a program recruits mentors, preserves our environment, helps children read, empowers persons with disabilities to serve, or provides direct assistance to at-risk, low-income seniors, AmeriCorps is “getting things done.” ICP and ASC would like to express our sincere appreciation to the Advisory Committee, as well as to the ICP and ASC staff who worked diligently to bring you this publication. We welcome you to read it, use it, share it, and let these innovative program examples inspire you and your work. Sincerely,
Susan Stroud Executive Director Innovations in Civic Participation
Tom Branen Executive Director America’s Service Commissions
The call to service is growing louder throughout the United States. From the passing of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act and the White House’s United We Serve initiative to AmeriCorps application rates that significantly exceed available positions, it is clear that in 2010 the national service movement in the US is gaining attention and making an important difference in people’s lives. It is with this enthusiasm that we revisit our 2005 publication of innovative AmeriCorps programs to highlight some of the most innovative AmeriCorps*State programs tackling varied community needs and “getting things done.” Innovations in Civic Participation (ICP) and America’s Service Commissions (ASC) have gathered information about some of the most innovative AmeriCorps programs in the United States. By sharing this information with practitioners, policymakers, donors and the general public, we hope to highlight the innovative work of AmeriCorps Members nationwide, to create an educational tool and to encourage program replication. The Landscape of Successful AmeriCorps*State Programs in 2010 AmeriCorps was founded in 1993 as an innovative way to meet local community needs. AmeriCorps was designed to work from the bottom up and as such channels most of its funds to state service commissions, appointed by Governors, which award grants to groups meeting locally-determined needs in locally-determined ways. AmeriCorps Members help expand these groups’ reach and impact, but they don’t dictate how to provide services or achieve the organization’s mission. AmeriCorps also sought to strengthen communities and to improve the lives of members themselves, in part by offering AmeriCorps Education Awards to help those who serve pay for college or to pay off college loans. Over the years, grants have been made to thousands of organizations in every state of the union, as well as to Native American tribes and to groups in US territories. The breadth and diversity of programs supported is astounding. Each year AmeriCorps engages more than 70,000 Americans through service to more than 3,000 community-based organizations and public agencies. In 2005, ICP and ASC highlighted 51 programs from 38 states. As with this edition, the programs highlighted spanned a breadth of innovative programming across focus areas such as education, environment, health, public safety and unmet human needs. Of those 51 programs, 43 are still active AmeriCorps programs, although only seven programs highlighted in 2005 have returned in the 2010 publication. This illustrates that many innovative AmeriCorps programs are sustainable and that AmeriCorps is able to adapt and change according to today’s needs. The programs identified in this publication are responding to critical needs in 2010 that include helping communities be more energy efficient, teaching technology literacy skills to adults and young people in Minnesota, and motivating kids to be active and learn about healthier eating habits in Ohio, to name a few examples.
“Programs like these are a force multiplier; they leverage small numbers of members into thousands of volunteers. And we will focus their service toward solving today’s most pressing challenges…. And it (the Serve America Act) is just the beginning of a sustained, collaborative and focused effort to involve our greatest resource -- our citizens -- in the work of remaking this nation.” - President Barack Obama at the signing of the Kennedy Serve America Act, April 21, 2009
Each of these AmeriCorps projects utilizes service and volunteerism as a critical strategy to address community needs. This volunteer force multiplier approach enables many programs to be sustainable even during periods of economic downturn. A very critical element of this approach is the design of projects that purposely engages the talents and abilities of community volunteers so they can also contribute to the overall success of these endeavors. Most importantly, service and volunteerism enables all individuals to live up to the ideals of our founding fathers who believed that this new participatory form of government could rely on the support of an active citizenry to enable it to properly function. This renewed call to service helps bring in people of all ages and backgrounds to help solve our most critical issues of the day. These programs, some new and some old, are meeting real community needs and creating a lasting impact on communities and the AmeriCorps Members who serve. Throughout this publication, we share stories of success from the programs. We asked program nominators about the secrets to the programs’ success, and while each program is unique, there are some common characteristics across successful AmeriCorps programs. Many nominators pointed to the commitment of the AmeriCorps Members and program staff to the programs and the communities they serve. For example, Kitsap Community Resources (KCR) AmeriCorps in Washington engages former-military officers and former-senior enlisted as AmeriCorps staff members in its program focusing on education and human services for former members of the military and their families. As such, the program staff is committed to the community it serves, which is critical to the program’s success. iii | T r a n s f o r m i n g C o m m u n i t i e s t h r o u g h S e r v i c e
Another characteristic that many of the programs highlighted in this publication attribute to their success, including KCR AmeriCorps, is being grounded in the communities they serve. Many successful programs recruit their AmeriCorps Members from the communities they serve allowing them to share an important perspective, to break down barriers in connecting with communities and to further their own development. For example, in Idaho the AmeriCorps Accessible Transportation Network develops and implements innovative strategies for inclusive and accessible transportation. The majority of its AmeriCorps Members has a disability and is personally impacted by a lack of accessible transportation in their communities. As such, their personal experiences ground the innovative solutions they develop and regularly create an exceptional commitment to the program’s success. Finally, several innovative programs received grants from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to expand or adapt their programming. In Massachusetts, the Youth Star program launched a Young Moms Corps in July 2009 with the support of an ARRA AmeriCorps grant. The Young Moms Corps engages young mothers who provide information on health care access and health benefits programming serving the vast health care needs in their communities while also building important job skills and leadership training. The successful Young Moms Corps will continue in future years as it is folded into the Youth Star program when ARRA funding ends. These are just some of the keys to success for programs highlighted throughout the pages of this publication. We invite you to get to know all of the programs highlighted to learn from their success and to be inspired by their important community service. Our Method The following pages showcase 52 remarkable AmeriCorps programs in 39 states. Programs are grouped by the focus areas in which they serve and along similar lines of AmeriCorps’ priority focus areas identified in the Serve America Act. These areas include education, health, environment, human need, public safety and multi-focused programs. A program directory listing by state is also provided - although not every state was able to submit a program. Each profile provides a brief description, key innovative elements, contact information and examples of the program’s success stories. The program overviews provide a brief snapshot into the activities of the innovative programs profiled. They are not intended to be fully comprehensive descriptions of the programs or all of their activities. We invite you to visit the programs’ websites and/or contact them to learn more about their initiatives. Each state service commission was asked to nominate at least one, but no more than two, of their most innovative programs. Each application was reviewed by at least three readers from the Advisory Committee. Traditionally, innovative is defined as something that has never been done or experienced before. This project utilized a more open and inclusive definition. A program could be innovative in that it is so successful, innovative in developing new service delivery strategies, innovative in its use of funding, innovative in its different partnerships. Each program includes at least two of the following elements: • • • • • • • • • •
Lasting impact on Members, community, or state Meeting its outcomes/delivering meaningful service Exceptional and/or unique partnerships A real spirit of service Potential for replication in other states A strong record of compliance Cross-program connections (i.e. AmeriCorps working with Senior Corps, AmeriCorps working with nonnational service volunteer programs, etc) Outstanding volunteer and/or resource generation An active alumni group Creating systemic change in their area of work
The variety and impact of the programs included in this publication is awe-inspiring. From mentoring children to patrolling public parks, national and community service programs are providing opportunities for citizens to play an active role in addressing community needs. We hope that practitioners will use the information in this publication to strengthen their own work, that policymakers and donors will be moved to increase their support for the field, and that everyone who reads these profiles will be inspired by the extraordinary tales of ordinary citizens transforming their communities through service. | iv
Program directory by focus area 3B
Education Pima Adult and Family Literacy Program (AZ) Urban Education Service Corps – City/DPS Collaborative (CO) Literacy AmeriCorps of Palm Beach County (FL) Community Technology Empowerment Project (MN) Minnesota Reading Corps (MN) America Reads – Mississippi (MS) KEYS Service Corps - AmeriCorps (PA) Amarillo Independent School District AmeriCorps (TX) College Forward (TX) Vermont Youth Development Corps AmeriCorps*State Program (VT) VCU AmeriCorps and America Reads (VA) North Olympic AmeriCorps Program (WA) Schools of Hope Project (WI)
Environment Green Crew (CT) Georgia Sea Turtle Center AmeriCorps (GA) Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps (HI) Green Iowa AmeriCorps (IA) Huron Pines AmeriCorps (MI) Grace Hill AmeriCorps Trail Rangers (MO) Nevada Conservation Corps (NV) AmeriCorps Conservation Team (OR) Vermont Housing and Conservation Board AmeriCorps (VT)
Health Mid Delta Community Consortium (AR) Project LINC (MS) Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities (OH) Early Childhood Home Visitation Program (TN)
1 2 4
California JusticeCorps (CA) Emergency Service Corps (DE) Albany Police AmeriCorps (GA) RISE AmeriCorps (NE)
10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 29 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 49 50 52 54 56
Hope for the Homeless (CA) AmeriCorps Accessible Transportation Network (ID) Each One Reach One AmeriCorps (IA) SUCCESS Corps (KY) VSA arts of New Mexico (NM) Oklahoma Serves (OK) Foothills AmeriCorps (SC) Project TLC (TN) Alternatives, Inc. – Peninsula AmeriCorps Serve and Support (VA) Wyoming Advocate Corps (WY)
Multi-Focus, Other Employer’s Child Care Alliance AmeriCorps (AL) Latin American Youth Center (DC) Peace Corps Fellows Program in Community Development (IL) Civic Works Service Corps (MD) Volunteer Maryland (MD) Massachusetts Legal Assistance for SelfSufficiency Program (MA) Youth Star (MA) Young Adult Service Corps (MT) LFS AmeriCorps (NE) Harlem Children’s Zone (NY) Project Heart/WellnessCorps (NC) Kitsap Community Resources AmeriCorps (WA)
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59 60 62 64 66 69 70 72 74 76 78 80 82 84 86 88 91 92 94 96 98 100 102 104 106 108 110 112 114
Program directory by state 4B
Iowa Each One Reach One AmeriCorps Green Iowa AmeriCorps
Arizona Pima Adult and Family Literacy Program
Kentucky SUCCESS Corps
Arkansas Mid Delta Community Consortium
California California JusticeCorps Hope for the Homeless
Maryland Civic Works Service Corps Volunteer Maryland
Alabama Employer’s Child Care Alliance AmeriCorps
Colorado Urban Education Service Corps - City/DPS Collaborative Connecticut Green Crew
Massachusetts Massachusetts Legal Assistance for SelfSufficiency Program Youth Star Michigan Huron Pines AmeriCorps
District of Columbia Latin American Youth Center
Delaware Emergency Service Corps
Florida Literacy AmeriCorps of Palm Beach County
Minnesota Community Technology Empowerment Project Minnesota Reading Corps
Mississippi America Reads – Mississippi Project LINC
Missouri Grace Hill AmeriCorps Trail Rangers
Georgia Albany Police AmeriCorps Georgia Sea Turtle Center AmeriCorps
Montana Young Adult Service Corps
Hawaii Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps
Nebraska LFS AmeriCorps RISE AmeriCorps
Nevada Nevada Conservation Corps
New Mexico VSA arts of New Mexico
Idaho AmeriCorps Accessible Transportation Network
Illinois Peace Corps Fellows Program in Community Development
New York Harlem Children’s Zone North Carolina Project Heart/WellnessCorps
Ohio Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities
Oklahoma Oklahoma Serves
Oregon AmeriCorps Conservation Team
Pennsylvania KEYS Service Corps - AmeriCorps
South Carolina Foothills AmeriCorps
Tennessee Early Childhood Home Visitation Program Project TLC
Texas Amarillo Independent School District AmeriCorps College Forward
Vermont Vermont Housing and Conservation Board AmeriCorps Vermont Youth Development Corps AmeriCorps*State Program Virginia Alternatives, Inc. – Peninsula AmeriCorps Serve and Support VCU AmeriCorps and America Reads
Washington Kitsap Community Resources AmeriCorps North Olympic AmeriCorps Program
Wisconsin Schools of Hope Project
Wyoming Wyoming Advocate Corps
*All of the photos in this publication were provided by state commissions or program staff unless otherwise noted. Cover photos clockwise from left: College Forward (TX), Green Iowa AmeriCorps (IA) and Schools of Hope Project (WI). Opposite page photo: Harlem Children’s Zone (NY).
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ProgramÂ ProfilesÂ 5B
52 of the Most Innovative AmeriCorps*State Programs in the United States
Focus Area: Education
Many AmeriCorps Members serve in educational capacities helping students and communities across the nation improve their literacy skills and learn needed skills and information (such as the KEYS Service Corps, AmeriCorps Program in Pennsylvania, pictured above). While all of the education programs highlighted are unique, one common model across some states is reading corps. Through reading corps, such as those in Minnesota, Mississippi and Virginia, Members in school and after-school settings tutor students and help them improve their literacy skills. Other programs in this model engage adult learners or provide education around important issue areas such as technology skills. All of these programs are successfully meeting the needs that are unique to their communities.
ARIZONA Pima Adult and Family Literacy Program Program Description The Pima Adult and Family Literacy Program brings English-language learning including literacy and tutoring to a distressed community area in Tucson. For 15 years, the program has helped entire families learn. Parents work toward earning a GED, improving English abilities, acquiring job skills and improving parenting skills. Parents and their children learn and attend classes together.
Focus: Education, Human Need Issue Area: Adult Literacy Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members and community • An active alumni group • Creating systemic change • Strong record of compliance U
Contact Information Arizona Commission on Service and Volunteerism Bob Shogren, Executive Director email@example.com (602) 364-2248
AmeriCorps Members tutor adults in English as a Second Language and GED preparation, assist Adult Educators, tutor children in after-school programs, serve as computer assistant tutors, and serve as role models and leaders in their community. AmeriCorps Members also assist staff and students, tutor children, and share literacy techniques with parents.
Pima Adult and Family Literacy Program https://pima.edu/adulted/program s/familyliteracy.shtml Mary Ann Phinizy firstname.lastname@example.org (520) 741-7175
As a result of participation in the Family Literacy Program, parents and children are increasing their literacy skills, adults pursue GEDs and parents gain skills in interactive literacy with their children. A 2009 evaluation of the impact of AmeriCorps Members on the program showed that Members effectively contribute in important ways to the program’s success.
Lasting impact on Members and community The Pima Adult and Family Literacy Program is creating a lasting impact on the community it serves and the AmeriCorps Members that serve in the program. In the community, program participants are enabled to pursue their GEDs and continue on to college or vocational training. In one example, a participant received her GED and was then certified as a paraprofessional. She was later recognized as a national student for the National Center for Family Literacy in 2009 because of her success that was bolstered by participation in the Literacy Program. U
AmeriCorps Members in the program received extensive training in life skills, organizational skills, problem solving, team building, esprit de corps, leadership development, communication, conflict resolution, family literacy, scientificallybased reading instruction strategies, tutoring techniques for children and adults, public speaking, school protocol, mentoring skills, community resources, career-link interests, and establishing lifelong volunteering. This training prepares them to meet the needs in a classroom while also preparing them for future careers in education. An active alumni group An active alumni group stays connected to the program and supports recruitment of new members from the community the Literacy Program Serves. The program tries to recruit its AmeriCorps Members from its Family Literacy and Adult Education classrooms and in many instances, children of former students and AmeriCorps Members are now serving with the program. In 2009, the Family Literacy Program had three Members who were children of former adult education students and/or former AmeriCorps Members. In 2010, an aunt and sister of a former Member are serving in the program. This makes it easier for alumni to stay connected to the program and they often volunteer at the Literacy Program’s service projects. U
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Creating systemic change The Pima Adult and Family Literacy Program is making systemic change in its community by enabling participants to obtain GEDs, go on to college and create brighter futures for themselves and their families. The program has a strong commitment to building a resilient and healthy community. The Family Literacy Program removes the stigma attached to illiteracy while assisting community members in overcoming illiteracy. Since 2009, the program has recruited 485 families who have shown important gains in English language and literacy skills. The Family Literacy Program also teaches parents skills in interactive literacy with their children. Of 150 parents assessed, 97% made gains in their interactive literacy with their children, which benefits the whole family. U
Success Stories The Pima Adult and Family Literacy Program is particularly successful because it recruits AmeriCorps Members directly from the communities it serves. Often students of the program go on to serve as AmeriCorps Members and they are role models positively contributing to their communities. This means the Members have similar backgrounds to the students they serve, fostering trust between the students and AmeriCorps Members. Students report that their relationship and trust with the AmeriCorps Members is an important part of taking risks for learning. Through this relationship, students build more confidence and self esteem. Some students have expressed the importance of this relationship saying, “She is one of us. She provides extra emotional support, always asking students how they are doing.” “She helps me get over my nervousness with GED and tutors me in math. She gives me more confidence to speak English. We can practice and learn new words. She encourages us to take risks, to speak using different strategies, like the Wordless Picture Books.”
“She inspires us.” - Family Literacy Program student about an AmeriCorps Member
COLORADO Urban Education Service Corps – City of Denver/Denver Public Schools Collaborative Program Description Focus: Education Issue Area: Student Enrollment and Attendance Innovative Elements • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships • Potential for replication U
Contact Information Colorado Governor's Commission on Community Service www.colorado.gov/gccs/ Toya Nelson, Executive Director email@example.com (303) 866-2524 U
Urban Education Service CorpsCity/DPS Collaborative http://communications.dpsk12.org /resource/city-dps-collaborative/ Roxanne Nice, Program Administrator firstname.lastname@example.org (720) 423-3402
The goal of the Urban Education Service Corps – City of Denver/Denver Public Schools (DPS) Collaborative is to increase student enrollment and attendance at selected Denver Public Schools. The Service Corps also reduces the drop-out rate and re-engages student dropouts in under performing schools by increasing parent and family engagement in the school community. AmeriCorps Members focus their efforts on increasing student attendance and retention; increasing student and parent engagement in school communities; and improving the quality of school choice and enrollment information. Working in conjunction with the DPS/City Coordination Project Manager, AmeriCorps Members collaborate with Resource Advocates who are employed full-time in several school communities to manage and coordinate community partnerships in schools. AmeriCorps Members also launched an outreach and school enrollment campaign at locations in targeted neighborhoods. With funding from the Colorado Governor’s Commission on Community Service in 2009, the Urban Education Service Corps has been able to expand services into 32 additional Denver Public Schools. One innovative way Urban Education Corps Members and staff reach out to the community is through mobile, multi-site program initiatives. The programs use state of the art technology by providing a MiFi unit for AmeriCorps Members, community volunteers and parents to access school and city services, either from their home computers or by using one of the laptops at the tent site. Tents are used at special events and are set up in low-cost housing units, community centers and at partner sites such as Goodwill and Catholic Charities.
Program Innovations Delivering meaningful service The schools identified in the Collaborative serve communities that have traditionally been underserved. These communities include large numbers of non-English speakers, recent immigrants and refugees. Many families in these communities face economic, linguistic and cultural barriers that may prevent them from enrolling their students in schools. As a result, these schools face huge challenges in meeting enrollment goals outlined by the Denver Public School District. These schools are often forced to cut teachers and programming due to low enrollment rates. As such, AmeriCorps Members serving in these schools meet a real community need and enable the targeted schools to more rapidly and efficiently achieve their desired outcomes of increased enrollment, steady attendance rates, re-engagement of dropouts, and greater involvement of parents and families. U
Exceptional partnerships The Collaborative was established in December 2006 as a result of a joint initiative between Denver’s Mayor, the DPS Superintendent, the Denver City Council and the DPS Board of Education. This unique partnership has enabled the Urban Education Service Corps to serve high-need communities with the support of various integral stakeholders. The Collaborative’s structure enables students to experience a fresh infusion of resources, improve their academic performance and receive support for all aspects of their personal development. Moreover, it is increasing the engagement of their parents/caregivers in the school and community. U
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Additionally, a partnership was established in 2010 with the Denver Public Schoolâ€™s Teacher Residency Program. This new program component allows first-year Teacher Residents to serve as part-time AmeriCorps Members and further support the districtâ€™s goals to increase parent engagement in school communities. Teacher Residents will earn hours for projects developed to increased parent engagement in the classroom. Residents will also collaborate with full-time AmeriCorps Community Engagement Specialists on special projects at school sites. The partnership strives to create an AmeriCorps experience that carves out a path where Members can explore the field of community engagement and education during their first-year experience. In the second year, Members who are interested will be encouraged to apply to the Teacher Residency Program where they can embark on a path of becoming a full-time teacher with the school district.
The Urban Education Service Corps â€“ City of Denver/DPS Collaborative has successfully organized parents, students and volunteers to implement outreach and enrollment and school attendance campaigns; promote the use and availability of city programs and services in school communities; assist student dropouts and encourage re-enrollment; organize mobile school registration directly in communities; and engage families and communities in school environments. All of these efforts serve to increase student enrollment, attendance and achievement in Denver Public Schools. The success of this program is due, in part, to exceptional partnerships and the collaborative nature of the program engaging various government agencies, families and communities in the success of students.
FLORIDA Literacy AmeriCorps of Palm Beach County Program Description Literacy AmeriCorps of Palm Beach County provides literacy services to adults, children and youth at 26 locations throughout the Palm Beach community. Members teach and tutor people of all ages and serve as graduation coaches in local schools, library tutors and GED prep teachers. The program has served Palm Beach for two years under a dynamic program director and with a committed group of 25 energetic college graduates from across the country serving as AmeriCorps Members.
Focus: Education Issue Area: Tutoring Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on community • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships U
The program boasts a 100% recruitment and retention rate. The Members annually serve 350 English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) adults who are functioning at the lowest levels of literacy, 300 children in afterschool programs and family literacy centers and 250 students at-risk of dropping out of school. They also recruit, train and support 150 literacy volunteers and organize Saturday service projects in collaboration with over 30 community organizations.
Contact Information Volunteer Florida www.volunteerflorida.org Wendy Spencer, Executive Director email@example.com (850) 921-5172 U
Literacy AmeriCorps of Palm Beach County Audrey McDonough, Program Director, AmeriCorps firstname.lastname@example.org (561) 265-3579
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members and community Literacy AmeriCorps of Palm Beach County is designed to have a lasting impact on everyone involved. AmeriCorps Members have opportunities to build leadership skills by organizing community service projects and coordinating Corps project such as the program newsletter and teambuilding trainings. Members summarize the impact of their service by writing articles in the Member newsletter, The Literati. The program also creates long-term impacts in the community by improving literacy rates among ESOL adults and at-risk students and children, helping them succeed in gaining employment and completing school. U
Exceptional partnerships Literacy AmeriCorps of Palm Beach County is currently supported by a coalition of eight foundations whose vision includes helping the organizations they already fund build capacity and extend services to populations that might otherwise not be served. The program is strongly supported with funding, partnerships and in-kind support from these foundations including the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County, The Schmidt Family Foundation, The Toppel Family Foundation, the Asofsky foundation, The Quantum Foundation, and the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties. One of the most impressive partnerships with the program is with local realtors who offer affordable housing to Members who come into the program from other states. This benefit allows the program staff to select the best qualified and most committed Members. U
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Success Stories The Literacy AmeriCorps Palm Beach County is successfully meeting education needs in its community. An important contributing factor in its success is strong partnerships with influential foundations that have a vested interest in ensuring that the program is the best. That support helps open up doors for continued support and the sustainability of the program. The program also has strong volunteer recruitment and retention rates because of success in using social networking sites and the National Portal to recruit Members. Almost all of the AmeriCorps Members join the program from outside Florida and with these tools the program has a 100% recruitment and retention rate.
MINNESOTA Community Technology Empowerment Project Program Description Focus: Education, Economic Opportunity Issue Area: Technology Literacy Innovative Elements â€˘ Delivering meaningful service â€˘ Exceptional partnerships â€˘ Potential for replication U
Contact Information ServeMinnesota www.serveminnesota.org Audrey Suker, Executive Director email@example.com (612) 333-7740 U
Community Technology Empowerment Project www.technologypower.org Joel Krogstad or Libby Caulum, Program Directors firstname.lastname@example.org (651) 556-1384
The Community Technology Empowerment Project (CTEP) AmeriCorps program places 30 Members in non-profits, libraries and other community agencies across the Twin Cities to help adults and youth acquire the technology literacy skills necessary to secure employment and to improve academically. Partner agencies are located in Empowerment Zone (lowincome) neighborhoods and in neighborhoods with a high concentration of recent immigrant and minority residents. CTEP AmeriCorps Members strengthen communities through providing a direct service teaching technology literacy; building agency capacity through program development and mobilizing volunteers within the community; and engaging in member-led group civic engagement projects related to bridging the digital divide. CTEP AmeriCorps has two specific Member position types focusing on economic opportunity and education. Economic Opportunity Members focus on teaching technology literacy skills to adults as they relate to obtaining employment and improving civic and social opportunities. These Members serve in a one-on-one capacity or in a classroom-type setting in formal train-to-work programs. They teach specific software skills, such as Microsoft Office, and teach workforce readiness classes geared toward English language learners using interactive software. In public housing facilities, Members help adult and senior residents file tax forms, participate in GED and other degree programs, and fill out online health care, employment and housing applications.
The other half of CTEP Members focus on education with students in grades 6-12 in schools and after-school programs. Education Members help students achieve state and national academic standards by enhancing their learning with technology literacy instruction. Education Members assist youth with homework requiring technology, online research, and introduce skill-building programs in subjects such as math, reading and typing. Education Members recruit volunteers to provide one-on-one mentoring relationships with youth and help develop technological competency by encouraging youth media programming.
Program Innovations Delivering meaningful service CTEP is a program of Saint Paul Neighborhood Network, a nonprofit that empowers communities to connect with the emerging digital culture. Low-income and recent immigrant families as well as residents with disabilities need accessible, affordable technology programs to ensure access to critical health, education, employment and social service information. To meet this need, all CTEP Members help partner agencies increase their internal capacity, including program design and assessment, staff and volunteer training, volunteer recruiting and outreach efforts. CTEP Members begin their service year conducting a technology assessment at their site, which is used for fundraising, outreach and/or program evaluation. CTEP is also unique in Minnesota in that it requires all Members to participate in an extended, 75-hour group civic engagement project, in addition to five one-time civic engagement activities. Each CTEP member participates in a member-driven small group project that focuses on making a contribution to a community need related to digital inclusion. Projects have included creating an electronic waste public service announcement that has played on U
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community television stations in the Twin Cities and the refurbishment and distribution of computers to low-income families. Exceptional partnerships CTEP reflects a collaborative, authentic partnership between community residents, local agencies, AmeriCorps Members and CTEP staff. CTEP’s relationships with partner agencies, donors and city government provide a platform for future cross-sector (private-public) collaboration. Over the past four years, AmeriCorps Members assisted the City of Minneapolis to help area residents learn about the City's plans for a high-speed broadband Internet network that will cover 100% of the city – Wireless Minneapolis. As a result of these efforts, the city agreed to establish a new Digital Inclusion Fund with funds from US Internet to help agencies support volunteerism and technology literacy efforts. The Fund was established with about $500,000 contributed by US Internet in 2007 and 2008 alone. The long-term effect of this private-public partnership will be that fewer state or federal funds will be needed to support digital inclusion efforts. U
Additionally, in early 2010, a Digital Technology Taskforce was formed to develop a technology literacy certificate. This certificate will give more credibility to community members who obtain a certain level of computer literacy after successfully completing classes at one of the participating computer technology centers in the Twin Cities, many of which are CTEP partner sites. Ultimately, the Taskforce hopes to connect with corporations and companies in the area to educate them about what the certificate represents so that community members can get better-paying, stable jobs. CTEP AmeriCorps Members, partners and staff have been directly involved with the beginning stages of this process, creating a model for the certificate program and serving on the taskforce. Potential for replication Employees of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) working on the National Broadband Plan have singled out CTEP as a national model for community partnership in teaching technology literacy to low-income communities. CTEP AmeriCorps Member Alex Kurt was invited to provide testimony before Members of Congress at the Digital Inclusion Summit in Washington, DC, on March 9, 2010, about his experience teaching basic technology skill classes at the Rondo Community Outreach Branch of the Saint Paul Public Library. The FCC is currently seeking input from CTEP program staff on how such a model could be replicated nationally as part of a National Digital Literacy Corps. CTEP has also been approached by organizations in San Francisco, Denver and Austin, TX, with requests to promote the partnership model for community technology instruction and capacity building. These cities have expressed an interest in supporting technology education to build opportunity in low-income communities. CTEP is currently exploring a model to replicate the program through an AmeriCorps National Direct grant for the 2014-17 cycle, as a way to expand programming to these areas. U
Success Stories One hundred percent of CTEP partner agencies in the last four years reported an increase in their capacity to serve underserved residents as a result of the CTEP AmeriCorps Members' service. Since CTEP’s inception, CTEP Members have created 134 new or expanded programs at partner agencies. These programming accomplishments led to the achievement of teaching technology literacy to over 20,000 community members since 2004. CTEP Members also mobilized 1,117 volunteers who have given over 37,000 hours of service to the community. This amount is equivalent to an entire year of 25 full-time AmeriCorps Members, substantially adding to the impact of the program. CTEP’s success also comes from its ability to respond to the needs of the communities it serves. In 2007, CTEP hired evaluation consultants and collaborated with ServeMinnesota to identify intermediate and end outcomes of the technology literacy instruction. This helped CTEP determine that its focus for the 2010-13 grant will be on workforce readiness and academic improvement, because these were the leading community technology needs from the data over the last two years. CTEP is a unique and valuable resource in Minnesota that provides a vital link in addressing the technology access and literacy needs that exist in the community.
MINNESOTA Minnesota Reading Corps Program Description Focus: Education Issue Area: Tutoring Innovative Elements • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships • Outstanding resource generation
Minnesota Reading Corps (MRC) Members serve to increase the literacy skills of at-risk children age 3 to grade 3 by providing qualified, welltrained AmeriCorps Members and community volunteers to tutor children identified below target level who need extra help to improve their literacy skills. Members serve in Head Start agencies, community-based preschools and elementary schools.
Contact Information ServeMinnesota www.serveminnesota.org Audrey Suker, Executive Director email@example.com (612) 333-7740
In pre-school settings, MRC Members work to create literacy-rich environments and tailor literacy interventions for individual children, children in small groups and whole classrooms. In Kindergarten through third grade settings, MRC Members serve as one-on-one tutors and provide literacy interventions to students who are just below proficiency in reading. Some Members also recruit and train volunteers to support literacy efforts within the school they are serving.
Minnesota Reading Corps www.minnesotareadingcorps.org Sheila Piippo, Program Director spiipo@theMLC.org (651) 251-9091
Delivering meaningful service In 2003, with Minnesota test scores indicating that nearly 25% of all third graders were reading below state proficiency targets, the need was clear: The state’s youngest students required additional support if they were to become successful readers by the end of third grade - the age at which expert literacy educators say children need to “learn to read” in order for them to “read to learn.” ServeMinnesota recognized the need to step forward to help Minnesota address this critical and systemic challenge. In collaboration with multiple partners, ServeMinnesota formulated a new early literacy program initiative. The driving vision was that expandable AmeriCorps resources could be married with the data-driven science of how children learn to read to uniquely catalyze broad change at the system level and move the state forward in tackling large-scale childhood literacy challenges. U
Exceptional partnerships In 2003, the Minnesota Literacy Council (MLC) stepped forward as the key member of a partnership to launch and develop the Early Literacy Corps, which later became the Minnesota Reading Corps (MRC). MLC quickly built relationships with four local Head Start agencies, the Minnesota Head Start Association, and key literacy consultants to successfully develop the program. The work of the MRC is also aligned with a wide range of community stakeholders. The program originated out of a successful alliance of leading literacy organizations including Head Start, the St. Croix River Education District, Education Evolving and the program’s fiscal host, the Minnesota Literacy Council, as well as early childhood education experts from the University of Minnesota, the Minneapolis Public Schools and the University of Oregon. In 2009, the Greater Twin Cities United Way made a three-year $2.1 million commitment to take the MRC to scale in St. Paul and Bloomington. U
Additionally, ServeMinnesota and MRC secured the support of key legislators, state department of education employees, and professionals with marketing, public relations, finance and business experience - sufficient to back and nurture the successful start-up of an ambitious education-focused program with plans for statewide implementation. The combination of talent and positional influence helped to create a robust public-private partnership that has supported the steady growth of the MRC during the past six years.
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Outstanding resource generation ServeMinnesota has maximized its more flexible status as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to develop a prototype for securing financial support that includes not only state funding but also financial support from private foundations, business partnerships and individual contributions. The MRC’s early, evidence-based success, along with an array of local champions, resulted in the state contributing $600,000 and the private sector contributing $701,000 during the program’s first three years of development and implementation. In the 2007 state budget legislative session, the state approved a separate appropriation of $1 million a year specifically targeted to the MRC, and in the 2009 budget session, the legislature approved an increase in this appropriation to $1.375 million. ServeMinnesota’s efforts also are supported by private investments. Since becoming a nonprofit organization, ServeMinnesota has raised $3.2 million in private donations. Foundations have been the largest source of contributions, but last year, the Greater Twin Cities United Way made a three-year commitment to the commission’s work with the MRC, totaling $2.1 million. U
Success Stories Minnesota Reading Corps has grown to become one of the largest AmeriCorps State programs in the country. There are approximately 550 Members serving in over 300 Head Start centers, preschools and elementary schools throughout the state. Statewide, 74% of MRC students who were initially judged to be at significant risk passed the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment for reading. This compares to the overall average pass rate of 78%. In nearly half the school districts, 90 to 100% of the MRC kids made the grade. In the most challenging schools, the MRC pass rate exceeds the average. MRC has been successful, in part, because it worked with the University of Minnesota to develop a pioneering, researchbased, early literacy program. By using an evidence-based model, MRC was able to garner greater support and implement the program on a wider scale. MRC implemented a system to measure and aggregate results to clearly demonstrate that national service investments were returning the greatest value in terms of outcomes for Minnesota’s children.
MISSISSIPPI America Reads-Mississippi Program Description Focus: Education Issue Area: Literacy Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members, community or state • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships • Potential for replication • A strong record of compliance
America Reads-Mississippi (ARM) is dedicated to improving the reading skills of students, encouraging public awareness and support of literacy, and helping to increase the number of certified teachers in Mississippi.
Contact Information Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service www.mcvs.org David Mallery, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org (601) 432-6779 U
America Reads-Mississippi www.americareadsms.org Ronjanett Taylor, State Program Director email@example.com (601) 432-6380
The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning’s Academic Affairs Office administers ARM, which has regional offices at five Mississippi universities: Alcorn State University, Delta State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, and University of Southern Mississippi. America Reads-Mississippi’s 350 full-time AmeriCorps Members serve in approximately 85 school sites across the state. ARM AmeriCorps Members carry out the program’s mission through the following activities: • Tutoring PreK-eighth grade students in reading during school and in extended-day programs • Recruiting volunteers to assist with reading activities in the classroom, service projects and homeland security activities • Helping to increase parent involvement • Implementing local emergency preparedness and homeland security workshops and awareness events • Implementing statewide and local community service projects • Participating in member development opportunities AmeriCorps teams at school sites tutor children one-on-one and in small groups during the school day, before and after school, over school breaks, and in the summer. Members also recruit community volunteers to assist with reading activities, implement literacy-related community service projects in conjunction with the National Days of Service, and coordinate homeland security and citizenship activities and workshops.
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members and community ARM is producing a new generation of educators for the state through its AmeriCorps Members’ service activities and its extensive member development training. At the end of the 2008-09 program year, 36 ARM AmeriCorps Members graduated from institutions of higher learning; two passed the Praxis Pre-Professional Skills Test, six were hired as certified teachers, 22 were hired as teacher assistants, and one was hired as a music teacher. ARM has consistently provided outstanding results, meeting or exceeding its performance measures every year. Program data from 1998 through the 2009-10 grant year has consistently reflected an average of 86-95% of tutored students improving by at least one letter grade. ARM-tutored students are actively involved in service-learning in addition to receiving one-on-one and smallgroup tutoring. U
Exceptional partnerships ARM partners with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross to provide training and resources for ARM AmeriCorps Members in conducting workshops on safety and emergency preparedness for participating schools’ students and families. These partners also support Members in developing Jr. Citizen Corps Clubs at each school site. U
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Potential for replication There is significant potential for replication in other states in all of the program areas. Specifically, ARM staff has presented at national and state conferences to provide models for implementation of the ARM training model and Citizenship and Civic Engagement Series. U
Success Stories During the 2008-09 program year, ARM AmeriCorps Members tutored 4,213 students one-on-one or in small groups during school; provided 75,700 hours of tutoring to 18,800 hours during after-school tutoring sessions; and recruited 27,268 volunteers who completed 135,760 hours of service at ARM-sponsored volunteer projects. ARM began in 1998 with 200 full-time AmeriCorps Members, partnered with two universities - Delta State University and Mississippi State University - and included 18 school districts and 29 school partners. In the 2009-10 school year, ARM is 350 Members strong, serving in 85 school sites across the state and partnering with five universities. The success of ARM is due in large part to its strong program management systems and practices. The program regularly surveys stakeholders and uses the feedback to make necessary adjustments. The program meets its AmeriCorps member recruitment goals each year and consistently has a waiting list. Also, ARM has collected 100% of its match despite major state education funding cuts and received high marks from partners and stakeholders. Low-achieving students receive one-on-one or small-group tutoring, which enables them to catch up, keep up, and sometimes get ahead. ARM Members successfully connect community members with their schools to assist in meeting numerous local needs. Furthermore, ARM Members receive extensive training throughout the program year, including guidance on how to use the AmeriCorps Education Award to become a teacher in Mississippi.
PENNSYLVANIA KEYS Service Corps – AmeriCorps Program Description Focus: Education Issue Area: Youth Development Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members, community or state • Exceptional partnerships • Potential for replication U
Contact Information PennSERVE: the Governor’s Office of Citizen Service www.pennserve.state.pa.us Karen Kaskey, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org (717) 787-1971 U
KEYS Service Corps - AmeriCorps www.keysservicecorps.org Helen Wachter, Program Director email@example.com (412) 350-5227
KEYS (Knowledge to Empower Youths to Success) Service Corps – AmeriCorps’ mission is to improve the lives of Pittsburgh-area youth who are growing up in poverty and to serve where there is a high percentage of youth performing below expectations in basic academic skills. The program’s 143 AmeriCorps Members serve at partner schools and community-based organizations in neighborhoods that have great educational and economic needs. Members tutor and mentor youth ages 524, and lead them in researching, designing and implementing community service, service-learning and legacy projects. AmeriCorps Members also implement large-scale, targeted service projects that address local needs. During their service year, KEYS Members receive on-going professional and personal development to enable them to move from unemployment or under-employment to focused career paths and jobs. AmeriCorps Members also support KEYS’ Braddock Youth Project (BYP), an in-house afterschool and summer employment program for teens in Braddock, PA. BYP focuses the energy and imagination of 14-18-year-old youth who live, work and socialize in Braddock to restore their community. AmeriCorps Members advise BYP participants in planning and implementing service-learning projects, legacy projects and green initiatives throughout Braddock.
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members and community KEYS believes that given the opportunity, means and guidance, youth will make positive contributions. KEYS AmeriCorps Members propel these positive changes in youths’ lives, as evidenced by BYP. The program is creating a “capacity-trust.” Young people participating in BYP are individually and collectively developing a set of social and employment skills that will help them determine their most useful role in their community. The more youth who learn skill sets from BYP, and the longer the program exists, the more capacity Braddock will have in each new generation. U
Exceptional partnerships KEYS closely partners with Braddock Redux, a non-profit founded by Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, an avid KEYS supporter. Braddock Redux seeks the overall betterment of the community by fostering the arts, encouraging creative facility re-use and developing opportunities for local youth. Braddock Redux provides many of the resources and the connections that allow KEYS to maximize its impact on the community. In return, Braddock Redux is able to leverage the resources of southwestern Pennsylvania’s largest AmeriCorps program to advance its mission. For instance, Braddock Redux provides much-needed space to BYP with minimal restrictions. This freedom allows BYP to pursue a range of activities and to adapt to community needs as they arise. Without Braddock Redux’s support, KEYS would likely be forced to significantly decrease the size and scope of BYP. U
Potential for replication The KEYS and BYP youth training and employment models are adaptable to other communities. One key component required for successful replication of the models is a sponsoring organization that can provide the supports necessary to U
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allow program staff the ability to focus on program development, resource development and facilities management. It is also important to hire program staff who believe: • Young people can succeed in school; • Young people can change a community for the better; • Given the opportunity, means and guidance, young people will make positive contributions; • Volunteers can jumpstart change in a community; • Legacy projects allow positive thinking to take root and grow; and • KEYS AmeriCorps Members propel positive change in young people’s lives.
Success Stories During the past year, KEYS AmeriCorps Members have tutored and mentored 2,303 students and engaged 1,247 volunteers in service. Furthermore, BYP employed 120 teens during the summer of 2009. Of those BYP participants, 99% completed the program, and 89% stated in post-service evaluations that they had positively impacted their community. KEYS has created a sound and replicable system for providing opportunities for young adults to create change and for older adults to seek new challenges. Since its inception in 1995, over 1,000 individuals have served as AmeriCorps Members with KEYS, conducting hundreds of service projects and improving the lives of thousands of Pittsburgh-area youth. KEYS is successful because of AmeriCorps Members providing the small-group and one-on-one attention to students that teachers do not have time to provide. The tutoring and mentoring Members provide extends the reach of the teacher so that a far higher percentage of students are impacted. Additionally, KEYS AmeriCorps Members regularly team up with communities and volunteers to renovate an abandoned building or an abandoned lot. This concentrated effort by a large number of committed volunteers acts as a catalyst for ongoing change. In Braddock, a walk through town will reveal this change in action: an abandoned church was converted into a community center; another abandoned church is being converted into an art center; plans are in the works for an eight-story office building’s new life; a fruit orchard was planted as the gateway to the town; and a convent was converted into housing. KEYS has a supportive parent organization, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS). DHS is an innovator and a nationally recognized organization. In this culture, KEYS is supported and encouraged to try new approaches. DHS also is able to provide KEYS with links to funding streams, connections with partners and ideas for innovative initiatives.
TEXAS Amarillo Independent School District AmeriCorps Program Description Focus: Education Issue Area: Tutoring Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members, community or state • Delivering meaningful service • A real spirit of service • Potential for replication U
Contact Information OneStar Foundation www.onestarfoundation.org Elizabeth Darling, CEO firstname.lastname@example.org (512) 287-2062 U
Amarillo Independent School District AmeriCorps Cheryl Reed, Program Director email@example.com (806) 326-1301
The Amarillo Independent School District (ISD) AmeriCorps program provides one-on-one tutoring to elementary school students to equip them with knowledge and skills for academic success. The program has a history of collaboration and community involvement dating back to 1999, when representatives from the nine elementary schools in the Caprock Cluster of Amarillo ISD and administrative staff designed an innovative program that would directly impact at-risk students in their schools. The current Amarillo ISD AmeriCorps program has recently expanded to provide tutoring at 14 elementary schools as well as partnering with the school district’s after-school program to provide tutoring services at four after-school sites. The AmeriCorps program uses high school students as tutors who are trained in curriculum, instructional technology, classroom management, learning styles, teaching styles, assertive discipline, and other topics to help them become successful tutors. In 2009, the program expanded to include AmeriCorps Members from the local college and university as a means to engage Members for a second year of service and to expand the diversity of the member corps. The Amarillo ISD AmeriCorps consists of 40 high school seniors and 10 college students. High school seniors are reduced half-time Members, and college students are half-time Members. The program also recruits community volunteers to engage in literacy events and to read aloud to students.
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members and community Throughout the history of the Amarillo ISD AmeriCorps program’s implementation, student academic success has risen in the schools served. The program has proven to be effective with at-risk students as they continuously gain one or more levels on the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA), and their Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) scores steadily increase. In each of the past three program years, 50-70% of the tutored students made academic improvement as demonstrated through accelerated (faster than their cohorts) grade-level gains by mid-year and 80-98% by year’s end. Improved core curriculum results were measured through the DRA, the TAKS, locally developed TAKSbased assessments, classroom grades and performance, and oral reading surveys based on teacher observation. Teachers and principals alike agree that AmeriCorps tutors continue to play an essential role in their students' success. U
An integral part of the Amarillo ISD AmeriCorps program is the expectation for Members to serve at community agencies that rely on volunteer support. By exposing Members to areas of need in the community, the AmeriCorps program aims to develop Members to engage in a lifetime of service beyond their member term. Members overwhelmingly report that they plan to stay involved in their community after their year of service, and frequently, alumni continue to volunteer at agencies they first became familiar with during their term of service. Delivering meaningful service Research shows that children who struggle in reading and math at the elementary level are the ones who drop out and do not finish high school. Amarillo ISD AmeriCorps aims to increase the skills of these at-risk children in both subjects U
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through tutoring. Program outcomes consistently outpace the expectations that have been set for the children’s performance and acquisition of grade-level reading and math skills by the end of the school year. A real spirit of service The program strives to develop a strong spirit of service beyond the service year by teaching Members about the needs in the community and expecting them to respond in a way that makes a difference to the community agencies and the clients they serve. Members are very proud of their affiliation with the state and national AmeriCorps movements. U
Potential for replication Amarillo ISD AmeriCorps is easily adaptable to other areas of the country. The necessary elements are elementary schools, high schools and college(s) in close proximity to the site. While the Amarillo ISD model duplicated elements for each elementary school, it also differentiated some elements to meet the specific needs of each school. The program is designed to be easily replicable and has adaptable materials, evaluation tools and training modules. U
Success Stories Amarillo ISD AmeriCorps’ success rate in teaching children to read and to become successful in the pursuit of academics has been upwards of 95% every year. Each year, a minimum of 350 students who have been tutored by AmeriCorps Members have caught up to or surpassed their classmates in literacy and math by the end of the school year. This success is measured by teacher surveys, grade reports and periodic testing of students for academic growth. During the 2008-09 program year, 419 at-risk students received tutoring in literacy, math and/or science. By mid-year, 97% of the students tutored by AmeriCorps Members showed significant improvement, and teachers reported that 99% of those students made significant progress by the end of the school year (Science = 100%, Math = 99%, Literacy = 98%; Average = 99%). Amarillo ISD AmeriCorps’ success is due to the following factors. • Students receive tutoring from the same member daily, for a total of at least one hour per week. This structure allows relationships to develop between tutor and student. These relationships are the key to building the student’s self-esteem and desire to learn. The same relationship factor is critical in getting the tutor to “buy in” to the student’s success and recognize the difference that consistency makes. • AmeriCorps Members are well-trained. They receive three weeks of instruction before beginning their tutoring at schools with at-risk children, and they continue to meet and train several times each week throughout the school year. The trainings give Members an opportunity to ask questions, receive guidance from a highly-qualified instructor and feel part of a larger group of volunteers. • AmeriCorps Members are closely supervised. Teachers, principals and assistant principals at their work site observe and monitor them on a daily basis. The Members’ instructor observes them at work one or more times per week, and the program director monitors them on a regular basis. • AmeriCorps Members are recognized and appreciated on a regular basis. Small celebrations take place in the training classes, and larger celebrations strive to recognize those Members who have gone “above and beyond” with extra community service or making above average strides with their at-risk children. • The program specifically targets at-risk students within schools rather than choosing a school based on overall performance. This intentional program design prevents at-risk student groups from falling through the cracks in the education system.
TEXAS College Forward Program Description Focus: Education Issue Area: College Enrollment Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members, community or state • Exceptional partnerships • A real spirit of service • Potential for replication
College Forward (CF) is an educational nonprofit, incorporated in 2003, that aims to “change a family in a generation” by offering a gateway to college for low-income and first-generation students. College Forward’s mission is to provide college access and college persistence services to motivated, economically disadvantaged students in order to facilitate their transition to college and to make the process exciting and rewarding.
Contact Information OneStar Foundation www.onestarfoundation.org Elizabeth Darling, CEO firstname.lastname@example.org (512) 287-2062
College Forward AmeriCorps Members serve to increase the college enrollment and college graduation rates of more than 1,400 low-income and first-generation students in Central Texas who would not otherwise have an opportunity to attend college. Serving as College Coaches or College Persistence Coordinators, AmeriCorps Members provide intensive, nearpeer mentoring to help students gain admission to, and financial aid at, colleges, with an emphasis on baccalaureate degrees. The 32 College Coaches teach 400 hours of bi-weekly, after-school classes to high school juniors and seniors, as well as programs for parents. The six College Persistence Coordinators provide both in-person and virtual advising to students who face the stresses and hurdles of college life, such as registration, housing, course selection, study skills and financial aid.
College Forward www.collegeforward.org Emily Steinberg, Associate Director email@example.com (512) 807-3104
Lasting impact on Members and community In almost seven years since inception, CF students have compiled an impressive record of gaining admission to colleges and universities (99.5%), of enrolling immediately after high school (92%), and of persisting in college (81%) - exceeding state and national statistics for students of all income levels and backgrounds. CF hired and promoted five of its 12 managers following their AmeriCorps service. Other AmeriCorps alumni frequently serve as program volunteers. CF also recruits outstanding student clients to serve as AmeriCorps Members during summer months. As of summer 2010, 30 students will have started their careers through CF. U
Exceptional partnerships College Forward’s partner high schools and universities are a testament to its long-term relationships. The once skeptical Del Valle Superintendent now calls CF “one of the best things that ever happened to this high school,” and Austin Independent School District has become the program’s biggest partner after years of initial “thanks, but no thanks” responses. In 2008, CF and E3 Alliance initiated the Austin College Access Network (ACAN). Through joint programming, such as 2009’s “Countdown to College,” ACAN reduces service overlap among member organizations to maximize each program’s impact. U
Potential for replication Kim Kiely of the National College Access Network calls CF “an example of innovation and inspiration to programs across the country.” Organizations in St. Louis, Cincinnati, Seattle and the District of Columbia have visited CF to observe its AmeriCorps program model. The CF curriculum, training modules and other distinct program elements are easily adaptable and available for use. U
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Success Stories In 2009, College Forward’s client base grew by 61%, and the program grew to a total of 11 partner schools across seven school districts. In 2010-11, it will expand by another 36% to a total of 1,940 clients, including 1,190 high school students and 750 college-age students. Additional program highlights include: • Since inception, 99.5% of CF students have applied and been accepted to college. • In 2009, six years since its founding, CF celebrated its first college graduates from St. Mary’s University, University of Texas at Austin, Texas State University, and St. Edward’s University. • CF students improve their ACT scores by an average of 22%. • On end-of-year surveys, 99% of students state that their College Coaches support their aspirations, and 98% state they would recommend the CF program to another student. • CF’s high school clients logged 5,500 community service hours during the 2008-09 school year. • CF has maintained 100% AmeriCorps member retention since transitioning to a full-time model in 2008. “Whatever it takes,” is the way College Forward Board Member Jackie Mata explains the secret to the organization’s success. “Whether it’s coaching a student into the wee hours of the night to meet an application deadline or convincing a prospective funder to come meet the students and write a check, the staff won’t rest until they make it happen.” Waking at 5:30am on Saturday to serve breakfast to high school juniors taking the SAT is not unusual. “Students come first,” explains Director of Programs Betty Harrison. “But the hard work is always balanced with the fun.” Ever mindful of College Forward’s culture, Founder and Executive Director Lisa Fielder and Associate Director Emily Steinberg select their leadership team for their passion and personality as much as their experience. Among the 12-person team, they promote initiative and accountability. Steinberg, who was one of CF’s first AmeriCorps*VISTA members, originally created and funded three of the agency’s primary programs. Former AmeriCorps*Texas member Daniel Riegel, now a high school program manager, formulated the 2010-11 plan to serve 180 additional high school students without increasing staff. Plus, after seven years of continuous growth and 18 months of research and consulting, CF will replicate the program in a new Texas city. “For every student helped, thousands of other needy kids deserve a chance at college,” Lisa Fielder explains when asked about College Forward’s continuous growth, adding, “We have the cure, and we want to share it.”
“For every student helped, thousands of other needy kids deserve a chance at college. We have the cure, and we want to share it.” - Lisa Fielder, College Forward
VERMONT Vermont Youth Development Corps AmeriCorps*State Program Program Description Focus: Education Issue Area: Youth Development Innovative Elements • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships • A real spirit of service • Potential for replication U
Contact Information Vermont Commission on National and Community Service www.vtcncs.vermont.gov Gretchen Berger-Wabuti, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org (802) 241-2135 U
Vermont Youth Development Corps AmeriCorps*State Program www.youthservicebureau.info Kadie Schaeffer, Program Director email@example.com (802) 229-9151
The Vermont Youth Development Corps AmeriCorps*State Program (VYDC) works with a network of youth-focused organizations in 14 communities across Vermont to build effective prevention, intervention and treatment programs that help youth develop strong connections to their communities and the assets they need to make healthy choices. VYDC AmeriCorps Members address unmet youth needs such as physical and emotional wellbeing, employability, academics and community bond. Members build volunteer systems, procure resources, promote programs in the community, develop strong relationships with youth, and refer youth to the site staff for intervention or clinical assistance when needed. The 20 VYDC Members plan, implement and evaluate high-quality social, recreational, cultural, educational, and community service programs for youth. All activities are tailored for the local community, include youth as partners, encourage youth leadership and promote healthy lifestyle choices. In addition to providing structured and unstructured times for youth to discuss issues, Members plan community service projects, intergenerational events, arts and recreation programs, field trips, youth concerts, nutrition and cooking classes, gardening projects and civic engagement discussions. By building high-quality youth programs that promote academics, job skills, healthy eating, regular exercise and connection to community, VYDC Members address real community needs in Vermont.
VYDC invests significant time in cultivating and supporting its sites. This support ensures that local needs are met within the parameters of AmeriCorps rules, Members are adequately supported and successfully finish their service term, and programs developed by Members can be sustained after they finish service. In addition, VYDC trains its AmeriCorps Members in resource development and grant writing. Each member is required to create a resource development plan for a program they manage and provide progress updates via quarterly reports. Most sites have been part of the program for several years, and they report that VYDC Members make significant contributions to their ability to meet the needs of local youth.
Program Innovations Delivering meaningful service Programs and resources developed by VYDC AmeriCorps Members create opportunities for Vermont youth that they would otherwise not have. In an external evaluation in 2007, the evaluator wrote, “The AmeriCorps Members are an integral part of the ability of these organizations to serve youth. Some of these examples show that there are many youth in these areas who are not being served adequately by the traditional systems of family, school and social services. Without the flexibility, caring and individualized attention of AmeriCorps Members, these youth could slip through the cracks.” U
Exceptional partnerships Each month, VYDC Members meet with Vermont Youth Tomorrow AmeriCorps*VISTA Members for training and networking. As a result, many VISTA Members have supported VYDC events. VYDC Members also collaborate with Members from other AmeriCorps*State and VISTA teams when implementing Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service events. U
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Real spirit of service VYDC Members participate in comprehensive training that supports them in their service, prepares them for the job market after service, and promotes esprit de corps and civic engagement. Also, Members write about their service experiences in journals and participate in reflection activities during monthly member development trainings. U
Success Stories During the 2008-09 program year, VYDC Members provided services to 4,743 youth through afterschool programs, teen centers, school programs, homeless drop-in centers, mentoring, street outreach, and Boys and Girls Clubs. Additionally, VYDC Members engaged 1,071 volunteers in more than 6,412 hours of service to their communities. Throughout its 13-year history, VYDC has paid attention to the interconnectedness of community issues and assets, theoretical and practical means of addressing problems or promoting positive attributes, and the importance of a comprehensive member-training program in facilitating and sustaining positive outcomes. VYDC works with communities to identify needs, brainstorm solutions and determine the skills and approaches necessary for Members to be most effective. As a result, communities reported in a recent outside evaluation that VYDC Membersâ€™ service was invaluable for developing creative and effective programs. Additionally, 93% of the youth participants surveyed reported an increase in skills and knowledge, as well as an increase in positive attitudes toward their communities.
VIRGINIA VCU AmeriCorps and America Reads Program Description Focus: Education Issue Area: Tutoring Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members, community or state • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships • A real spirit of service U
Contact Information (Virginia) Office on Volunteerism and Community Service www.vaservice.org Nikki Nicholau, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org (804) 726-7644 U
VCU AmeriCorps and America Reads www.community.vcu.edu/solutio ns/americorps/index.html Erin-Marie Brown, Program Director email@example.com (804) 827-1907
Established in 1995, the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) AmeriCorps program aims to improve the literacy skills of metropolitan Richmond, VA, children and families. The AmeriCorps program, along with the VCU America Reads program, forms the core of a university-based effort to support literacy and educational achievement at the elementary school level, America Reads in the City of Richmond and Henrico County (ARCH). The two programs seek to increase the availability of educational support services to ensure that every student in the Richmond area reads well and independently by the end of third grade. This goal is accomplished through the program’s 57 AmeriCorps Members providing one-on-one and small-group tutoring and mentoring services for nearly 1,000 children in first-third grades at 17 elementary schools, spanning three school districts. H
VCU AmeriCorps Members also carry out three additional activities to promote overall student achievement and well-being. • Members work with students to organize community service activities at schools to instill a sense of civic responsibility and citizenship in youth. • Members encourage students to consider college education as a future goal, and program staff members arrange tours of the VCU campus for fifth-grade students. • Members volunteer at three community-based Boys and Girls Clubs in Richmond to provide after-school reading support and life-skills programming to youth ages 5-18 to reinforce literacy initiatives implemented in school.
The impact of VCU AmeriCorps and the ARCH program as part of a regional literacy effort has enabled the program to achieve success in leveraging new resources for the initiative. Each year, new schools request to become program host sites, bringing with them the collaborative relationships and school support systems necessary to expand the program with new resources. These resources have provided over $300,000 of financial support since 2007.
Program Innovations Lasting impact on community VCU AmeriCorps Members work in collaboration with the teachers and staff at 17 local elementary schools to develop a literacy program for struggling readers that is comprehensive and consistent. Members work within the classroom to assist whole classroom instruction while providing extra assistance to students who are reading below grade-level. In this capacity, Members are able to positively impact the entire classroom culture and provide teachers with vital academic support to take students to the next level. In addition to working closely with the school staff, the program has developed strong relationships with the school districts it serves and is considered an integral part of the overall literacy strategic plans for district-wide improvement. This district-level support has provided the program with credibility and validity, which enables Members to be highly effective at their schools. U
Delivering meaningful service Program evaluations from outside consultants during the past 15 years have shown that, on average, 75% of students targeted to receive tutoring assistance from VCU AmeriCorps Members have improved academically. Feedback from classroom teachers and administrators has shown a dramatic improvement in student confidence, self-esteem, grades and U
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overall attitude towards school. In addition, more than 80% of staff consider the AmeriCorps Members an important part of the academic success of their students. Exceptional partnerships Since its inception, VCU AmeriCorps has benefited from successful collaborations with a number of government agencies, local service organizations, school systems and colleges throughout the Richmond area. This active collaboration will continue to help develop an infrastructure to build the capacity of the community to support service activities beyond AmeriCorps funding. Program efforts focus on collaborations with organizations and institutions that have the capacity to sustain and enhance program activities. U
Success Stories VCU AmeriCorps strives to ensure that Members become a part of their school's educational support team and are not viewed as 'just volunteers.' Members are encouraged to take their service to the next level by implementing projects that will enhance the entire school such as food drives, book clubs and extracurricular activities. As a result, the schools value the Members not only for the literacy support they provide, but for the positive influence they have on students and other staff members. AmeriCorps Members attend two trainings per month, which allow them an opportunity to share best practices and continue to learn about services they can provide their schools. Additionally, program staff members make communication with each site a priority through ongoing site visits and meetings during the service year. Issues are addressed in an expeditious manner, which allows students to continue to receive services without interruption.
WASHINGTON North Olympic AmeriCorps Program Program Description Focus: Education Issue Area: Youth Development Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members, community or state • A real spirit of service • Potential for replication U
Contact Information Washington Commission for National and Community Service www.ofm.wa.gov/servewa Bill Basl, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org (360) 902-0663
The North Olympic AmeriCorps Program (NOAP) uses service as a strategy to enhance the academic achievement of youth, nurture and mentor at-risk youth, promote the bond between families and community, and strengthen communities through volunteer service. The program serves young people in Washington’s North Olympic region, an area heavily impacted by the downturn in the timber industry. The 24 NOAP Members serve in the local high school and at community resource centers, providing services in academic support, mentoring, resource education, and volunteer recruitment for community projects and social service programming.
North Olympic AmeriCorps Program www.clallamamericorps.org Jacques Livingston, Program Director email@example.com (360) 417-3697
Key NOAP initiatives AmeriCorps Members support include: • PeaceKeepers: a dispute resolution program for teens. The schoolbased program helps to nurture strong leaders by giving them skills in effective communication, anger management and decisionmaking. Members conduct trainings, coordinate mediations and debrief student mediators. To date, AmeriCorps Members have trained 28 high school student mediators. • North Olympic Youth Corps (NOYC): a program that engages high school students in service to their communities. AmeriCorps Members assist the NOYC teen participants with planning and implementing a variety of service projects such as cleaning beaches, removing graffiti from public property, conducting winter clothing drives, mentoring at-risk children, serving meals to low-income students and their families, participating in the Relay for Life, and organizing school beautification projects. • High School Lettering Program: a program that provides an opportunity for high school students to earn a letter (equivalent to lettering in sports) for performing community service. To complete the program’s mandatory 145 service hours, students volunteer at local nonprofits and/or coordinate NOYC-sponsored service projects.
Program Innovations Lasting impact on community NOYC empowers high school students to be the change agents of their own peer community. AmeriCorps Members facilitate weekly meetings where both member and student explore possible service projects in the community. Students gain confidence and empowerment to make a difference highlighted by their internal desire to be of service to their community. In turn, the projects provide meaningful services to community members. U
Real spirit of service The spirit of service is what drives NOAP. Student participants and AmeriCorps Members develop projects that directly impact the community and truly embody the spirit of service. NOAP captures the student’s spirit of service and then acknowledges and empowers this drive by providing accessibility to the community to deliver more services. AmeriCorps Members serve as leadership mentors in the student’s desire to volunteer and serve. U
Potential for replication The NOAP program design is adaptable to communities nationwide. NOAP has replicable systems and tools that can guide interested organizations in the program’s development and implementation. A primary component to initiating the U
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program is to engage a teacher or staff member at the desired school to champion the program to administration and other stakeholders.
Success Stories NOAP is housed at the Clallam County YMCA and is the center for both volunteers and youth activities. During the 2008-09 program year, AmeriCorps Members engaged over 500 volunteers in service to their communities, which included tutoring and mentoring youth and serving in member-organized service projects. Of those volunteers, NOYC participants completed over 6,350 hours of service. NOAP ties into an important connection between youth civic engagement and lifelong volunteering and philanthropy. The programâ€™s service projects teach teens leadership skills, enhance teensâ€™ self-confidence and promote a culture of service. In addition, teens who work with nonprofits learn life skills such as responsibility, accountability and professionalism. The relationships the teens develop with NOAP AmeriCorps Members and local professionals and the skills they attain have a significant impact on them, and in turn, their community.
WISCONSIN Schools of Hope Project Program Description Focus: Education Issue Area: Tutoring Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members and community • Exceptional partnerships • A real spirit of service • Potential for replication U
Contact Information Serve Wisconsin www.servewisconsin.wi.gov Tom Devine, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org (608) 261-6716 U
Schools of Hope Project www.schoolsofhope.org Karen Dischler, Program Director email@example.com (608) 441-7893
The Schools of Hope Project is a unique collaboration of the United Way of Dane County, RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) of Dane County and the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD). Its mission is to work with school staff to increase the academic performance of minority and low-income students through tutoring services. From 1998-2007, the Project functioned as an AmeriCorps*VISTA program, placing Members in Madison elementary schools to serve as volunteer coordinators. During this time, the Project developed systems and infrastructure to support the tutoring program and expanded to two additional school districts. In 2007, the Schools of Hope Project received AmeriCorps*State funding to maintain the volunteer systems essential to the program and to expand its efforts by assigning AmeriCorps Members to provide direct tutoring to students. Led by a team of AmeriCorps Members based in elementary schools, volunteer tutors are matched with children in need of additional reading and math instruction. The Project’s 18 AmeriCorps Members are responsible for the recruitment, screening, placement, orientation, training, support, evaluation and recognition of a diverse pool of community volunteers that includes parents and family members, university students, businesses, faith communities, local neighborhood residents and older adults.
During the summer, the Schools of Hope Project supports the MMSD KReady program, which addresses the academic needs of struggling students entering Kindergarten in the fall. Twenty-eight minimum-time AmeriCorps Members join the 18 full-time Members to serve as classroom assistants, providing structured academic support and learning activities to participating children. The Schools of Hope Project includes the following components. • Trained one-on-one volunteer tutors for selected elementary students • Support for MMSD’s summer K-Ready students through placement of AmeriCorps Members in classrooms • Collaboration with after-school programs • SPARC (School, Parents And Reading Connection) themed backpacks for students to check out and use at home with their families • Elementary Learning Kits that contain books and activities for students to keep at home including bilingual books and activities • Literacy Bags filled with sets of books and activities for volunteers to use with students • Family literacy resources
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members and community As a result of their positive service experiences with the Schools of Hope Project, alumni have sought out other AmeriCorps and Peace Corps opportunities where they have continued the mission of service that is embedded in the Project’s work. The vast majority of Schools of Hope Project AmeriCorps Members are college graduates seeking to provide a year of service prior to continuing graduate or professional school and careers. Project Members have pursued careers in education, law, medicine, social work and the Foreign Service. Many alumni have told Project staff that they U
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were steered into these sectors as a result of their year or two with the program. The experience they receive in the public-schooling system has been life altering for many alumni, and some have re-directed their own educational plans toward pathways that will lead them to careers in teaching, school social work and nonprofit management. Exceptional partnerships The Schools of Hope Project benefits from effective collaboration among key partners (RSVP of Dane County, MMSD, Sun Prairie Area School District, Verona Area School District, and United Way of Dane County) as demonstrated by joint decision-making, continuous improvement of established institutional policies and procedures, substantial provision of in-kind staff time and resources, and broad support for local and national replication. Additionally, there is active participation by area institutions of higher learning (University of Wisconsin-Madison, Edgewood College and Madison [Area Technical] College) in the provision of research models, evaluation tools and outreach to students, faculty and staff as volunteers and AmeriCorps Members. U
Real spirit of service The Schools of Hope Project grew out of a local grassroots effort to address educational issues through community involvement. A dedicated group of community volunteers has provided oversight to the Project since its inception in 1995. These individuals meet on a regular basis to monitor, support and promote the AmeriCorps Members and the three county school districts involved in the Project. Each community has a leadership team of volunteers drawn from its local leaders of nonprofit organizations, businesses, governmental bodies and educational institutions. Together, approximately 100 people in Dane County oversee the work of the Project. U
Potential for replication The Schools of Hope Project receives frequent visits and inquiries from other communities interested in replicating the program. It has willingly shared organizational best practices, tutoring handbooks and guidelines, management tools, surveys and evaluation outcomes with school and community representatives from California, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin through site visits and extensive communication. U
Success Stories Each year, the Schools of Hope Project serves over 30 elementary schools and several after-school programs. Plus, more than 700 volunteers assist nearly 4,000 children in literacy and math on an annual basis. The Project also annually collects and distributes over 5,000 books to low-income students and distributes more than 2,000 SPARC bags or Elementary Learning Kits. The Schools of Hope Projectâ€™s design encourages high expectations of AmeriCorps Members regarding the consistent delivery of exemplary volunteer management services that encompass the effective recruitment, screening, orientation, training, placement, supervision, evaluation and recognition of diverse community volunteers. This high caliber of service delivery is assured by extensive member orientation, ongoing training, opportunities for meaningful engagement and steady support of each member. The Project continually upgrades procedures to take advantage of emerging trends and rigorous standards of care in the coordination of volunteers. Additionally, there is systematic support for AmeriCorps Membersâ€™ individualized professional development plans, including career coaching, higher-education planning, assistance with resume writing, letters of recommendation, job shadowing and professional networking. All Project coordinators invest considerable time assisting Members with goal setting, problem solving and mapping future steps through regularly scheduled site visits, one-on-one conversations, group retreats and reflection activities.
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Focus Area: Environment
AmeriCorps programs have been improving and conserving the environment since the Corporation for National and Community Service’s inception. Today environment-focused AmeriCorps programs are continuing to make important strides in conservation while also taking creative approaches to new needs such as helping communities become more energy efficient (such as Green Iowa AmeriCorps, pictured above). Several models presented in this section are conservation corps protecting and preserving the environment while also adapting to the needs of urban environments, addressing clean energy needs and preserving traditional heritage.
CONNECTICUT Green Crew Program Description Focus: Environment Issue Area: Conservation Corps Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships
The Green Crew is a conservation corps made up of a team of out-ofschool youth who are trained in landscaping and gardening in order to develop marketable skills while improving the appearance and productivity of Hartford's green space. The Green Crew carries out a wide range of projects throughout Hartford, including landscaping services for local nonprofits and labor assistance for Knox Parks Foundation activities. Programs involving the Green Crew include Hartford Blooms, a collaboration with the Greater Hartford Arts Council; creation of community gardens; and maintenance of public spaces such as the Ancient Burying Ground, as well as other beautification projects.
Contact Information Connecticut Commission on Community Service www.ctdhe.org Jacqueline Johnson, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org (860) 947-1827 U
Green Crew http://www.knoxparks.org/ greencrew.html Ericus Adams, Program Director email@example.com (860) 951-7694
Members are typically inner-city young adults who gain many usable skills, a resume and increased confidence. In addition, their civic pride and appreciation for their own community grows tremendously throughout their term of service. Some Members have been hired by local organizations that they helped during their term of service and they consistently report a life-changing experience in Green Crew.
Lasting impact on Members The real impact of Green Crew is measured by the lasting change that the Members experience. Members gain valuable skills and confidence in seeking jobs and/or pursuing college and vocational training. An example of the impact of Green Crew Members can be seen in the current Program Director, who was a Member for two years during which time her mother passed away leaving her responsible for her sister and niece. She also became pregnant shortly after that time. She managed her hardships to finish two service terms and was offered a fulltime position as Crew Leader upon graduation. She excelled in that position over three years and now as Program Director is able to help other Members in the same way she was helped years ago. U
Delivering meaningful service In 2009, the Green Crew cleaned graffiti from over 395 sites in Hartford, worked with over 2,000 volunteers through Knox Parks Foundations’ various programs, planted 200 trees, and provided the City of Hartford with green space maintenance, management and improvements. Most of the workforce/Green Jobs training components of the program occur in the field as crewmembers complete service projects. This hands-on training creates a more lasting impact in the population being served. Green Crew members engage community members in the communities they serve, thus providing a sense of ownership in the results among Hartford residents. Residents are empowered in this way to bring about lasting positive change in their neighborhoods, their city and ultimately their lives. The Green Crew is well known in Hartford and may be instrumental in the near future as a new plan is formulated by Hartford City Government to find alternative ways to maintain the Hartford Parks System. U
Exceptional partnerships The Green Crew program has many unique partnerships, including its work with the City of Hartford, Hartford nonprofit organizations, Hartford Department of Public Works, Metropolitan District Commission (MDC), CT Department of Environmental Protection and Our Piece of the Pie. The Green Crew provides professional, quality, fee-for-service landscaping work for the city and local non-profits at reasonable prices. Especially during these harsh economic times, Green Crew’s work allows the organizations and agencies that serve Hartford to save money while reaping the benefits of U
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clean, well-maintained properties. Green Crew has also partnered with the MDC to plant two trees for every one removed during the installation of its Clean Water project. Like the fee-for-service work for the City, this project raises funds for the Green Crew as it works to improve Hartford’s environment and quality of life. The trees Members plant through this partnership will live over 100 years and benefit Hartford for generations to come. Green Crew also collaborates with Our Piece of the Pie’s AmeriCorps program to provide the greatest variety and quality of training possible for both programs’ AmeriCorps Members.
Success Stories The dedicated Green Crew staff has an amazing way of helping each and every member. Members join Green Crew with a variety of challenges. Many have a criminal record, substance abuse history and never completed high school. The staff never judges the Members and provides an immeasurable amount of support, training and guidance. This results in a graduation rate of 80% which is increasing each year. Green Crew’s enrollment rates are always 100% and its ability to generate volunteers stems from two places: its reputation as the “Go To” organization for meaningful volunteer projects in Hartford and the Green Crew’s ability to handle the hardest and most technical work of volunteer projects. Volunteers can undertake a park restoration in one day because the Green Crew is there to set up the tasks, handle power equipment and guide the volunteers. The training and support of Members enables the Green Crew to have a broad and lasting impact in the Hartford community.
GEORGIA Georgia Sea Turtle Center AmeriCorps (GSTC) Program Description Focus: Environment Issue Area: Habitat and Wildlife Conservation Innovative Elements • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships • Cross-program connections U
Contact Information Georgia Commission for Service and Volunteerism www.AmeriCorpsGA.org John Turner, Executive Director John.Turner@dca.ga.gov (404) 327-6846 U
Georgia Sea Turtle Center AmeriCorps www.georgiaseaturtlecenter.org Jeannie Miller, Program Director firstname.lastname@example.org (912) 635-4173
The Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC) is a state-of-the art facility providing sea turtle rehabilitation, research, professional training programs and community education. GSTC seeks to increase awareness of habitat and wildlife conservation challenges, promote responsibility for ecosystem health, and empower individuals to act locally, regionally and globally to protect the environment. The GSTC is located on Jekyll Island, a barrier island along Georgia's southeast coast and one of Georgia's few publicly-accessible barrier islands, with more than one million visitors annually. The GSTC includes a gift shop, exhibit gallery and hospital, all located in a historically renovated power plant building. This building originally provided power to the famous Jekyll Island Club Hotel and was designated a Brownfield Site. AmeriCorps Members are a vital part of GSTC’s framework. Members are frequently the “boots on the ground” in all aspects of GSTC’s mission. Members are dedicated to educating the centers guests, participating in sea turtle rehabilitation and diamondback terrapin monitoring, conducting night-time sea turtle saturation tagging and nest management, and coordinating volunteers. Husbandry Members are heavily involved in the daily care – including meal and medication preparation – of the injured turtles that come into the Center. All Members also have the opportunity to be trained and available to the Glynn County Emergency Management Agency for community disaster response. Members bring a unique set of experiences and new enthusiasm to the Center each year.
GSTC is unique because of the engaging and interactive nature of its programs. This is made possible through an interactive exhibit gallery which has a hospital viewing window, an elevated walkway though the rehabilitation pavilion allowing visitors a close, unobstructed view of the patients, daily educational programs and an eco-oriented gift shop.
Program Innovations Delivering meaningful service Prior to 2007, there was no facility to treat sea turtles in Georgia. This significantly reduced the likelihood injured or ill sea turtles could receive timely and appropriate medical intervention enabling survival and release. There was no opportunity for research that could improve turtle survival and no centralized facility providing sea turtle and ecosystem education. The opening of GSTC created a facility, not only to treat turtles, but also a centralized location for sea turtle conservation and educational efforts. AmeriCorps Members provide critical services throughout the Center enabling it to grow and expand its educational curriculum, which now reaches tens of thousands of school children and guests annually. U
Exceptional partnerships As a young program GSTC has exceptional partnerships with numerous agencies and facilities in the region and nationwide. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GADNR), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and St. Catherines Island Foundation (SCIF) were stakeholders in development and fundraising phases of GSTC and continue to provide logistical support. As an operating department of the Jekyll Island Authority, GSTC received, and continues to receive, vital infrastructure services. The development of GSTC's saturation tagging program built relationships with the U
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Cooperative Marine Turtle Tagging Program (CMTTP). The GSTC also partners with federal agencies such as the National Marine Fisheries Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service. Cross-program connections There are currently four national and community service programs in the area, and GSTC reaches out to these programs for collaboration. GSTC hosted a service project in March 2010 and was joined by a neighboring AmeriCorps*NCCC team. GSTC also collaborates with the St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network. GSTC sends staff and trained volunteers to St. Kitts to assist in their leatherback turtle tagging efforts and have collaborated to present rehabilitation workshops and an educational Sea Turtle Camp. U
Success Stories As of December 2009, GSTC treated 903 turtles of 21 different species, 413 have been released and there are 75 current patients. GSTC has treated a total of 1,721 animals, monitored 287 sea turtle nests of three different species and tagged 99 nesting female. This is possible with the support of AmeriCorps Members and community volunteers who Members help recruit. The GSTC recruited 150 episodic and continuous volunteers who have donated over 12,000 hours of service. GSTC delivered educational programs to 22,580 children, teachers and community members. GSTC was visited by 241 schools for in-house school programs, reaching approximately 12,852 children and another 3,725 children through outreach programs. GSTC hosted 15 public events, attended 89 community events, had 7,370 participants during 349 Turtle Walks, and 1,019 participants during 68 Hatchling Walks, and held four week-long Teacher Workshops attended by 20 teachers. GSTC has had 53,494 participants in formal GSTC education programs and 210,456 visitors to the center. GSTC AmeriCorps program has been successful in these efforts, in part, because of its exceptional partnerships, its ability to recruit committed volunteers and its cross-program connections.
HAWAII Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps Program Description Focus: Environment Issue Area: Conservation Corps Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members and community • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships U
Contact Information Hawaii Commission for National and Community Service www.hawaii.edu/americorpshawaii Isaac Watson, Executive Director email@example.com (808) 956-8145 U
Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps www.hawaiiycc.com John Leong, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org (808) 735-1221
Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps (HYCC) provides exciting hands-on opportunities to engage youth in actively protecting and preserving Hawaii’s natural resources. While conserving the environment, HYCC offers young adults life-building experiences in order to train and equip them with skills and knowledge to prepare them for future educational pursuits, career endeavors and leadership in their communities. Through HYCC, AmeriCorps Members work in various capacities in fulltime positions in conservation-based organizations, part-time positions during the summer months and Education Award programs that assist smaller non-profits. Altogether, the Members assist over 80 different organizations statewide and serve thousands of acres of public lands and open spaces. For many Members, these programs have been valuable steps for launching careers, college admittance, educational pursuits and life direction. Members’ service varies depending on where they are placed, but it is all conservation related. Some Members work with community outreach, research and volunteer recruitment, while others are in the field working with native plants, building trails or removing invasive species. Part-time Members lead youth volunteers in service-learning projects in conservation at various sites in Hawaii. HYCC encourages the young volunteers to engage in service, become more conservation minded and be inspired to pursue a career in a related field.
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members and community HYCC creates a lasting impact on the communities it serves and the Members who participate. There has been a vast increase in environmental education within communities where HYCC recruits young volunteers. Pre- and post-testing shows that young volunteers in the HYCC Summer Program increased their knowledge of conservation by 35% in just six weeks due to the programs led by AmeriCorps Members. HYCC programs also provide a lasting impact to Members with alumni surveys indicating that a majority of participants go back to or finish school, are encouraged to pursue environmental issues, continued to volunteer or serve their communities, and feel they have made a positive difference for Hawaii through the program. Members are engaged in service in many different ways with their primary purpose being natural resource management. However, they are also growing as individuals and benefiting local communities in meaningful ways. U
Delivering meaningful service HYCC delivers meaningful service in conservation that meets environmental needs throughout Hawaii. In one example, HYCC AmeriCorps Members implemented a service project for AmeriCorps Week in 2010 on Oahu at the Community Church of Honolulu. The purpose of the project was to clear an overgrown area to gain access to Nu`uanu Stream. Members started working around 8:30am, and by lunch they had most of the area cleared and had filled a 20 foot container with 3 1/2 tons of green waste as well as filled a 20 foot dumpster with trash such as toilets, concrete, an old swing set and other debris. Some members of the church (with an average age of 70-80 in the congregation) came out to thank the Members for their work and to see the huge difference they made to that area by clearing it out. Through U
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efforts like this, over the past year the HYCC programs provided over $4 million in benefits to Hawaii. HYCC contributed over 120,000 service hours by Members and volunteers led by Members in over 40,000 acres of wilderness. Exceptional partnerships One of the foundational keys of the HYCC programs is based on partnerships. HYCC partners with over 80 different organizations including the organizations where Members serve and with organizations that serve specific communities such as Alu Like, an organization that helps to develop work skills for Native Hawaiian youth. HYCC also strives to bridge the gap between the public and private sector. One of the most recent partnerships has been with ING Direct, an international bank that supported the HYCC AmeriCorps Day of Service project providing tools and gloves, lunch and drinks for the volunteers. HYCC also works with other national service organizations such as the American Red Cross to train Members and the community to prepare for disasters. Through the disaster training that HYCC Members received from the American Red Cross, one of the HYCC Members supported a shelter after a hurricane devastated Galveston, TX, in 2008. Finally, HYCC partners with local universities and community colleges to provide credit opportunities for Members (including a master's program in natural resources starting in the fall of 2010). U
Success Stories HYCC has been very successful in generating and recruiting Members and volunteers. For the summer program in 2010, there were over 900 applicants for 160 summer slots. For the year-round program, HYCC had over 300 applicants for 72 slots. The recruitment is successful through the support of alumni as well as regular engagement with the communities it serves through social media, emails, a web site, monthly newsletters to alumni and friends of the organization, and regular community service projects like the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. In order to keep alumni involved, HYCC also has continuation programs so that young people can return to work for another summer or have advancement opportunities as they go through programs. This allows Members to be engaged at various levels as well as provide upward advancement opportunities.
IOWA Green Iowa AmeriCorps Program Description Focus: Environment Issue Area: Clean Energy Corps Innovative Elements â€˘ Lasting impact on Members and community â€˘ Potential for replication â€˘ Cross-program connections
Green Iowa AmeriCorps was created in 2008 to address conservation and sustainability of energy resources in several Iowa communities as they struggled to rebuild from devastating floods. Members contribute to a comprehensive weatherization program in which they assess the needs and areas for improvement in a home and then provide air infiltration, reduction and energy efficiency improvements.
Contact Information Volunteer Iowa www.volunteeriowa.org Adam Lounsbury, Executive Director email@example.com (515) 725-3099
Some of the services Members provide include caulking and sealing to reduce air infiltration, replacing light bulbs, installing low-flow fixtures, insulating water pipes and sealing leaking duct work to improve efficiency. Members host weatherization workshops to train community volunteers to weatherize homes by working alongside the AmeriCorps Members. Members also provide outreach and education on a wide variety of energy-related environmental topics, designing programs and activities to fit interests and age groups of their audiences.
Green Iowa AmeriCorps www.greeniowaamericorps.com Cortney Schiappa, Program Director firstname.lastname@example.org (319) 273-7233
Lasting impact on Members and community Green Iowa AmeriCorps is creating a lasting impact on communities by supporting the weatherization of inefficient properties at little to no cost. While many existing educational programs provide guidance on how to weatherize, very few people are actively making energy improvements. This is due to the investment of time and skills, not the cost of materials, as private contractors typically charge up to $80 per hour to caulk windows. Green Iowa AmeriCorps Members are able to offset the cost of home weatherization, making it available and affordable to some of the least efficient properties and those who are unable physically and/or financially to complete the work themselves. The weatherization techniques implemented by Green Iowa AmeriCorps are projected to last 25-35 years, providing residents with reduced utility bills and the education to become more conscious of energy use. This will enable Iowans to reduce overall demand for power and promote an energy-independent state. U
Green Iowa AmeriCorps also has a lasting impact on Members as it strives to train the next generation of energy efficiency educators and experts who will shape the future of energy independence and environmental stewardship. Comprehensive training is provided to all Members, giving them the technical skills to complete their service work and to provide outreach and education in the community about their mission and service. Members gain technical skills and hone their interpersonal skills, which provide valuable experience as they return to school or look for careers in the clean energy sector. Potential for replication Green Iowa AmeriCorps is designed for replication and has received inquiries from other states about how to start similar programs. Members and staff have devised systematic procedures for training, tracking and documenting accomplishments. Members are developing a comprehensive illustrated weatherization manual to educate and guide future Members and all presentations are archived electronically to avoid duplication of efforts. A web site is also under development to serve as the all-purpose hub of the program, where anyone can view activity calendars, link to resources, sign up for weatherization services and energy efficiency programs, and read member blogs. U
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Cross program connections Green Iowa AmeriCorps pursues collaborations with other service programs in its communities. For example, Green Iowa AmeriCorps recently partnered with AmeriCorps*NCCC teams from the Vinton campus for Global Youth Service Day and Iowa’s Shelter Awareness Day. Eight Green Iowa Members trained over 40 NCCC members in the skills needed for home weatherization. The Members of both programs worked together to weatherize three Waterloo area shelters for men, women and troubled youth. This was a positive experience for both programs and Green Iowa AmeriCorps plans to partner with other AmeriCorps programs again in the future to benefit more communities. U
Success Stories Residents of homes weatherized by the Green Iowa AmeriCorps Members have given 100% positive feedback, and volunteers participating in weatherization workshops have also given 100% positive evaluations on the information provided, training strategies, skills learned, quality of presentation and overall experience. Interest in the program from potential Members is very high, drawing applications from both in-state and around the country. A recent posting for 13 positions had over 70 applicants, with half of those from outside Iowa. Enrollment of AmeriCorps Members who are passionate about both national service and energy efficiency also contributes to the program’s success. The Members bring a broad variety of experience and backgrounds to the program, which generates innovative and diverse ideas for tackling challenges. Members also recognize that the training and experience they receive during their AmeriCorps service with Green Iowa will help them be successful in the program and when they enter the green workforce or pursue further education. Green Iowa’s success is in part due to partnerships that enable training opportunities and provide weatherization materials. All training for Members has been provided free of charge by program partners and local businesses interested in the community value of increased energy efficiency, and many of the materials needed for the program are also donated by the same partners and businesses.
"My memorable experience occurred today. It was the first post-weatherization blower door test, and even though all of us were tired and ready to go home after working all day, we were anxious to see the results of our weatherization services. I had butterflies in my stomach. What if we didn’t make any difference in the home at all? We set up the door, turned on the fan and crossed our fingers. After consulting the screen, the CFU member turned and gave us a grin. We were sooo excited to read the first post test report brought the air changes per hour within one-hundredth of new construction standards! Our efforts paid off! It was rewarding and relieving to find out that our work was actually making a difference!" - Green Iowa AmeriCorps Member
MICHIGAN Huron Pines AmeriCorps Program Description Focus: Environment Issue Area: Conservation Corps Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members and community • Exceptional partnerships • Potential for replication U
Contact Information Michigan Community Service Commission www.michigan.gov/mcsc Paula K VanDam, Executive Director email@example.com (517) 335-4295 U
Huron Pines AmeriCorps www.huronpinesamericorps.org Casey Ressl, Project Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org (989) 344-0753
The Huron Pines AmeriCorps program was designed to enhance the success of grassroots conservation organizations and to increase their ability to provide enhanced resource protection services. Communities served are in the northern portion of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, with Members placed at a variety of organizations including nonprofit resource management groups and conservation districts. A hallmark of the Huron Pines AmeriCorps program is implementing wide-ranging volunteer engagement in projects that directly impact the environment. Volunteer activities are intended to create continued investment of volunteers in the preservation of Northern Michigan’s natural areas. Activities include water quality monitoring programs, Adopt-A-Forest, Conservation First Responder, invasive species removal and habitat improvement, conservation youth camps and developing a volunteer program for local nature preserves. Programs for youth aim to create conservation-focused adults. Huron Pines AmeriCorps strengthens Michigan’s communities by improving and protecting natural resources, increasing the capacity of conservation partners and engaging volunteers in meaningful service. AmeriCorps Members increase conservation program offerings at host sites, increase volunteer recruitment and engagement, distribute environmental stewardship information, and carry out habitat improvement/restoration projects. At Huron Pines, AmeriCorps Members have the opportunity not only to develop real world skills, acquire conservation-related experience and network with resource professionals, but also to have a real impact on the area by developing, implementing and completing conservation projects that otherwise would not be addressed.
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members and community Huron Pines AmeriCorps Members have developed water quality monitoring programs, invasive species removal programs and other important conversation programs for organizations and communities in Michigan. The organizations served assert that programs such as these would not be as fully implemented, nor as sustainable, were it not for early efforts by AmeriCorps Members. By putting the time and energy into developing new programs and services, Members leave host sites with very tangible products. Members regularly have the opportunity to create new programs, many times from scratch, which may then lead to funding for the program and continued implementation. U
Members gain valuable experience and knowledge in the Huron Pines AmeriCorps program, enabling them to pursue conservation-related careers following their service. Several alumni have rapidly moved forward into exciting service or career opportunities as a result of their AmeriCorps service. Three Members continued involvement with national service by leading an AmeriCorps restoration crew in Nevada, serving as an AmeriCorps*VISTA for the Michigan Community Service Commission and serving as AmeriCorps Program Director at Huron Pines. Two additional Members have been hired to work for their original placement sites, including one Member who developed a volunteer water quality monitoring program for the local Trout Unlimited Chapter. The organization secured funding for the program and was quick to hire her as their staff Aquatic Ecologist as soon as she completed her service. 38 | T r a n s f o r m i n g C o m m u n i t i e s t h r o u g h S e r v i c e
Exceptional partnerships Huron Pines partners with diverse conservation organizations and host sites. Its primary partners are Member host sites and their partners. Some Member host sites and partners include Conservation Resource Alliance, Grand Traverse Conservation District, HeadWaters Land Conservancy, HeadWaters Chapter Trout Unlimited, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Little Traverse Conservancy, Michigan Sea Grant, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Michigan Trout Unlimited, Otsego Conservation District Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy. AmeriCorps has created the capacity to supply “people resources” to partners which has, in turn, strengthened the region. Huron Pines AmeriCorps also lists a variety of important funders supporting the program overall and specific projects. Partners include WK Kellogg Foundation, DTE Energy Foundation, Trout Unlimited chapters, Otsego Wildlife Legacy Society and local community foundations. Finally, there are a range of local groups with whom the Members work such as schools, extended education groups (Alpena Lifelong Learners) and volunteer groups (Au Sable River Watershed Restoration Committee). Due to the program’s close connections with the communities in which they place Members, Huron Pines AmeriCorps is able to generate strong support at both the local and state levels. U
Potential for replication Program staff carefully documents all programmatic processes and systems and Members document individual service endeavors and projects created to support replication in other communities. Huron Pines staff has been approached by conservation organizations in other areas of Michigan and Illinois that are interested in creating an environmental AmeriCorps program. As such, staff has shared past grant applications, position descriptions, staff requirements and a number of other program materials with organizations wishing to replicate the program in part or in whole. U
Success Stories In the first two years of the program, AmeriCorps Members recruited, trained and worked alongside more than 1,250 volunteers providing nearly 6,000 volunteer hours in conservation projects and environmental stewardship. Members and volunteers restored more than 25,000 linear feet of stream and riverbanks, and countless invasive plants have been replaced with native plantings. Member activities often focus on children and youth, working to create the conservationists of the future. The Huron Pines AmeriCorps program truly taps into the heart of conservation and conservationists. Huron Pines success is due in part to a dedicated staff and group of AmeriCorps Members. Huron Pines AmeriCorps staff is integrally invested in Northern Michigan communities and the preservation of the natural environment. Recruitment of Members places an emphasis on selecting Members who have similar personal investment. Host sites are encouraged (and have the freedom to) target their most critical community needs and to then tailor Member service positions specifically to those needs. Throughout the service year, staff members work to illustrate how the Members’ services directly correlate to the larger environmental picture. Program staff maintains flexibility and the ability to change and evolve, which has served the program well in its continuing implementation.
MISSOURI Grace Hill AmeriCorps Trail Rangers Program Description Focus: Environment Issue Area: Environmental Restoration Innovative Elements â€˘ Lasting impact on Members and community â€˘ Outstanding resource generation U
Contact Information Missouri Community Service Commission www.movolunteers.org Linda Thompson, Executive Director email@example.com (573) 751-5012 U
Grace Hill AmeriCorps Trail Rangers www.gracehill.org/ Doug Eller, Director firstname.lastname@example.org (314) 584-6703
Since 1994, Grace Hill AmeriCorps Trail Rangers have led the development and environmental restoration of the Riverfront Trail, St. Louisâ€™ premier 12mile bike path and greenway. Through this effort, Trail Rangers have strengthened impoverished North and South City riverside communities, reinforced community responsibility, and provided educational and financial opportunities to residents. Rangers continue to maintain the Trail area and provide services to over 13,500 annual Trail users. Rangers also give presentations that cover the topics of environmental health, cultural history and their role in serving the community. Trail Rangers protect, maintain and improve the Riverfront Trail; support the Mary Meachum Underground Railroad site and educate citizens about the site through annual events; and implement a native plant restoration volunteer project in the city. Trail Rangers are primarily selected from the community in which they serve in order to build the leaders of tomorrow in neighborhood areas that many times are without leadership. Recruited applicants are selected through interviews by staff and current Members who hold stringent standards for new team inductees. Trail Rangers, most of whom are young, urban adults, receive an opportunity to transition into mainstream society by furthering their education, gaining new experiences and traveling to new places, developing personal and professional skills, and becoming exposed to non-traditional career paths. Trail Rangers are exposed to the tourism field, horticulture, land and soil conservation, habitat restoration, park management and program development. The AmeriCorps Ranger Project represents one of the best community programs in St. Louis, establishing new anchors, involving external partners and creating new community leaders.
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members and community Grace Hill AmeriCorps Trail Rangers is located within an impoverished neighborhood in inner-city St. Louis. Not unlike many other urban communities, needs are very high. The current 20+% unemployment rate is astounding compared to the rest of the state but is normal for this neighborhood. Members are recruited solely from the neighborhoods where the AmeriCorps services are provided. If not for the presence of AmeriCorps in this community, most of these Members would not have an income or the chance for a bright future. Members leave the program with a greater sense of character, well-being and civic responsibility than when they joined the program. Rather than focusing on the negatives which are a true and present danger surrounding them every day, Members learn how to conduct meetings, showcase their natural talents to recreate events from African American history, and build tangible life and job skills, including horticulture, land management and weatherization techniques. These skill-building techniques have led Members to transition to permanent positions after their AmeriCorps service, including in city government and the National Parks Service. U
Outstanding resource generation Since 2006, there has been a $12.7 million investment in the Riverfront Trail because of the presence and consistent efforts of the Trail Rangers. Over $2.2 million has been spent to upgrade the Trail and another $10.5 million added the U
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Branch Street Trestle and McKinley Bridge Bikeway, former railroad lines transformed into fantastic elevated bikeways connecting the Trail to Illinois. Other developments include the planned $15+ million development of the Iron Horse Trestle creating an elevated park and bikeway, and the proposed Mounds Trail honoring the Native American mounds on the North Side; the proposed Confluence National Heritage Area which is a Congressional vote away from becoming a reality; and, importantly, the National Park Service is studying incorporating the Mary Meachum site within its operations, creating a high volume of tourism in North St. Louis.
Success Stories The Trail Rangers are successfully making important contributions in their community while also improving their own lives. Over 30 tons of waste is removed from the bicycle trail annually. In 2009, the Rangers made significant contributions to a challenged Mississippi riverfront environment, leading 291 volunteers to plant 3,550 native plants and seed 15 acres with switchgrass. Over 90% of the Trail visitors feel safe as a result of the AmeriCorps Members' presence. Over 90% of people visiting the trail report that they learned something about the Underground Railroad. As a result of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants, Members weatherized 117 windows from nearby neighborhoods benefiting 47 elderly and low-income households. Since 2006, the AmeriCorps Trail Rangers program has received several awards including: the national “Take Pride in America” award from Congressman Lacy Clay, the 2010 and 2008 Missouri Community Service Award for Best Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service in Missouri, the American Planning Association’s “Outstanding Community Initiative” Award for the Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing site development and the “Grow Native Award” for having the third best community native plant gardens in Missouri. Freedom Crossing presentations have led to collaborations with numerous organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, Boeing, elected officials and other National Service Programs. Grace Hill AmeriCorps Trail Rangers are successful, in part, because it keeps an open mind and believes in second chances. Before joining as AmeriCorps Members, some of the young people have had brushes with the law and been engaged in destructive behavior including gang activity. AmeriCorps provides the training, experiences and focus necessary to provide new perspectives. Members come to believe as Dr. King said that "everybody can be great because everybody can serve." A recent study of 40 AmeriCorps alums showed that 100% observed positive personal growth, 92% claimed AmeriCorps helped them to obtain and maintain their current occupation, and 90% were employed or in school. Grace Hill balances opportunity, success and a stringent management style to successfully create a lasting impact on Members and communities.
NEVADA Nevada Conservation Corps Program Description Focus: Environment Issue Area: Conservation Corps Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members, community or state • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships • A real spirit of service • A strong record of compliance U
Contact Information Nevada Volunteers www.nevadavolunteers.org Shawn Lecker-Pomaville, Executive Director email@example.com (775) 825-1900 U
Nevada Conservation Corps www.thegreatbasininstitute.org Matt Johnson, Program Director firstname.lastname@example.org (775) 674-5481
Nevada Conservation Corps’ (NCC) mission is to engage participants in environmental education, volunteerism and conservation. Housed at the Great Basin Institute, NCC harnesses the energy and idealism of youth to meet the needs of Nevada's public lands and communities. As an AmeriCorps program, NCC promotes ecological literacy through field research, environmental internships and direct conservation and restoration services. NCC Members assist land managers with habitat restoration, species monitoring, field research, trail building and community conservation events. During the 2008-09 program year, 164 NCC Members supported the program’s mission through the following activities. • Removed invasive species from 3,947 acres statewide. • Built and/or removed 50.25 miles of fence. • Planted 6,640 plants and trees. • Removed hazardous fuels from 653 acres of public land. • Restored 15 miles of rivers, streams, beaches and fish habitats. • Built, maintained or decommissioned 197 miles of wilderness trails. • Hosted six community service projects. • Engaged 729 students in environmental service-learning programs. • Recruited 1,286 volunteers who donated more than 35,000 hours of service. Thirty-two of these Members served as interns at museums, local volunteer fire departments and community parks throughout Nevada. Plus, nine Members participated in AmeriCorps Summer of Service activities.
NCC was founded by a Nevada AmeriCorps*State Promise Fellow in 1999 and has continued to integrate national service into its growth. Current expansion initiatives focus on an international volunteer exchange program, a university-based environmental research program, clean energy improvements, weatherization projects and field research studies that include a children's summer camp.
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members and community Great Basin Institute regularly hires former NCC Members as managers. Many Members continue on to graduate school or complete internships and fellowships to further their career paths in the environmental sciences and emerging green businesses. More than 20 former Members have found careers in Nevada with former NCC partners and host sites. In many instances, project managers from agency partners are also former AmeriCorps Members. They understand the national service experience and can support it in meaningful ways. NCC has consistently demonstrated its unique role in fostering a lifelong ethic of service and is currently launching several initiatives to cultivate green jobs in Nevada aimed at youth. Additionally, NCC was the first Nevada AmeriCorps program to sponsor a Summer of Service initiative for at-risk, college-bound students. Program partners often comment on NCC Members’ work ethic and have noted that they often outperform most agency crews that are paid much higher wages to perform the work. U
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Delivering meaningful service NCC Members provide significant conservation services annually that benefits federal, state and local public lands. Partner satisfaction with the quality of Membersâ€™ services provided is excellent. Members are well trained to provide physically demanding service in desert and mountain environments, which has resulted in the programâ€™s strong safety record. The NCC enrollment rate is consistently 100% and member retention is 90%. U
Exceptional partnerships NCC has a strong history of creating and nurturing collaborative relationships with federal and state environmental and conservation agencies including the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Geological Survey, Nevada Divisions of Fish and Wildlife Service, and Washoe County Parks Department. Additionally, Great Basin Institute boasts strong partnerships with community-based organizations that have developed national brands including The Nature Conservancy. Alliances with higher education institutions (University of Nevada-Reno, University of NevadaLas Vegas, University of California-Irvine, and Northwestern University) create opportunities for NCC Member internships across the environmental and natural resource sciences. NCC is an active Member in several national collaborations including Mountain Alliance of Conservation Corps, The Corps Network and the Public Lands Service Coalition. Through these affiliations, NCC is able to have a national voice in setting standards and models for other corps to follow. NCC consults with many corps from other states that use its program as a model based on a successful record of consistently exceeding performance measure targets. U
Success Stories NCC is Nevadaâ€™s oldest and largest AmeriCorps*State program. It reflects a synergy between private and public, government and community organizations, restoration and conservation, and education and research. NCC generates significant income that has consistently been invested back into the program to grow service initiatives, to build its capacity, and to launch and sustain interdisciplinary field studies. Over the past 10 years, NCC has reduced the risk of forest fires on more than 7,000 acres of public land. AmeriCorps crews have also built and maintained over 580 miles of recreational trails in state parks and national forests, restored more than 150 miles of wetland habitat and planted 26,000 native plants.
OREGON AmeriCorps Conservation Team Program Description Focus: Environment Issue Area: Conservation Corps Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members, community or state • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships • Potential for replication U
Contact Information Oregon Volunteers! www.oregonvolunteers.org Kathleen Joy, Executive Director email@example.com (503) 725-5903
The Nature Conservancy’s AmeriCorps Conservation Team (ACT) seeks to conserve and enhance remaining populations of fish and wildlife and the habitat they need to survive and to help recruit and train the next generation of conservation practitioners and volunteer leaders. The program’s 13 full-time AmeriCorps Members serve at host sites across Oregon. ACT Members increase conservation outcomes through direct service restoration projects such as prescribed burning, native plantings, invasive species removal and intensive team restoration efforts. They also support and expand volunteer engagement in these areas.
AmeriCorps Conservation Team www.nature.org/wherewework/nort hamerica/states/oregon/volunteer/ar t29524.html Kyle Strauss, Program Director firstname.lastname@example.org (541) 770-7933
The ACT program design includes the use of a late summer (three month) “roving” team, which brings five Members together from their separate placement sites. Criss-crossing the state, the Members spend their time under the tutelage of conservation staff and advance field research, restore habitats and engage local communities. The team often visits other existing member placement sites to provide an intensive response to identified needs. Since Oregon is such a large state geographically, the design allows a unique experience, both for the roving team and the “non-roving” ACT Members who help coordinate projects. The roving team also engages in large-scale, on-the-ground conservation projects such as invasive species control and prescribed burns. ACT Members increase the Conservancy’s capacity to engage volunteers in its activities. Volunteer options now include service day events, weekend activities and school-based Youth Corps where ACT Members serve the dual role of volunteer leader and role model. ACT Members receive training in the Conservancy’s volunteer management curriculum, which includes assessing program needs, risk management, recruitment, screening, training, supervision and recognition.
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members ACT Members receive exceptional training opportunities and service experiences that assist them with future career choices. During the entire service year, Members are encouraged to arrange peer visits when possible to both assist fellow Members and to experience different environmental needs and approaches. Job shadowing with Nature Conservancy staff is also encouraged. All Members receive skill-based training that transfers directly to other career options. Examples include training on GIS mapping for field data and identification and Weed Information Mapping System (WIMS); both skills are required for many professional environmental agency positions. U
Exceptional partnerships The Nature Conservancy’s reputation attracts a variety of non-profit and governmental partners. The partnership with AmeriCorps has increased the Conservancy’s visibility and presence in local communities. Since Nature Conservancy initiatives are tied to these communities and reach across city or county boundaries, the presence of AmeriCorps Members helps to illustrate the effectiveness of such partnerships. U
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Potential for replication The Nature Conservancy is an international organization, and all 50 states have a chapter office. Oregon is currently the only state chapter to have an AmeriCorps team that is sponsored fully by the organization. The advantage of a sponsored team is its ability to plan and provide direct, sustained service to an issue using trained Members. Many environmental projects require large-scale, direct efforts to create a lasting impact, so the model may be particularly attractive to other state Nature Conservancy chapters. U
Success Stories During the 2009 program year, ACT Members engaged 575 volunteers in 4,672 hours of service. Members also removed 2,242 infestations of weeds covering 622 acres, completed 30 watershed restoration projects across the state, collected 230 pounds of native seeds, planted 43,850 plants and 38,800 bulbs, and distributed 22,000 seeds including endangered species. Strong recruitment efforts and Nature Conservancy name recognition have resulted in a high number of applicants for the ACT positions. ACT has been very successful in selecting and placing Members who have a strong interest in the environment, understand the position requirements and are anxious for the experience and training they receive. The sponsoring organization has embraced AmeriCorps quickly and site supervisors are anxious to have the additional assistance that Members bring. AmeriCorps service allows local field staff and their partners to expand service potential and to engage more volunteers in service. As a result of the training the Members receive, they are able to gather scientific data and share it with other agencies through computer software at the same time they are performing direct field service. This innovation benefits the member by clarifying that their accomplishments are broader than just the invasive species removal in one area and assists other environmental groups working on similar issues.
Vermont Vermont Housing and Conservation Board AmeriCorps Program Description Focus: Clean Energy, Environment Issue Areas: Housing, Conservation Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members and community • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships • A strong record of compliance U
Contact Information Vermont Commission on National and Community Service www.vtcncs.vermont.gov Gretchen Berger-Wabuti, Executive Director email@example.com (802) 241-2135 U
Vermont Housing and Conservation Board AmeriCorps www.vhcb.org/acorps Joan Marie Misek, Program Director firstname.lastname@example.org (802) 828-3249
The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) is a quasigovernmental funding organization with the dual goals of providing affordable housing to lower-income Vermonters while preserving natural lands and agriculture. For 22 years, VHCB has focused on affordable housing in conjunction with downtown/neighborhood revitalization while providing communities with long-term public access to open space near where residents live and work. Its AmeriCorps program, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board AmeriCorps (VHCB AmeriCorps), supports this focus, tailoring member activities to local needs. As manifested through partnerships with more than 25 nonprofit housing/conservation organizations statewide, VHCB AmeriCorps enhances the welfare and stability of Vermont's communities, environment and citizens through education, skills development, participation and achievement. The mission of VHCB AmeriCorps is to support the creation of more stable, affordable housing situations for Vermonters while fostering a greater appreciation of and responsibility for the environment. The 34 VHCB AmeriCorps Members serve with homeless shelters, HomeOwnership Centers, residents of affordable housing neighborhoods, housing resource centers, and environmental education and conservation non-profits. VHCB AmeriCorps Members deliver a diverse range of activities that support VHCB’s dual mission of creating safe, beautiful, affordable housing opportunities while preserving the natural and working landscapes of Vermont.
VHCB Housing Members: • Implement programs for children and families residing in subsidized housing developments. • Help homeless individuals and families find suitable housing, build life skills, create resumes and obtain services. • Support Vermont's HomeOwnership Centers by providing foreclosure prevention/intervention and financial literacy services and aiding first-time homebuyers though the process of obtaining affordable homes. • Contribute to the construction of playgrounds, wheelchair ramps, houses and rehabilitation projects. • Educate tenants on their rights and responsibilities and convene groups of residents and citizens with a common goal to foster associative relationships. • Assist Vermonters with accessing and implementing energy-efficient resources. VHCB Conservation Members: • Provide environmental education and service opportunities for school-aged young people. • Take stewardship actions to conserve Vermont's working and native landscape such as trail maintenance, boundary marking, easement monitoring and trash removal. • Recruit volunteers and raise awareness about conservation issues. • Participate in wild land assessments, extract invasive plants and implement land management plans. • Maintain trails and educate hikers on the “leave no trace” philosophy. 46 | T r a n s f o r m i n g C o m m u n i t i e s t h r o u g h S e r v i c e
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members and community Through participation with VHCB AmeriCorps, Members and sponsoring organizations gain a more comprehensive understanding of community and environmental needs while making important inter-organization and agency connections and collaborations. A seemingly conflictive dual goal becomes one common goal around which services are delivered. Historically, 25% of VHCB AmeriCorps alumni have been hired by sponsoring organizations. This employment rate speaks to the need of these organizations to find highly qualified and trained employees in a small, rural state and VHCB AmeriCorps' success as a professional development program. Members leave the program with front-line experience, greater knowledge of the issues facing Vermont communities and an increased level of commitment to solving these issues. U
Exceptional partnerships While VHCB AmeriCorps maintains the dual-goal focus, it has applied flexibility, agility and creativity toward responding to shifting local needs. In 2007, the program leveraged resources through a partnership with Efficiency Vermont to implement its own "Smart Glow Initiative." As part of a statewide energy and cost savings plan, this successful project involved Members accessing hundreds of affordable housing units in the state to directly install compact, florescent light bulbs. Efficiency Vermont provided the free light bulbs while VHCB AmeriCorps provided the manpower and access. This pilot project led to a future “Energy Ambassador” member position that provides energy conservation services to housing organizations and residents statewide. Additionally, in 2009, VHCB AmeriCorps was well-poised to respond to a dramatic increase in foreclosures and homelessness in Vermont by securing American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding through the Corporation for National and Community Service, which created additional member positions for HomeOwnership Centers and emergency shelters. U
Sponsoring organizations have experienced enhanced capacities to serve their communities as a result of VHCB AmeriCorps involvement. For example, during the program’s first two grant cycles, Members’ services for five of Vermont’s new HomeOwnership Centers resulted in four of those centers hiring employees and no longer relying on member support. Word-of-mouth of how instrumental VHCB AmeriCorps has been in realizing and surpassing goals has resulted in a continual waiting list of over 20 non-profits requesting partnerships. Strong record of compliance VHCB AmeriCorps has a solid record of compliance and mentors new AmeriCorps programs funded by the Vermont Commission on National and Community Service. It has consistently contributed beyond the minimum required match. U
Success Stories VCHB AmeriCorps Members delivered services to approximately 30,000 Vermont residents during the 2008-09 program year; 18,000 of these individuals were low-income, homeless or nearhomeless adults and children. Furthermore, Members provided stewardship services for 20,000 acres and 70 miles of preserved and public lands and engaged 1,000 volunteers in service. The following factors directly contribute to VHCB AmeriCorps’ success: • Meaningful, high-impact AmeriCorps member positions; • High level of support and training that program staff and sponsoring organizations provide to Members; • An instilled sense of connectedness toward a shared, statewide dual goal among Members and sponsoring organizations; and • Collaboration with other national service programs in Vermont.
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Focus Area: Health
One of the priority areas for AmeriCorps identified in the Kennedy Serve America Act is healthy futures. This is indicative of the importance of AmeriCorps programs focusing on health services. This section presents several innovative programs meeting health-related needs in their communities ranging from helping seniors access prescriptions and medical services to helping kids be more active (such as the Ohio Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities program, pictured above). Through these initiatives, the programs in this section are creating lasting impacts on communities and the Members who serve.
ARKANSAS Mid Delta Community Consortium Program Description Focus: Health Issue Area: Prescription and Medical Assistance Innovative Elements • Delivering meaningful service • Lasting impact on Members • Outstanding volunteer generation U
Contact Information Arkansas State Commission for Service Mary Bea Gross, Executive Director email@example.com (501) 682-6724 U
Mid Delta Community Consortium Anna Huff, Project Director firstname.lastname@example.org (870) 572-5518
Mid Delta Community Consortium (MDCC) provides prescription and medical assistance to residents in 20 counties in the impoverished Mississippi River Delta region of Arkansas. MDCC engages AmeriCorps Members as health care advocates, connecting residents (often seniors) to prescription assistance programs. The program also provides health education promotion and physical activity counseling to clients. AmeriCorps Members serving with the MDCC provide educational sessions, workshops, and one-on-one meetings to help residents understand the details of the prescription assistance plans available to them. The AmeriCorps Members who serve as health care advocates assist clients through a process which begins when a potential client is identified. AmeriCorps Members assist clients in submitting their applications for prescription assistance to the appropriate companies and to obtain prescription medication accordingly. AmeriCorps Members assist clients in filing for refills (typically needed every 12 months) and follow up with clients regarding program adherence and maintenance. Members serve in a number of sites, including a hospital, an enterprise community office, three community-based organizations, a health clinic, a violence prevention center, a women's shelter, a city hall and a family resource center. Members also develop promotional items relevant to the program, such as fliers and public service announcements.
MDCC took a unique approach to address the low enrollment in prescription assistance programs. The director of the program utilized AmeriCorps VISTA Members to design an outreach and development program, bringing in partners from every community in which Members are placed. By utilizing AmeriCorps* State and VISTA Members to reach clients individually as well as in groups, more consumers are served, which helps the client and the state.
Program Innovations Delivering meaningful service AmeriCorps Members educate low-income Medicare beneficiaries about prescription assistance programs and help them navigate an often confusing system of various plans and multi-step applications. Outreach and education to low-income beneficiaries is needed in many communities and MDCC is meeting this need in Arkansas. As a result of AmeriCorps Members’ support, between July 1 and December 31, 2009, 1,515 clients saved $730,612 in prescription costs. In previous program cycles, MDCC was also able to track over $2 million in savings to the state of Arkansas as a result of its efforts. U
Lasting impact on Members MDCC AmeriCorps Members are recognized, trained and encouraged in an ongoing fashion and a true espirit de corps exists despite the fact that many Members function in an individual-placement format. One example of support is mentoring for new AmeriCorps Members by prior-year Members to ensure that the new AmeriCorps Members feel comfortable in their position and are able to serve clients effectively. Additionally, numerous MDCC AmeriCorps Members go on to work in medical-related fields and many are retained by their sponsoring agencies as full-time employees once their AmeriCorps term is completed. In this economically stressed region of the country, a job in the health care field is often hard to obtain and the long-term benefits of the program are felt in numerous ways. U
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Outstanding volunteer generation The Mid Delta Community Consortium exceeded its volunteer recruitment goals through encouraging local residents to pursue their interest in AmeriCorps activities. Each AmeriCorps Member was requested to recruit at least 10 volunteers throughout their service year. Not only have the Members recruited their ten volunteers, but those volunteers have also recruited new volunteers. This demonstrates a growing spirit of volunteerism in the community and MDCC expects more volunteers to join the 2009-10 program year ends. U
Success Stories MDCC has survived despite difficult economic circumstances with a committed group of AmeriCorps Members and a dedicated staff. The MDCC staff works tirelessly to ensure that MDCC meets and achieves its goals, which have enabled it to continue serving important community needs and having a lasting impact on its Members.
MISSISSIPPI Project LINC Program Description Focus: Health Issue Area: Disability Inclusion Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members, community or state • Exceptional partnerships • A real spirit of service • Potential for replication U
Contact Information Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service www.mcvs.org David Mallery, Executive Director email@example.com (601) 432-6779 U
Project LINC www.lifeofms.com Margie Moore, Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org (601) 969-4009
The Project LINC (Linking Individuals into Neighborhoods and Communities) AmeriCorps program empowers Mississippi residents with disabilities and their family members to maintain their home in the community or to re-establish a home in the community after living in an institutional setting. The goal of Project LINC and all its collaborating partners is the full inclusion of all citizens with disabilities in mainstream community life. Project LINC currently hosts 24 AmeriCorps Members; 95% of these Members are individuals with disabilities, and the other 5% have a family member with a disability. Project LINC AmeriCorps Members carry out the program’s mission through the following activities. (Data is from the 2008-09 program year.) • Transitions: Members collaborated with state and local agencies to implement the transition of 25 people out of institutions into their own homes in the community. • Life-Skills Training: Members assisted 995 individuals with disabilities to access and utilize programs and services available in their communities, to enable greater individual independence. • ADA Site Surveys: Members collaborated with Americans with Disabilities Network Coordinators to review 130 public facilities for accessibility to ensure they are complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). • Disability Resource Directories: Members collaborated with federal, state and local agencies to develop 10 Disability Resource Directories, which provide a current and comprehensive directory of disability resources in Mississippi.
Peer Support: Members provided peer support to over 400 individuals with disabilities. A peer supporter is a person with a disability who has learned life strategies, how to be a self advocate, and how to live independently and has acquired the skills to help others do the same. Of individuals receiving peer support, 100% indicated a 95% increase in skills needed for independent living. Volunteer Recruitment: Members collaborated with state and local community and faith-based organizations to recruit 1,944 volunteers who completed over 8,200 hours of service statewide in disability-related activities that benefitted 560 individuals with disabilities and their families. Member Training: Members participated in 70 trainings on topics including Social Security benefits, Medicaid, Medicare, home modification and independent living philosophy.
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members Project LINC provides its AmeriCorps Members with disabilities the opportunity to serve their peers while gaining skills and experiences for future employment. Many Project LINC AmeriCorps alumni remain connected to the program after completing their service year(s) and commonly participate in National Days of Service projects with current Members. U
Exceptional partnerships Project LINC frequently collaborates with the AmeriCorps*NCCC campus in Vicksburg, MS. Recently, Project LINC Members taught NCCC members how to construct wheelchair accessible ramps. Another partner, Disability Rights of U
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Mississippi (the federally- funded entity designated to serve as the legal advocate for individuals with disabilities in the state), assists Project LINC in ensuring clients with disabilities receive the most appropriate services in the most integrated setting. The organization sponsors an AmeriCorps member who works with the staff to transition individuals from nursing facility settings into the community. Additionally, the Mississippi Paralysis Association hosts two AmeriCorps Members who assist Project LINC in designing and providing peer support and skills training that focuses on living independently in the community. Potential for replication The training provided to the AmeriCorps Members is specifically designed to teach them how to transition individuals from nursing homes. It includes information about the consumerâ€™s needs, available resources, budgeting, accessibility and more. AmeriCorps Members are taught how to assess a business for physical and programmatic accessibility, among other topics. The training could easily be adapted to other states.
Success Stories Project LINC AmeriCorps positions are filled by individuals deeply committed to the services they are providing to others. Project LINC recruits individuals with disabilities to serve as AmeriCorps Members. As a result, the program has Members who live the independent living philosophy of community integration and involvement. These Members are deeply committed to the services they provide to others. They are very grateful that they have been given a chance to prove their skills to others and in the process assist individuals in their efforts to live independently.
OHIO Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Program Description Focus: Health Issue Area: Child Nutrition & Fitness Innovative Elements • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships • Potential for replication • A strong record of compliance U
Contact Information Ohio Community Service Council www.serveohio.org William Hall, Executive Director email@example.com (614) 728-2916 U
Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities www.childrenshungeralliance.org Shannon Amos, Program Director firstname.lastname@example.org (614) 341-7700 x242
Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities (HKHC) AmeriCorps program helps Ohio children combat food insecurity, weight gain and learning losses by implementing after-school and summer enrichment programs focused on nutrition and exercise and increasing access to federal meal programs. The 20 HKHC AmeriCorps Members directly implement Food Folks and the Coordinated Approach to Child Health-Physical Education (CATCH-PE) curriculum at 60 after-school and summer sites statewide, reaching about 2,000 children annually. On average, Food Folks is conducted once a week and CATCH-PE is conducted twice a week at each site for 10-12 weeks. Each lesson lasts one hour. Members deliver the curricula and serve as supportive role models and mentors by being a consistent figure at the after-school programs, which often have high staff turnover rates. HKHC AmeriCorps Members also host quarterly family nights to get parents involved in their programs and to educate them on how to incorporate the material in the home environment. Volunteers are utilized on a regular basis to assist with member programming and larger events within the AmeriCorps program and its umbrella organization, Children’s Hunger Alliance. HKHC maintains 100% AmeriCorps member enrollment and over 90% retention. Strong recruitment and retention of AmeriCorps Members further strengthens the program by consistent delivery of educational activities and allows staff to focus on the ongoing development of Members.
HKHC has tremendous corporate support that includes many of the leading business and philanthropic organizations in Ohio. Innovation being central to their grant or gift program, the following are representative of HKHC financial supporters: JP Morgan Chase Foundation, Huntington Bancshares, Limited Brands Foundation, Nationwide Foundation, Cardinal Health Foundation, Honda of America, Reinberger Foundation, Battelle, Kaiser Permanente, Aetna Foundation, Harry C. Moores Foundation, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, United Way of Central Ohio, WellPoint Foundation, the Jewish Community Federation and the United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland.
Program Innovations Delivering meaningful service A 2009 Ohio Department of Health study states the child obesity/overweight rate in Ohio is 35%, as compared with the national rate of 17.5%. It is imperative, based on these statistics alone, that Children’s Hunger Alliance addresses the interrelated problems of poor nutrition, food insecurity and obesity through a comprehensive program that offers fitness and nutritional education while expanding access to healthy foods for Ohio’s underserved children. Evaluations show that the curriculum used in the HKHC program has a positive impact on participants. In 2009, 1,764 children participated in the CATCH-PE curriculum, and 84% of participants completing pre- and post-testing increased their cardiovascular endurance. Additionally, 1,872 children participated in the Food Folks nutrition education curriculum, and 80% of all youth completing pre- and post-testing increased their nutrition knowledge. Exceptional partnerships Children’s Hunger Alliance’s Strategic Alliances Department partners with key stakeholders to analyze the effects of hunger and to find innovative ways to end it. Partners supporting the HKHC initiative are diverse in their contributions 54 | T r a n s f o r m i n g C o m m u n i t i e s t h r o u g h S e r v i c e
and important to the success of the program and include the Afterschool Alliance, Ohio Department of Education, Ohio Action for Healthy Kids and the Ohio Parent Teacher Association. Potential for replication Utilizing existing, evidence-based curriculum at established afterschool or summer sites provides for easy replication of the Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities program in a wide range of community-based venues, including schools and faith-based organizations. The Food Folks curriculum is available on the Children’s Hunger Alliance web site, and CATCH-PE is a widely used curriculum in schools and community organizations across the country and readily available through the University of California system (www.catchinfo.org). In-place volunteer engagement, partner site agreements, and training plans allow for similar organizations to model the HKHC program in other states and communities. Accessing existing federal meal programs also allows for replication as this resource is widely available in communities across the nation.
Success Stories Children’s Hunger Alliance is unique in its utilization of federal meal programs as a point of access to provide nutrition and physical fitness education to children. Additionally, the HKHC AmeriCorps program partners with existing afterschool programs and engages dozens of external partners, which allows them to bring in volunteers, host special events and provide additional resources. Through the afterschool and summer program sites the AmeriCorps program reaches, Children’s Hunger Alliance is able to expand food access and provide the education needed to ensure that children are well equipped for their future. By educating children about proper nutrition and physical activity habits and by increasing access to healthy meals and snacks, Children’s Hunger Alliance has formulated a comprehensive plan to address these issues. A child at risk for hunger who depends upon subsidized school meals may not have a source of nutritional intake during after-school hours and may lose access to dependable meals altogether during the summer months. The Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities AmeriCorps program meets those critical needs.
TENNESSEE Early Childhood Home Visitation Program Program Description Focus: Health Issue Area: Child Development Innovative Elements • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships • Potential for replication U
Contact Information Volunteer Tennessee www.volunteertennessee.net Jim Snell, Executive Director email@example.com (615) 253-1426 U
Early Childhood Home Visitation Program www.porterleath.org Gwen Price, Program Manager firstname.lastname@example.org (901) 577-2500 x1159
Porter-Leath’s Early Childhood Home Visitation Program (ECHVP) provides pregnant women and families with infants and children up to age five in Memphis the tools necessary to improve healthy births and positive child development. At the core of the program’s design is the belief that parents play a critical role in laying the basic foundation for their child’s learning. Many parents have the tools they need to succeed in this area, but they lack the confidence or knowledge to make the most of them; tools such as the environmental conditions of the home and the intellectual stimulation of the child. The 32 ECHVP AmeriCorps Members serve as parent educators to teach these skills to families in their homes where they can be immediately put into practice. Using the Parents as Teachers – Born to Learn (PATS) curriculum, AmeriCorps Members provide one-on-one intervention that aims to: • Increase the healthy birth rate in Memphis; • Increase parent knowledge of early childhood development; • Provide early detection of developmental delays; • Prevent child abuse and neglect; and • Increase children’s school readiness and school success. ECHVP AmeriCorps Members also use the PATS curriculum at local health clinics to educate pregnant women on prenatal care. Additionally, Members serve at Head Start programs where they provide individualized assistance to children in achieving developmental milestones and conduct home visits to parents who have requested additional assistance.
Program Innovations Delivering meaningful service Over time, Porter-Leath has demonstrated its ability to deliver extremely effective services, utilizing well-trained AmeriCorps Members who are dedicated to serving and improving the community. The Memphis Commercial Appeal has even described ECHVP AmeriCorps Members as “foot soldiers” due to the services they provide to address the city’s infant mortality rate. Exceptional partnerships ECHVP receives strong support in Memphis from grassroots community groups, government agencies and private institutions and foundations. The level of support for the program has grown over time as Porter-Leath's reputation for success has grown. Newly formed partnerships with the Memphis Health Center, The University of Tennessee Medical Groups-MedPlex and Head Start have greatly contributed to the program’s success. Potential for replication ECHVP is designed for easy replication. Porter-Leath regularly markets the program in the community to expand into underserved neighborhoods and frequently talks to potential donors and executives at other agencies about the program’s success and how it may be replicated. ECHVP is based on one-on-one interactions and recruiting AmeriCorps Members from prospective communities. Families are recruited from the community, taught by AmeriCorps Members and trained utilizing the PATS curriculum. This model is replicable across the United States and is extremely effective and efficient in its operation. 56 | T r a n s f o r m i n g C o m m u n i t i e s t h r o u g h S e r v i c e
Success Stories Since its inception in 1996, ECHVP has served over 300 at-risk pregnant women, resulting in a healthy birth rate of 93.4%. In the 2009-10 program year, AmeriCorps Members have provided services to 516 adults and 530 youth. Over 95% of the program’s clients indicated they had a solid or very strong rapport with the AmeriCorps Members. The program’s remarkable success has garnered it support from numerous elected officials in Tennessee, including Representative Steve Cohen and Senator Lamar Alexander. ECHVP’s success is due to the following factors. • Employing dedicated management and staff who are committed to AmeriCorps and meeting the needs of the community. • Utilizing AmeriCorps Members to work with families by providing one-on-one instruction. AmeriCorps Members are able to connect with families and develop a professional rapport that ultimately results in successful program outcomes and increased client enrollment. • Providing intensive, regular training for AmeriCorps Members and staff as community and/or client needs dictate. • Leveraging community resources. The agency has a strong history of generating local support from companies to sponsor baby showers and other annual events for program participants.
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Focus Area: Public Safety
Several AmeriCorps programs throughout the country focus on ensuring public safety. These programs fill important gaps in services to communities. Programs highlighted in this section take innovative approaches for helping community members access the judicial system, for providing emergency support and linking communities with emergency service providers (such as the Delaware Emergency Services Corps, pictured left), and for rehabilitating and supporting formerly incarcerated persons and their families. All of these programs are innovatively creating systemic change in their communities.
CALIFORNIA California JusticeCorps Program Description Focus: Public Safety Issue Area: Access to Justice Innovative Elements • Creating a lasting impact on Member or state • Exceptional partnerships • Potential for replication U
Contact Information CaliforniaVolunteers www.californiavolutneers.org Karen Baker, Secretary of Service and Volunteering email@example.com (916) 323-7646 U
California JusticeCorps www.jud.ca.gov/programs/justice corps Martha Wright Martha.Wright@jud.ca.gov (415) 865-7649
The California JusticeCorps program was created to improve the capacity of the California judicial system to provide access to justice for all Californians, regardless of their resources. California JusticeCorps is the first and only AmeriCorps program of its kind, bringing together a unique group of partners to expand and improve access to justice in California communities from within the court system. According to the California Judicial Council Task Force on SelfRepresented Litigants, over four million people go to court each year in California without an attorney to represent them, typically because they cannot afford one. Legal matters involving family, housing and financial stability can be intimidating and complex, usually involving multiple essential steps to reach full resolution, and can include filling out several pages of forms, serving official notice on other parties, participating in mediation and sometimes appearing in the courtroom before a judge or a commissioner. California JusticeCorps recruits, trains and places over 200 AmeriCorps Members each year in service in court-based legal access self-help centers. JusticeCorps Members serve in three types of self-help centers: 1) Family Law Information Centers; 2) Self-Help Legal Access Centers and 3) Small Claims Advisor offices. These centers assist people with a variety of legal issues including divorce, establishing paternity and child support, requesting a restraining order, responding to an eviction notice or resolving a financial disagreement.
Supervised by court-based attorneys, JusticeCorps Members serve in a variety of capacities in court-based self-help centers, primarily providing litigants with initial information and referrals to associated services within or outside the courts; assisting with identifying and completing legal forms either one-on-one or in a workshop setting; and observing in the courtroom and providing litigants with information after courtroom sessions. In many cases, Members provide some or all of these types of assistance to the same litigant during one visit or multiple, subsequent visits.
Program Innovations Creating a lasting impact on Members and state For six years, JusticeCorps has helped people to navigate the court system, to resolve their legal issues and, ultimately, to reach a more stable place in their lives. With a new database filled with hundreds of proud and accomplished alumni, the JusticeCorps program is able to better understand the positive impact it has not only on its graduates, but also on the California legal and social services systems. Nearly 20 alumni have gone on to accept prestigious Capital Fellowships working from within one of the three branches of state government to build on their JusticeCorps experience and learn more about the process of creating and implementing public policy. Many alumni have chosen careers in public interest law because they know how rewarding it can be to help people in crisis resolve their issues. Because each class of JusticeCorps Members has been extremely diverse (over half represent minority ethnicities), as they go on to future careers in the justice field, they will eventually help to diversify the bench and the bar. For this accomplishment, JusticeCorps was recognized by the State Bar’s Access and Fairness Commission as a “Model Diversity Pipeline Program.”
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Exceptional partnerships JusticeCorps partners with unique stakeholders to achieve its goal of improving access to justice. Partnerships include the California superior courts, local public California universities, and community-based legal aid providers. Each of these partners is heavily invested in JusticeCorps and is an important stakeholder in its success. Though entrusting undergraduate students to serve the public in courts is far from the norm for the California justice system, court staff and judges have come to realize just how significantly JusticeCorps Members are improving the efficiency and effectiveness of court operations. University partners, with the support of their community-based learning centers are thrilled to have such a unique opportunity to offer their students interested in pre-law and social work. Partners like UCLA report interest from academic faculty to create a JusticeCorps service-learning course. Potential for replication JusticeCorps is a highly replicable program. While the numbers of litigants coming to court without representation are highest in California, they are growing in states across the country. Courts are beginning to embrace the relatively new concept of creating their own legal access self-help centers. Centers have been established in Chicago and New York City, for example, and local stakeholders are now actively beginning the planning process of establishing the first JusticeCorps replications.
Success Stories In the last completed program year, JusticeCorps served approximately 70,700 litigants. The program achieved a 98% accuracy rate for information and referrals provided and a 99% accuracy rate for forms completed. Results from the 2009 independent program evaluation show that JusticeCorps has a positive impact on community Members served. Over 97% of customers who completed feedback surveys last year reported feeling better prepared to proceed with their case as a result of their assistance by a JusticeCorps member. Approximately 86% of those who completed feedback surveys described the “explanation of the legal process” they received from JusticeCorps Members as “excellent.” JusticeCorps works because it meets the needs of every partner involved with the program. The courts are afforded the ability to serve the public better and more efficiently. People do not stand before the judge during a divorce hearing, for example, and provide incomplete forms (or the wrong form all together) only to be rescheduled and further impact an already overloaded court calendar. The people served benefit by feeling they were listened to. Whatever the ultimate resolution of the legal matter, they were assisted and they moved forward. Finally, the Members participating are provided a unique opportunity outside the classroom to learn about the law and life.
DELAWARE Emergency Service Corps Program Description Focus: Public Safety Issue Area: Emergency Services Innovative Elements • Delivering meaningful service • Outstanding volunteer generation • Cross program connections U
Contact Information Delaware Governor’s Commission on Community and Volunteer Service http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/ dssc/sov/americorp.html Andy Kloepfer, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org (302) 255-9881 U
Emergency Service Corps www.beafirefighter.org Evelyn Lemmons email@example.com (302) 571-6975 x 104
The New Castle County Emergency Services Corps (ESC) was created as a partnership between New Castle County Government, New Castle County Volunteer Firefighter's Association, AmeriCorps, and the YMCA Resource Center of Delaware in order to recruit volunteer firefighters and increase awareness among New Castle County residents about volunteer opportunities in the fire service. ESC Members also conduct programs in high schools and community centers designed to teach the public about fire safety issues, emergency medical practices and disaster preparedness. ESC Members also join with other AmeriCorps Members in various service projects throughout the year in the county, state and region. With the exception of the City of Wilmington, Delaware communities are protected by a volunteer fire service. New Castle County’s 21 volunteer fire companies protect more than 450,000 residents, as well as tens of thousands of daily travelers on nearby Interstate 95. As the population of Delaware has increased and aged, calls for emergency services have risen. Since 2000, New Castle County has seen an almost 32% increase in fire, medical and rescue calls. However, as is the case nationwide, membership in the volunteer fire service has struggled to keep pace. Members are needed in all areas of the fire service – from people who fight fires and deliver emergency medical care, to those who assist with education, marketing or bookkeeping. Since 2005, Emergency Services Corps Members have helped meet the critical needs of the volunteer fire service.
Program Innovations Delivering meaningful service ESC Members improve the health and safety of New Castle County residents through public education about the needs of and services provided by emergency services agencies. They teach the community fire safety and prevention, train residents in First Aid/CPR and disaster preparedness —all the while recruiting new volunteer firefighters, emergency medical technicians and support staff. These activities raise community awareness about the variety of volunteer opportunities in the fire service. ESC teamwork helps create diversity in the volunteer fire service by successfully helping applicants become fire company members and reaching out to the community. ESC Members adopt a lifelong dedication to community service through continued involvement with emergency services or other volunteer services beyond their ESC commitment. Outstanding volunteer generation Since the program's inception in 2005, ESC Members have collected 383 volunteer applications for New Castle County fire departments. Of these applicants, 203 have become members of the fire and emergency services. These ESC Members participated in more than 630 outreach activities, including informational and recruitment presentations, community events and fire safety presentations. Further, in an effort to recruit volunteers as well as educate county residents, ESC Members also provided First Aid/CPR and/or CERT training to roughly 2,000 residents. In addition to bolstering the ranks of New Castle County volunteer fire companies, ESC cultivates membership programs to ensure sustainability within fire companies. Specifically, ESC Members create a structured junior membership 62 | T r a n s f o r m i n g C o m m u n i t i e s t h r o u g h S e r v i c e
program that fosters a sense of community and responsibility among teenagers, encouraging young volunteers to engage with the fire service for years to come. Additionally, a strong Fire Corps, a national Citizens’ Corps program spearheaded by ESC, attracts volunteers interested in non-operational assistance for county fire companies. Cross-program connections ESC Members also interact with Members of other AmeriCorps programs in various service projects throughout the year. In 2008 and 2009, ESC Members endured a 23-hour bus ride in order to take their service experience to New Orleans, where they worked with other volunteers from Delaware in delivering a week of service to the Gulf Coast rebuilding effort. During the first year of the rebuilding, ESC Members delivered a “Jaws-of-Life” hydraulic rescue tool to a fire department that had lost its rescue tool during hurricane Katrina.
Success Stories The ESC program is rooted in the communities it serves, providing opportunities for AmeriCorps Members to serve the local community by supporting the volunteer fire service. AmeriCorps Members, few of whom had previous experience with emergency services, continue to promote the fire service and recruit volunteers. Their success is measured in several meaningful ways, most notably the addition of more than 200 new members to the county’s volunteer fire companies. Another indication of the success of this initiative is the fact that the vast majority of ESC Members have remained engaged as volunteers after the completion of their AmeriCorps commitment. The community connection forged through this initiative and the partnerships that have sustained it enable ESC Members to have a positive impact on the community by helping to fill a specific need. Successful recruiting initiatives by ESC Members have raised awareness among various demographic groups in New Castle County.
GEORGIA Albany Police AmeriCorps Program Description Focus: Public Safety Issue Area: Community and Police Engagement Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members • Delivering meaningful service • Potential for replication U
Contact Information Georgia Commission for Service and Volunteerism www.AmeriCorpsGA.org John Turner, Executive Director John.Turner@dca.ga.gov (404) 327-6846 U
Albany Police AmeriCorps www.albany.ga.us Cpl. K. Denise Barnes, Program Director firstname.lastname@example.org (229) 430-5304
The Albany Police AmeriCorps is a vibrant working partnership with the Albany Police Department devoted to bridging the gap between the police and the community. The mission of the program is to enhance public safety, reduce the fear of crime through police and AmeriCorps presence, and increase civic responsibility at the neighborhood level. The Members/Cadets establish and maintain a visible presence in nine lowincome and/or high-crime target areas within the City of Albany and undertake activities designed to solve crime-producing problems. The Cadets challenge the police and residents to become partners in their neighborhoods to make it a safer place to live, work and play by empowering residents to prevent crime and strengthen their community. The Albany Police AmeriCorps Cadets’ service includes youth outreach, senior citizen outreach, neighborhood environmental projects, volunteer generation, building community partnerships, community interaction and strengthening development, and crime prevention strategies. The Cadets strive to develop new strategies to reach out to youth at risk of becoming involved in gang and/or criminal activity, reminding senior citizens they are an important part of the community, and inspiring police officers to be more than just the law enforcers. The Cadets sponsor activities to promote physical and health wellness, positive mentoring and community policing education with service projects, after-school programs, summer camps, neighborhood watch programs, Senior Citizen Bingo Games, recreational activities, educational campaigns of safety tips fliers and community litter clean up events.
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members The Albany Police AmeriCorps program also strives to focus on member development. The Cadets’ training program concentrates on motivating the Cadets to understand the importance of their AmeriCorps service, be positive role models, improve communication skills, team building and responsibility, develop leadership proficiency, CPR/First Aid Training, understand the importance of life after AmeriCorps, and develop the Cadets’ abilities to serve as First Responders. The Cadets have the unique opportunity to learn from the police officers about the magnitude of handling emergency situations and training to serve as emergency responders in critical situations from an AmeriCorps/Police Ride-A-Long Program. Additionally, the program encourages its Members who have completed service to continue to be a functional part of AmeriCorps service by returning for service projects and sharing their experience(s) with newer Members. Delivering meaningful service The Albany Police AmeriCorps cadets strive to reach out to young people in target areas. The Cadet program sponsors after-school programs that focus on physical and health wellness activities, mentoring, recreational activities, and educational seminars on topics such as gun safety, avoiding gangs, drug awareness and neighborhood safety. Through these efforts, Cadets concentrate on getting young people off of the streets and involved in positive activities. Cadets also develop programs aimed at keeping the senior community safe and informed on local crime trends and prevention techniques. The Cadets host activities to get seniors involved in their communities and perform wellness checks on elderly residents to let them know someone cares about them and is concerned for their well being. Additionally, Albany 64 | T r a n s f o r m i n g C o m m u n i t i e s t h r o u g h S e r v i c e
Police AmeriCorps is an awarding-winning program organizing activities to pick up litter in the city and engage volunteers in efforts to clean up the community. Through these efforts, Cadets provide safer playground areas for the neighborhoods, beautification of target areas, and a sense of pride from their service. The Albany Police AmeriCorps also encourages development of new partnerships throughout the City of Albany, Dougherty County, and surrounding areas. The program enjoys the support of the City of Albany, the Albany Housing Authority, the Dougherty County School System, Albany State University, Darton College, local businesses and other various community figures to help the program reach new heights. Potential for replication The Albany Police AmeriCorps program began its dedication to service in 2008 as a replication program of the successful Macon Police AmeriCorps Program. Albany Police AmeriCorps was able to take the foundation laid by the Macon AmeriCorps group and successfully rework it for the Albany community. While there are many similarities in these programs, the Albany Police Cadet program successfully adapted programming aspects of the Macon design (such as neighborhood bicycle patrol teams, youth tutoring and activity initiatives, and MLK Day activities) and built upon the model to add public outreach activities, such as a Stop the Violence rap created by the Members, to create senior-specific events during holidays and to implement structured sporting opportunities to keep youth engaged after school.
Success Stories Albany Police AmeriCorps inspires people to be involved and help join the fight against crime in its community. During the 2008-09 program year, Albany Police AmeriCorps Cadets provided 9,778 service hours reaching out to 1,798 clients. The cadets were also able to bring in 98 new volunteers who gave 2,319 hours of volunteer service. The Albany Police AmeriCorps has a great retention rate for its Members and strives to ensure that Cadets become successful members of the community. Many of the Cadets dedicate more than one year of service to the program and many return to continue the spirit of AmeriCorps service by volunteering with the program. The Cadets have developed creative initiatives to respond to specific needs in the community. For example, Cadets developed a Walk and Talk program to get feedback from residents about crime and safety topics. The Cadets utilize interactive activities to reach out to the youth and senior citizen populations such as game days or movie days to meet program objectives of disrupting gang activities or involving seniors in community involvement. The Cadets have found recreational activities a successful vehicle to stimulate youth to stay away from the streets and crime. Through these activities the Cadets are able to form bonds with young people and open the door for communication and learning opportunities.
NEBRASKA RISE AmeriCorps Program Description Focus: Public Safety Issue Area: Criminal Justice Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members, community or state • Delivering meaningful service • A real spirit of service t • A strong record of compliance U
Contact Information ServeNebraska www.serve.nebraska.gov Greg Donovan, Program Officer email@example.com (402) 471-6249 U
RISE AmeriCorps www.supremecourt.ne.gov/probat ion/special%20projects.shtml Kari Rumbaugh, Program Director firstname.lastname@example.org (402) 471-2855
Nebraska State Probation created the Rural Improvement for Schooling and Employment (RISE) program to give probationers in rural areas of Nebraska an opportunity to make positive life changes. The program’s goal is to see probationers improve their interactions in society, ultimately reducing recidivism. The 14 RISE AmeriCorps Members (RISE Specialists) assist the program in achieving its goal by evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of probationers referred to them by probation officers, educating probationers on employment and educational opportunities, and organizing and facilitating employment and education groups for probationers. The RISE program is the first of its kind for Nebraska’s probation system, and it is seen as an innovative development in the national criminal justice community. The program is a unique means of increasing resources and services to rural and frontier areas. Each RISE Specialist serves in the probation district office and works directly with probation officers. The RISE Specialist is available for any probationer in need of assistance with their employment or education. RISE Specialists facilitate three tracks for the RISE program. Probationers can attend one or more tracks depending on their need. • Employment Track: Specialists teach probationers how to locate, apply for and successfully maintain employment. • Education Track: Specialists teach probationers how to earn their GED and how to look into post-high school opportunities, which includes instruction on applying for school and available financial options and leading college tours. • Juvenile School Support Track: Specialists work with juveniles struggling in school by teaching them learning styles and test-taking and goalsetting skills.
RISE Specialists are active partners in the rural areas they serve. They build relationships with local businesses and are the liaison supporting businesses that hire probationers. RISE Specialists also work closely with schools, including colleges and local high schools. They receive training to assist in GED prep testing or set up GED classes in the probation offices, which are easily accessible for probationers. In addition to their direct service activities, RISE Specialists are responsible for creating a resource manual for their probation district. The resource manual includes information on all employers they have contacted, instructions on how probationers can apply to these businesses for employment, and any requirements the Specialist learned during their meetings with the employer (such as if the business will hire a formerly incarcerated person). The manual also features weekly job postings for the area. Finally, the manual includes contacts the RISE Specialist makes with volunteers in the area. The RISE program’s volunteers are experts who help strengthen the Specialists’ educational groups. Some of the topics the volunteers present on are interview etiquette, what employers look for, military recruitment requirements and college applications.
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Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members and state RISE AmeriCorps has significantly impacted its Members and the state. As the first initiative of its kind within the Nebraska criminal justice system, the program was initially met with a degree of suspicion by the judicial system. Today, this is gone and communities now eagerly apply to have RISE AmeriCorps Members serve. The judicial system has fully embraced the efforts and demonstrated great support. Due to the program, Nebraska communities have seen probationers maintain employment and an increase in tax-paying citizens, courts have seen a reduction in recidivism, and probation officers have seen probationersâ€™ behaviors change and more probationers successfully completing probation. This systemic change is tremendous, but the most dramatic lasting impact is the increased quality of life and future prospects for the probationers benefitting directly from AmeriCorps Membersâ€™ efforts. Delivering meaningful service The RISE AmeriCorps program has consistently met its goals of providing employment and educational services to individuals on probation in rural and frontier Nebraska. The program has built upon its initial strong performance, expanding to new communities and broadening its scope to offer services to juveniles on probation. Real spirit of service The majority of the Members who serve in RISE AmeriCorps are residents of the small towns and rural communities in which they serve. The majority of these locations did not have prior exposure to AmeriCorps. Through their strong community ties, the AmeriCorps Members are able to expand the resources to beneficiaries while also broadening an understanding of AmeriCorps and the benefits of national service.
Success Stories The RISE program is only in its third year of operation, and it has already shown a reduction in recidivism for participating probationers. The statistics gathered during the 2008-09 program year show 85% of probationers who graduated from the RISE program did not return to the probation system a year after completion. Also, during the same year, the RISE program served more than 500 probationers and engaged 55 expert volunteers. The Juvenile School Support portion of the RISE program was added during the 2009-10 program year, serving 191 juveniles. Of the participants, 68% showed improvement in school including grades, attendance or performance. The true secret to the success of the RISE program is the work of the RISE Specialists. They are valued by their communities, and most Specialists have received public recognition for the work they do including requests to speak about the program. Additionally, local news stations and newspapers have interviewed RISE Specialists as they are viewed as the local expert for employment and educational assistance and an essential team member in all probation offices.
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Focus Area: Human Need
The human need focus area is broad and the programs highlighted are working in various sectors addressing needs in their communities. Some programs focus on supporting domestic violence victims, while others ensure that persons with disabilities have access to transportation. Some programs are engaging in community arts, while others are supporting atrisk young people and families (such as Iowa’s Each One Reach One AmeriCorps program, pictured above). All of the innovative AmeriCorps programs highlighted in this section are very rooted in their communities and are delivering meaningful service to support human needs.
CALIFORNIA Hope for the Homeless Program Description Focus: Human Need Issue Area: Homelessness Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members and community • Exceptional partnerships U
Contact Information CaliforniaVolunteers www.californiavolutneers.org Karen Baker, Secretary of Service and Volunteering email@example.com (916) 323-7646 U
Hope for the Homeless
Kevin Martin , Program Manager, AmeriCorps firstname.lastname@example.org (213) 689-2282
Hope for the Homeless is a valuable project that provides needed services to the Los Angeles Skid Row community. Many formerly homeless graduates of local programs are recruited to serve the community to assist homeless men and women as they recover and strive to regain control of their lives. Members and volunteers walk the streets and inform the homeless about services, while linking them to resource teams to facilitate access to programs and services. As a part of this community, Members are able to bring their own personal experiences forward to impact those they serve. Members discover their potential by serving people who are broken and impoverished. Members and volunteers have made a major impact on the homeless population. Members are offered full range of wrap around support to provide them with the proper training and guidance needed to fully develop skill sets that will assist them in securing permanent work once their terms of service are completed. The program has a retention rate of 90% and many continue to stay engaged with the program afterward through an Alumni Association, peer mentorship, employment within partnership agencies and community service projects. Over 50% of Members attend schools of higher learning after completion and 40% acquire viable full-time employment serving the Skid Row community.
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members and community Members work in one of the most impoverished communities in the country serving chronically homeless people suffering from many serious problems. The physical location is less than idyllic and can be depressing. Despite the overwhelming odds against them, many Members rise to a higher plane, because the environment is a constant reminder of where they came from. This constant reminder provides many Members the needed motivation to prevent them from returning to their former lifestyles. What makes Hope for the Homeless so innovative is the program’s commitment to provide ample member support to equalize the pressure Members face daily through their service. Just as Members provide services for the homeless, the program ensures each Member has access to resources essential to each Member’s development and success. The program’s Member support system allows Members time to take advantage of much-needed services to aid them as they complete their term commitment. As a result, the project’s retention rate has increased and Members are able to continue providing much needed services to this hard-to-reach community. Hope for the Homeless partners and staff have implemented a mentor program that pairs AmeriCorps Members with frontline staff from organizations within its community. Mentors and mentees are paired based on common career interests, as well as experience. Mentors serve as role models, offer advice on career goals and guide Members as they begin to develop professional skills and networks. This builds a mentor-Member nurturing relationship to help Members develop into well-rounded professionals.
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Exceptional Partnerships Hope for the Homeless is formed from the spirit of collaboration. Many service providers, businesses, and public entities came together to devise a way to assist the residents of Skid Row with accessing services, and to eradicate homelessness and poverty. The collaboration that was formed, the Los Angeles Central City Providers Collaboration (LACPC), meets once a month to discuss community projects and ongoing needs. In addition, special committees are formed to establish working groups around specific areas. For example, LACPC has a sustainability committee to address funding match requirements. This committee meets once a month to identify funding needs and develop a cooperative strategic approach for meeting those needs.
Success Stories In the 2008-09 program year, Members served 19,169 homeless individuals and families to provide vital human services. Members were successful in referring 7,590 homeless individuals and families for services and programs. Members were able to verify 6,688 homeless individuals and families completed services or attached to programs in good standing. The program design for Hope for the Homeless has been recognized by city, county and state planners as a necessary system in all plans that aim at reducing and ending homelessness. Hope for the Homelessâ€™s success comes from the fact that Members come from the community they serve and may once have been homeless themselves. As Members serve people who are broken and impoverished, they share their stories and personal testimonies of how their lives have been transformed through service. This experience allows Members to break down barriers and build a strong connection with the people they serve. By using formerly homeless graduates of local programs to serve the community and assist homeless men and women as they recover their lives through service, the program has a lasting impact on Members and the community.
IDAHO AmeriCorps Accessible Transportation Network Program Description Focus: Human Need Issue Area: Inclusive Transportation Innovative Elements • Delivering meaningful service • Outstanding volunteer recruitment U
Contact Information Serve Idaho, Governor's Commission on Service and Volunteerism www.serveidaho.org Kelly Houston Staskey, Executive Director email@example.com (208) 332-3578 x4785 U
AmeriCorps Accessible Transportation Network www.silc.idaho.gov Brooke J. Green, Project Director firstname.lastname@example.org (208) 334-3800
The AmeriCorps Accessible Transportation Network creates new transportation options and improves accessible transportation throughout Idaho. The Network recruits, trains and places 11 full-time and 12 quartertime AmeriCorps Members throughout Idaho. These Members, the majority of whom have a disability, develop sustainable projects within their communities that address the need to increase and improve access to transportation in both rural and urban Idaho. AmeriCorps Members devise and implement accessible transportation strategies for Idaho communities. Members successfully secured $181,000 in additional funding to assist in breaking down transportation barriers, made it possible to purchase and make available two accessible vans for two counties in the state and created a volunteer-driven Driver Program that increases viable transportation options in rural communities. Additionally, four successful voucher programs were implemented within three counties throughout Idaho, which provides individuals with various transportation options. The Network is the first program of its kind to work in Idaho to collectively focus, facilitate and address transportation barriers. State transportation authorities envisioned a paradigm shift from agency-driven transportation projects to user identified needs, which this program in part has made possible.
Program Innovations Delivering meaningful service Lack of transportation options isolates many people with disabilities in their homes and focus groups in Idaho have ranked lack of transportation options as the most significant barrier to independence. There is a significant lack of accessible transportation service available in evenings and on weekends and in many rural areas of the state there are no options available. The Accessible Transportation Network is addressing this need by working with community members to devise and implement creative solutions for transportation barriers within Idaho. The program strives to include persons with disabilities in at least 80% of its Member positions, which allows for their greater inclusion in national service while also providing an environment where persons with disabilities can bring real life experiences into identifying solutions. Outstanding volunteer recruitment The Accessible Transportation Network’s projects are driven by networks of community volunteers (110 volunteers, many of whom are persons with disabilities) who have been recruited by AmeriCorps Members. These networks within each community identify barriers in transportation and with the assistance of the AmeriCorps Members evaluate, facilitate and implement change that has direct impact on available transportation options. Through volunteer networks and innovative partnerships, the AmeriCorps Accessible Transportation Network has successfully implemented 22 new transportation projects throughout Idaho.
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Success Stories AmeriCorps Accessible Transportation Network Members have identified transportation barriers throughout Idaho and devised solutions that improve the access of individuals with disabilities to reach employment opportunities and local facilities within their county. AmeriCorps Members have developed extensive partnerships with transportation authorities throughout the state that have created the synergy to bring the input, time, talent and funding to make necessary change. AmeriCorps Members have partnered with 27 agencies in identifying stakeholders. The Network is successful because Membersâ€™ personal experiences create exceptional commitments and an empathy-driven desire for success.
IOWA Each One Reach One AmeriCorps Program Description Focus: Human Need Issue Area: Mentoring Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members and community • Cross-program connections • Creating systemic change U
Contact Information Volunteer Iowa www.volunteeriowa.org Adam Lounsbury, Executive Director email@example.com (515) 725-3099 U
Each One Reach One AmeriCorps www.iowacbc.org/ccia/ initiatives.html Jean Kuehl, Program Director firstname.lastname@example.org (319) 398-3675
The Each One Reach One AmeriCorps program focuses on building solutions for safer communities by collaborating with various partners to infuse social supports and services complementary to mentoring in targeted high crime, high poverty neighborhoods in an effort to strengthen communities and empower those in need to overcome significant barriers. Meaningful mentoring practices address the issues facing at-risk youth, families, offenders and the chronically unemployed/underemployed. AmeriCorps Members provide direct and support services to several programs, including: • Children of Promise, which mentors children who have an incarcerated parent; • Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County and the North Liberty Coalition, which offer community based, after school and summer programs to at-risk youth and adults; • One on one mentoring, Circles of Support and Accountability, and Kairos Ministries, which mentor offenders; and • Partnership for Safe Families, which helps reunify families involved with the child welfare system.
Members are also involved in supervising and working alongside offenders completing community service projects as part of an effort to repair the harm they have done to communities through reparative acts in targeted neighborhoods. Additionally, Members provide workforce development for chronically unemployed/underemployed residents, and the Members with Helping Hands Ministries recruit and educate volunteers to address community issues. Each One Reach One received a 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant enabling it to expand its services to provide access to health care in partnership with Linn County Public Health; support for United Way’s 211 Information and Referral line to handle increased call volume as a result of the economic downturn/flood; self betterment programs for prisoners at Oakdale; and assistance to the Salvation Army in recruiting additional volunteers and providing two new services - care provider support and rent/utility assistance for up to 900 households. Each One Reach One is administered by the Community Corrections Improvement Association in partnership with the 6th Judicial District Department of Correctional Services and six additional community partners.
Program Innovations Lasting Impact on Members and community By addressing public safety and economic opportunity in such a comprehensive way, the Each One Reach One program not only helps to prevent crime before it happens, it addresses the impacts of criminal activity by engaging offenders in restorative justice, and it reduces recidivism by providing ex-offenders the support they need to move on to productive lives. By working alongside at-risk populations, AmeriCorps Members and community members form personal relationships with these individuals that lead to lasting changes in their perspectives on crime and criminals. Not only do Each One Reach One AmeriCorps Members provide great service to their communities, but they also engage offenders in service projects that allow the offenders themselves to give back. These projects allow offenders to feel a sense of pride and self-worth by contributing something positive to the community. Community members who participate in and benefit from offenders' service activities also help promote the idea of service as a strategy to improve lives and strengthen the community. 74 | T r a n s f o r m i n g C o m m u n i t i e s t h r o u g h S e r v i c e
Cross-Program Connections The Each One Reach One program philosophy is demonstrated through many cross-program connections. It partners with other AmeriCorps Members, including another AmeriCorps*State program, a Foster Grandparent program and an AmeriCorps*VISTA program located in the same facilities. It also engages local volunteer agencies and nonprofits with especially strong connections to local faith communities. For a recent AmeriCorps Week project, Each One Reach One AmeriCorps Members collaborated with VISTA and NCCC neighbors to create an afternoon of music in the park for a neighborhood that has been negatively impacted by publicity over the crime rate. Members wanted the event to bring the community together and worked together to recruit and exhibit the program’s philosophy – Each One Reach One. It was a huge eight-hour event with six musical acts, vendors and public information booths. Members talked about AmeriCorps service between each act and successfully engaged the community in a dynamic event. Creating systemic change As part of the Community Corrections Improvement Association, the Each One Reach One program helps change the overall approach to corrections. Rather than a focus solely on enforcement and punishment, this program focuses on prevention and rehabilitation. As such, the program creates systemic change by putting the "community" back into community-based corrections. Members provide a holistic approach by working with the whole family, assisting offenders in behavior change efforts and, in the process, beginning to understand the policy and process changes that need to happen to assist offenders to find and maintain a new way of living. Other important targets are families that have children involved in the child welfare system and children of offenders. By providing supportive services based on promising best practices for these populations, there is potential for providing support to change the whole family. Some ex-offenders are even hired, gain hard- and soft-job skills and go on to volunteer on their own.
Success Stories Each One Reach One AmeriCorps started in 2007 and has successfully increased its reach in subsequent years. This program is particularly successful because of its comprehensive approach to the corrections field. The program has been able to engage national service members in service throughout the program and is working to systemically change the approach to corrections from one of reaction and punishment to one of prevention, restoration and rehabilitation. A key to its success is its collaboration with many existing community organizations and institutions enabling Members to create lasting community-level change. “AmeriCorps Members have been an essential component in developing a new, successful, program to mentor families involved with Child Protective Services. Without their help and insight we would not have the best program of this kind in the State of Iowa. They have exceeded all of my desires for this program.” ~ Dave Loy – Director, Partnership for Safe Families.
“I may be 51, but this is one of the best learning experiences of my life. .. (I) believe in second chances because AmeriCorps has taught me that things are possible and can come true. What I take away is leadership, commitment, helping those in need, and learning what I’m meant to do.” -Jayne Kigallon, AmeriCorps Member
KENTUCKY SUCCESS Corps Program Description Focus: Human Need Issue Area: At-Risk Children Innovative Elements • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships • Potential for replication • Cross-program connections U
Contact Information Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service http://chfs.ky.gov/dfrcvs/kccvs/am ericorps/ Eileen Cackowski, Executive Director email@example.com (502) 564-7420 U
SUCCESS Corps Angela Baldridge, Program Director firstname.lastname@example.org (502) 564-4986
SUCCESS (Strategically Using Creative Contexts to Ensure Student Success) Corps Members serve at-risk children in Kentucky using researchbased home visitation models to support families and encourage increased school readiness and greater parental involvement in education. During home visitations, the Members implement a Vanderbilt University designed and administered program known as Maternal Infant Outreach Workers Program, which addresses everything from prenatal health to developmental milestones in children aged 0-3. It provides activities, screening activities, screening ideas and more to ensure children’s age-appropriate developmental progress. The Members receive recommendations and referrals of parent(s) from individuals who are concerned about an early pregnancy (i.e. in high school) or situations where a child may be at risk due to poverty, rural-ness or other challenges being faced by today’s parent(s). Each Member meets with 8-10 families (defined as a child and guardian) at least five times per month. The Members track the visits through the curriculum’s record-keeping system and report monthly progress. They conduct activities to promote children’s development and provide families with resources for further learning. Additionally, they provide families with information about accessing basic resources like food and clothing, as needed. As a result of these innovative efforts, more children in Kentucky are ready for success in school.
Program Innovations Delivering meaningful service Members serve young parents in high schools, domestic violence shelters and Head Start programs rather than just "normal" service sites. In Kentucky, high rates of poverty, lack of parental education, illiteracy, young parent age, and a lack of resources hinder children’s early childhood development and leave them at a disadvantage when they enter school. Families need education about childhood development, appropriate parental interaction and information about available basic-need resources. As a result, SUCCESS Corps was developed and has successfully been meeting this critical community need for three years. Exceptional partnerships The program was originally intended to serve out of Family Resource and Youth Service Centers, which are designed to remove barriers to education in Kentucky schools. Due to the economic downturn in Kentucky, funding usually used to provide match by the Centers for the AmeriCorps program was unavailable and the program needed to think out of the box and seek new partners. New partnerships were developed and now Members also serve in high schools, domestic violence shelters and Head Start programs. The end result is a stronger program making inroads with a population that normally would not receive the services of the Members. Potential for replication The SUCCESS Corps is originally based on the home visitation model, Parents as Teachers, and implements a universitydesigned program, Maternal Infant Outreach Workers Program, both of which are replicable in other communities. 76 | T r a n s f o r m i n g C o m m u n i t i e s t h r o u g h S e r v i c e
SUCCESS Corps adapted the models to its context and eventually switched to the Maternal Infant Outreach Workers Program model which has proved more cost effective and Member friendly. As such, SUCCESS Corps can build on this model and it can be successfully adapted and replicated in other communities and states.
Success Stories In only the first quarter of the 2009-10 program year, 14 AmeriCorps Members in SUCCESS Corps have served 154 families and have provided service to 5,759 disadvantaged young people. These efforts are successfully educating parents about child development and preparing children for school. The success of the program is due, in part, to the dedication of program staff as well as supportive host sites working with well-selected and committed AmeriCorps Members. By implementing a replicable home visitation and education model with innovative partnerships in Kentucky, AmeriCorps Members are delivering meaningful service and meeting critical community needs.
New Mexico VSA arts of New Mexico Program Description Focus: Human Need Issue Area: Disability Inclusion Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members, community or state • Delivering meaningful service • Potential for replication U
Contact Information New Mexico Commission for Community Volunteerism www.newmexserve.org Gregory Webb, Executive Director email@example.com (505) 841-4841 U
VSA arts of New Mexico www.vsartsnm.org Mike Callas, Program Director firstname.lastname@example.org (505) 345-2872 x19
The VSA arts of New Mexico (VSA NM) AmeriCorps program supports collaborations between people with and without disabilities in service to their community. The program’s 15 full-time AmeriCorps Members provide a range of arts education and culture-based classes, activities and entrepreneurial support in the visual, performing, literary, and media arts to adults and children with disabilities in Albuquerque. VSA NM AmeriCorps Members currently serve 183 adults with developmental disabilities. Referred by other programs, therapists and personal choice, these VSA NM apprentice artists participate in a full array of classes in the visual, performing and exploratory arts. All apprentice artists work from an individualized education plan, so AmeriCorps Members adapt their instruction and support according to the individual’s learning style and specific needs. AmeriCorps Members assist the apprentice artists with improving their art skills or developing their entrepreneurship skills to earn an income through art. The AmeriCorps team also works on Saturdays with 30-40 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the VSA NM Arts Adventures Program. The goal of Arts Adventures is twofold: to provide an enriching experience for children with autism and to provide a short respite for families while their child attends the class. Arts Adventures is divided into two threehour sessions, a morning session for youth ages 7-10 and an afternoon session for youth ages 11-14.
Other VSA NM programs AmeriCorps Members support are: • Expressions: art classes for adults with mental illness or trauma; • Native American Charter Academy: an after-school experimental arts club for Native American teens; and • Warehouse 508: a multi-media learning and performing center for Albuquerque teens.
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members Seven VSA NM staff members are AmeriCorps alumni. Additionally, VSA NM estimates that 50-60% of its AmeriCorps Members find a genuine vocation working with adults with disabilities or children/young adults with autism spectrum disorder. Delivering meaningful service Since the late 1970's, there has been a national movement to provide services and supports to individuals with developmental disabilities in the community rather than in institutions. New Mexico is one of only seven states that have closed large state facilities for people with developmental disabilities. VSA NM is innovative in that it works with these "de-institutionalized" citizens by providing a bridge from the institution to meaningful community life. VSA NM is a fullservice arts center where program staff and AmeriCorps Members develop clients’ arts and entrepreneurial skills. Once a client reaches a certain level of skill mastery, VSA NM exhibits clients’ work at its studio and other locations and celebrates their achievements via gallery showings and special events. 78 | T r a n s f o r m i n g C o m m u n i t i e s t h r o u g h S e r v i c e
Potential for replication The innovative strategies demonstrated by VSA NM offer great potential for replication. The program supports the integration of community mental and disability health systems that exist throughout the nation. Communities that support the inclusion of people with disabilities will find the VSA NM program model complimentary to their goals and services.
Success Stories In 2009, VSA NM AmeriCorps received one-year funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The programâ€™s goal for these funds was to increase the number of clients with disabilities receiving job training and attaining employment. At the conclusion of the grant year, AmeriCorps Members had successfully provided job training to 593 clients and assisted 114 clients in attaining employment. VSA NM is well connected with many arts, disability and cultural groups in Albuquerque. VSA NM is responsive to the changing needs of the communities it serves, which has resulted in the organizationâ€™s steady growth since its inception in 1981.
OKLAHOMA Oklahoma Serves Program Description Focus: Human Need Issue Area: Youth Development Innovative Elements • Delivering meaningful service • A real spirit of service • Potential for replication • A strong record of compliance U
Contact Information Oklahoma Community Service Commission www.okamericorps.com Nancy Sharrock, Executive Director email@example.com (405) 858-7278 U
Oklahoma Serves Amy Roff, Program Director firstname.lastname@example.org (405) 858-7278
Oklahoma Serves currently places AmeriCorps Members statewide at 17 state or local nonprofit organizations, public agencies, colleges and universities, schools, and other community-based organizations dedicated to providing services to children and youth. Member service activities include mentoring, tutoring, implementing educational enrichment and health programs, and supporting food banks. In 2009, the program’s scope expanded with the addition of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding to include supporting nonprofit organizations to fill the service gap created by budget declines and decreased financial donations. The Oklahoma Serves ARRA AmeriCorps Members provide capacitybuilding services to 18 participating nonprofits through volunteer recruitment and management, implementation of new programs and expansion of existing programs. Oklahoma Serves currently supports a total of 114 AmeriCorps Members. Organizations may apply for up to five AmeriCorps Member Service Years to perform direct service activities - full-time, half-time and minimum-time Members or a combination thereof.
Lasting impact on Members Due to AmeriCorps Members’ services, numerous Oklahoma organizations are better able to implement new programs, expand existing programs or improve the quality of existing programs for children and youth in their communities. Member activities fill a service gap in communities where agencies do not have the organizational and fiscal ability to manage these programs by themselves, thereby affecting a greater number of youth on a statewide level. Host sites continually comment on how beneficial Oklahoma Serves is to their agencies and the clients they serve. Several of the host sites have hired Members upon completion of their terms of service. Real spirit of service Oklahoma Serves Members are committed to enhancing the lives of Oklahoma’s children and youth and act as caring adult role models to thousands of young people who lack essential necessities, many of whom live in poverty. Spirit of service is the integral component of the program. A majority of Oklahoma Serves AmeriCorps Members maintain a heightened ethic of service and take pride in their roles as servant leaders to Oklahoma’s most vulnerable citizens. Strong record of compliance Oklahoma Serves supports and oversees service sites throughout the state on a regular basis. Members are required to submit monthly reports and signed timesheets in the OnCorps reporting system, which are reviewed by the Oklahoma Serves Program Director. In addition, the Program Director maintains frequent communication with all Members and their service sites through email, telephone and site visits. The Program Director maintains a close-knit relationship with Members and site supervisors and encourages frequent dialogue regarding program objectives, member activities and the overall mission of the program. Connection among the sites is developed through frequent communication, various training sessions, networking opportunities and service projects. In the program’s six years of operation, there have been no audit findings by independent or federal auditors.
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Success Stories Since its inception in 2004, 420 Oklahoma Serves AmeriCorps Members have impacted the lives of over 250,000 Oklahoma youth. Additionally, Members have served 247,160 hours and have recruited and served alongside 38,917 volunteers through agencies and schools that partner with Oklahoma Serves. Oklahoma Serves uses a “single placement” model, which allows host sites across Oklahoma to apply for member slots that will best suit their program design. For example, some organizations prefer hosting one or more full-time Members as their service activities require a member be present 35-40 hours per week. Other sites are more flexible with service activity schedules and prefer halftime Members who are college students majoring in education or social services. Several sites manage summer camps and prefer minimum-time Members who can serve those hours during the summer time. The flexible nature of the “single placement” design creates additional opportunities for organizations to access AmeriCorps Members. Thus, programs are able to expand their outreach, and as a result, a greater number of youth benefit from AmeriCorps Members’ services.
South Carolina Foothills AmeriCorps Program Description Focus: Human Need Issue Area: Youth Leadership Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members, community or state • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships • Potential for replication • A strong record of compliance U
Contact Information South Carolina Commission for National and Community Service www.uwasc.org Timothy Ervolina, Executive Director email@example.com (803) 929-1000 U
Foothills AmeriCorps Matt Holmes, Program Director firstname.lastname@example.org (864) 472-2846 x5244
Foothills AmeriCorps serves the northwestern section of Spartanburg County, which consists of several small, rural communities. The program’s 100 AmeriCorps Members are all high school seniors who attend Spartanburg County School District One. Foothills AmeriCorps Members meet the needs of the school district’s communities through the following activities. • Tutoring underachieving elementary and middle school students to become academically successful. • Planning and implementing disaster preparedness programs and activities, which help expand citizens' knowledge in emergency preparedness and safety and lead to the strengthening of homeland security in communities. • Sponsoring and/or participating in community capacity-building service projects that address unmet human needs throughout the county. Foothills AmeriCorps Members are selected based on their application, essay, three teacher recommendations, standardized test scores, and willingness and true desire to help the community. In exchange for their service throughout the year, Members receive a monthly stipend. Upon completion of at least 300 service hours by the end of the school year, they also receive a $1,000 scholarship to the college or university of their choice.
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members and community In the community, the presence of Foothills AmeriCorps Members has become synonymous with service. If there is a community need, Members have been there to assist in whatever way possible. Whether they are volunteering at the local soup kitchen or March of Dimes or the United Way’s Gift in Kind warehouse, these high school seniors have approached the service projects with a sincere and earnest desire to help. Their participation has enhanced them as they enter adulthood and made them overall better citizens. Delivering meaningful service Since the program’s inception in 2004, Foothills AmeriCorps has successfully demonstrated its effectiveness by meeting or exceeding outputs and outcomes. Performance measurements have continually increased and been met each year. Formal and informal evaluations demonstrate that, on average, 80 high school seniors tutor 125 K-8 students in eight schools for 16,000 hours during the course of the program year. Eighty percent of the students tutored have demonstrated improved reading and cognitive scores as indicated in pre- and post-testing. Further, AmeriCorps Members perform 8,000 hours of community service (hospice, blood drives, March of Dimes, soup kitchen, etc.), and 80 Members receive disaster preparedness/response training (and certification, if appropriate). Finally, 80 Members typically recruit 400 community volunteers during the course of the program year.
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Exceptional partnerships Foothills AmeriCorps receives outstanding community and school district support. The program is guided by a steering committee of 54 community representatives ranging the spectrum of socio-economic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The steering committee collaborates with Foothills AmeriCorps staff to identify community needs and service priorities and to evaluate the program’s performance. Potential for replication Foothills AmeriCorps has been lauded throughout South Carolina as a model program for other high schools, and several high schools in the state have replicated the program. The essential elements needed to replicate Foothills AmeriCorps in other states are as follows: • A school district willing to support the premise and philosophy of AmeriCorps; • A system of support that allows high school students to tutor students in the district’s elementary and middle schools; • High school seniors whose schedules will allow them to tutor students during the school day; • Supervision by schools and district staff; • Support from the financial branch of the school district; • Community need; and • A sincere desire to build capacity within the community.
Success Stories During the 2009-10 program year, Foothills AmeriCorps Members tutored 351 K-8 students. Members also conducted disaster preparedness workshops for 622 people, health and safety information fairs, a blood drive for the local blood bank, a comfort kit drive for disaster victims, canned food drives, and clothing drives. Additionally, Foothills AmeriCorps partnered with 20 nonprofit organizations and eight elementary, intermediate and middle schools within the school district. Due largely to its success in the classroom, Foothills AmeriCorps has been fully embraced by the school district. The community has also embraced the program and provides guidance and unparalleled support for Foothills AmeriCorps functions, events and activities. The program’s strong reputation has made AmeriCorps member selection extremely competitive as students consider it an honor and privilege to be selected.
TENNESSEE Project TLC Program Description Focus: Human Need Issue Area: Child Abuse, Domestic Violence Innovative Elements • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships • Potential for replication • An active alumni group U
Contact Information Volunteer Tennessee www.volunteertennessee.net Jim Snell, Executive Director email@example.com (615) 253-1426 U
Project TLC Carol Russell, Program Director firstname.lastname@example.org (901) 276-2200
Project TLC (To Love a Child) is a regional program that seeks to eradicate child abuse and domestic violence. The program’s 14 AmeriCorps Members teach positive parenting skills to “at-risk” and abusive parents through parenting education courses and on-site and home-based training to families. In addition, Members investigate Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) child abuse cases and support abused children’s best interests in court custody and visitation decisions. Members also administer domestic violence assessments and facilitate female and teen anger management groups and support groups for children who witness domestic violence. Members currently serve at Project TLC’s host site, the Exchange Club Center, and 24 partner sites.
Program Innovations Exceptional partnerships The following Project TLC partner agencies were instrumental to the program’s development and continue to support its growth: Exchange Club Family Center, CASA, Memphis Child Advocacy Center, and Le Bonheur Center for Children and Parents. Since the program’s inception, Project TLC has brokered partnerships with the Memphis City School System’s Family Resource Centers and Seedco. These partnerships are critical in helping Project TLC deliver meaningful service to communities.
Potential for replication Project TLC can easily be replicated and sustained in other communities. The opportunity for replication is enhanced by the following: • Each collaborator is a member of state, regional and/or national professional organizations and networks, which could easily follow the program's outline and design. • All collaborative agencies have extensive contacts with "sister" agencies through professional networks. • Exchange Club Centers across the country provide parenting classes and the parent aide program and thus can serve as a model for other organizations interested in replicating Project TLC. • A training manual to facilitate national replication has been developed. An active alumni group Annually, 25% of Project TLC AmeriCorps alumni participate in at least one of the program’s service projects. Furthermore, two alumni currently serve as executive directors of community development corporations in Memphis, while other alumni have created nonprofits that address various needs in their communities.
Success Stories Project TLC has achieved numerous successes since its inception in 1994. • AmeriCorps Members and staff have taught parenting skills to more than 1,600 adults, with 100% of participants who complete the 10-week course receiving a passing grade on the post-test. • AmeriCorps Members have investigated more than 700 CASA cases, with the judge accepting the recommendations of the member in more than 80% of the cases. 84 | T r a n s f o r m i n g C o m m u n i t i e s t h r o u g h S e r v i c e
Approximately 300 AmeriCorps Members have received in-service training on identifying the causes, signs and results of child abuse and neglect, domestic violence and positive parenting skills.
During the 2009-10 program year to date, Project TLC AmeriCorps Members have served 558 adults. Additionally, they have engaged 150 volunteers in 704 hours of service. Project TLC’s success is due to the following factors. • Caring, concerned and supportive leadership creates a culture that demonstrates and encourages “esprit de corps.” • Through the development of teams, a healthy competition exists among the AmeriCorps Members, and progress toward performance measures are achieved or exceeded at a rapid pace. • An extensive AmeriCorps member interview process that begins with applicant orientation, progresses through member interviews and ends with a program director interview has helped in enrolling more committed Members. • Progress toward successful completion of an AmeriCorps member term of service is monitored quarterly through one-on-one meetings between each member and the AmeriCorps Program Director. During these meetings, member progress toward all performance measures is reviewed.
VIRGINIA Alternatives, Inc. – Peninsula AmeriCorps Serve and Support Program Description Focus: Human Need Issue Area: Youth Development Innovative Elements • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships • A real spirit of service • Potential for replication U
Contact Information (Virginia) Office on Volunteerism and Community Service www.vaservice.org Nikki Nicholau, Executive Director email@example.com (804) 726-7644 U
Alternatives, Inc. – Peninsula AmeriCorps Serve and Support www.altinc.org Kathy Johnson, Program Director firstname.lastname@example.org (757) 838-2330
Alternatives, Inc. – Peninsula AmeriCorps Serve and Support (PASS) enhances life skills, health and wellness, workplace readiness skills, and career preparation for youth ages 13-18 in Hampton, VA. AmeriCorps Members provide instruction in visual art, music, videography, dance and theater. Members also expand service-learning and civic engagement opportunities that build a commitment to service and altruism. The program’s comprehensive approach helps young people emerge into powerful and positive leaders by providing opportunities for: • Fitness and wellness; • Fine and expressive arts; • Civic, social and cultural identity; and • Personal direction and success. PASS AmeriCorps Members, who are all students at Christopher Newport University, serve at the Hampton Teen Center. The Center operates in collaboration with city government, local public K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, and community nonprofit agencies. Center leadership is based on a youth-adult partnership model, with teens playing major roles in the facility’s leadership. In collaboration with Christopher Newport University Center for Service-Learning and Social Entrepreneurship (CNU-CSLSE), Alternatives, Inc. utilizes a vertical-integration model for the PASS program design. Adult leaders at the Center partner with the 12 PASS AmeriCorps Members who in turn partner with the Center’s teens.
The AmeriCorps Members use their knowledge, skills and professional passions to engage teens in innovative programming at the Center, designing and implementing programs based on their college majors. For example, a current member who is an art major designed and instructs classes on watercolors and art journaling. Additionally, Members advise the Center’s teens on designing and implementing service projects throughout Hampton.
Program Innovations Delivering meaningful service With highly committed partners and an innovative program design, PASS has achieved significant successes during its first year of operation. • AmeriCorps Members recruited 270 volunteers including 55 college-aged students, 80 high school students and 100 adults and young people serving as episodic volunteers. • Volunteer surveys indicated a 25% increase in pre- to post-test scores to a sense of commitment and altruism. • Partner feedback indicated that Members contributed to meeting community needs such as hunger, diabetes, gerontology and cultural diversity. • The program engaged 48 Christopher Newport University students in volunteer roles at the Hampton Teen Center. Exceptional partnerships The Hampton Teen Center serves as a centralized hub for the city’s youth civic engagement programs, providing PASS AmeriCorps Members direct access to a variety of potential collaborators. PASS partners with other Teen Center groups such as Word! magazine, Uth ACT, Green$mart and the Teen Center Youth Advisory Board. Externally, Members partner 86 | T r a n s f o r m i n g C o m m u n i t i e s t h r o u g h S e r v i c e
with the Virginia Foodbank, Hampton Health Department, the Diabetes Association, Hampton City Schools and 21st Century Learning Centers and Communities in Schools. Potential for replication The innovative strategies demonstrated by Alternatives, Inc. offer great potential for replication. Considering the economic climate that many states face across the country, the PASS program model could be easily replicated and prove very beneficial to other urban areas. Alternatives, Inc., the City of Hampton and CNU-CSLSE all collaborate with national partners to share best practices and to provide local insight that contributes to the national conversation regarding the engagement of young people in public service. Hampton's Youth Civic Engagement Initiative is considered a national model by the National League of Cities and was awarded the 2005 Innovations in American Government Award by the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University.
Success Stories In just its first year of operation, PASS has made a significant impact in Hampton. The program’s AmeriCorps Members have served over 500 of the city’s teens through service projects, programs, school outreach and general chaperoning of events. The City of Hampton has a national reputation for implementing a systemic approach to youth civic engagement. While the systemic model has included venues for youth in government, youth service-learning, youth activism, youth media and youth social entrepreneurship, it was not until 2009 that a model of youth in national service was incorporated into the mix. The PASS AmeriCorps Members are incredible models to Hampton residents of how young people are giving back to their country through national service. Alternative, Inc.’s long-term goal for PASS is to increase the number of youth and adults in Hampton who volunteer through its civic engagement efforts. PASS is a collaborative model between city government, local nonprofits and higher education partners, which is a major factor in the program’s success. Each entity brings its own expertise and resources to the table, and each entity’s expertise is honored and recognized by the others. Furthermore, partnering with Christopher Newport University has allowed PASS to easily recruit and develop college members and maintain a seamless system for member participation. Alternatives’ role as program coordinator ensures quality control, effective communication and program management.
WYOMING Wyoming Advocate Corps Program Description Focus: Human Need Issue Area: Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members, community or state • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships • Potential for replication • A strong record of compliance U
Contact Information ServeWyoming www.servewyoming.org Rachel Chadderdon, Executive Director email@example.com (307) 234-3428 U
The Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault’s (WCADVSA) Wyoming Advocate Corps (WyAC) partners with private, non-profit community advocacy agencies across Wyoming to empower adult and child survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault crimes. The well-trained WyAC AmeriCorps Members address safety issues and other needs of victims, promote understanding of critical issues and services available in their communities, and build the capacity of local domestic violence/sexual assault (DVSA) programs to respond more effectively to the needs of victims through the recruitment, training and management of community volunteers. WyAC Members’ primary responsibilities are to provide information, referrals, support, safety planning, safe shelter, transportation, childcare, landlord or creditor intervention, and assistance in relocation. Members assist victims as they interface with law enforcement, civil or criminal legal systems, medical services, and social service systems. Members also provide support to victims in securing job training and educational opportunities, emergency financial aid and housing. Additionally, Members work with children to address the effects of the violence perpetrated against them and to broaden their support systems.
In addition to working one-on-one, some WyAC Members facilitate peer education support groups, providing opportunities for group members to learn from and support each other. WyAC Members also set the standard for respectful, non-violent relationships by providing prevention education and awareness training on domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, stalking and available support services. Members work extensively with community partners such as law enforcement, schools, social service agencies, and civil and criminal legal systems to address victim blaming issues and to promote victim-friendly response systems. Wyoming Advocate Corps Patricia Luck, Project Manager firstname.lastname@example.org (307) 674-6265
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members and community WyAC AmeriCorps Members have impacted the lives of thousands of Wyoming residents living in fear and violence by improving communities’ responses to victims and societal attitudes about interpersonal violence and related issues. After WyAC Members exit, most have continued to volunteer and many have become staff at the program where they served as Members. Other Members have used their knowledge in their current work in education, law enforcement, counseling, and social work and in their own social circles. Delivering meaningful service The WCADVSA identified an epidemic need in Wyoming and designed WyAC to address that need. This unmet need for comprehensive services for survivors of interpersonal violence is due in part to the lack of available resources for advocacy organizations to provide services; many local programs in Wyoming do not have the staff and volunteers to meet the demand. Dedicated WyAC AmeriCorps Members have greatly increased the capacity of programs to respond to the needs of survivors 24 hours a day, seven days a week. WyAC has annually met performance measures that assess the impact of survivor empowerment services provided by Members. WyAC has also met volunteer recruitment, training and management performance measures each year, increasing the capacity of local programs to meet the needs of victims in their communities. As one program director stated in a recent survey, “When I see my AmeriCorps member in action in 88 | T r a n s f o r m i n g C o m m u n i t i e s t h r o u g h S e r v i c e
Crook County, it’s a powerful demonstration of how volunteerism is changing the county’s landscape for the better.” Potential for replication WyAC has great potential for replication. Every state and US territory has a DVSA coalition that works with local domestic violence/sexual assault programs. Local programs in Wyoming do not have the capacity to run stand-alone AmeriCorps programs, so it is more cost-effective for a central entity to administer one large project. Therefore, WCADVSA administers WyAC, absorbing the administrative duties, assisting with the match requirements and providing on-going technical assistance to program sites. Strong record of compliance The WCADVSA’s strength is due in part to its commitment to the success of WyAC, including remaining in compliance with federal regulations. As a result of WCADVSA’s built-in procedures, attention to detail and overall commitment to AmeriCorps and service, WyAC staff are always able to understand how the program is progressing and give accurate reports to stakeholders.
Success Stories During the 2009-10 program year, WyAC placed 22 AmeriCorps Members in 12 domestic violence/sexual assault program sites throughout Wyoming, achieving the following results. • Members have provided domestic violence/sexual assault advocacy services to 1,155 new victims; 861 adult women and men and 474 children. • Members have provided 336 information or assistance services to victims seeking domestic violence or stalking protection orders. • Members have co-facilitated 80 peer education support groups with 322 adults and children attending the sessions. Groups included battered victims, sexual assault survivors, children who have experienced violence in their homes, and mothers struggling with issues related to the sexual assault of their children. • Members have delivered 96 presentations to over 1,496 children and adults. Members have presented to school classes and assemblies When I see my AmeriCorps Member in and community groups on teen dating violence, sexual assault action in Crook County, it’s a powerful awareness, the effects of violence in the home on children, bullying, demonstration of how volunteerism is sexting and personal safety. changing the county’s landscape for the • Members have engaged 131 volunteers who have provided 2,739 better.” hours of critical community service. Well-trained volunteers have - Wyoming Advocate Corps Program covered crisis-line shifts, visited hospitals and police stations to Director support victims, accompanied victims to court, donated emergency resources, provided childcare, maintained and cleaned shelters and offices, and slept in un-staffed safe houses because victims were too scared to stay alone. • Members have collaborated with 385 diverse faith-based and community organizations, agencies and groups to address barriers to effective delivery of victim services. The WyAC program design mandates layers of quality training and support of its AmeriCorps Members. Recruitment strategies promote enrollment of Members who have a heart for the work and are an excellent fit for the local sites. Individualized member training, mentoring and job-shadowing by site staff produces Members who quickly develop the comprehensive skills of effective advocates. Furthermore, Members have built a solid, statewide network of support and information among themselves. Finally, the WyAC program design allows for clear separation of roles and responsibilities between WCADVSA staff and local site personnel. Attention to detail and commitment to program regulations at all levels has substantially contributed to the project’s success.
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Focus Area: MultiFocus, Other
There are many innovative programs that have adapted to community needs in ways that don’t fit neatly into one of the previous categories. Some programs are meeting multiple needs such as education and health (such as the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York, pictured above) or health and public safety. While others are addressing unique needs in their communities such as at-risk youth and disaster preparedness. This section highlights those dynamic programs.
ALABAMA Employer’s Child Care Alliance AmeriCorps Program Description Focus: Education, Disaster Preparedness Issue Area: At-Risk Youth Innovative Elements • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships • Cross-program connections U
Contact Information Alabama Governor's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives www.ServeAlabama.gov Sydney Hoffman, Executive Director email@example.com (334) 954-7444 U
Employer’s Child Care Alliance AmeriCorps www.ccrc-alabama.org /AmeriCorpshtml.html Kim McManus, Program Director firstname.lastname@example.org (334) 749-8400
The Employer’s Child Care Alliance AmeriCorps program (ECCA) engages AmeriCorps Members in tutoring and mentoring students in after-school and summer programs, assisting with disaster preparedness and volunteer recruitment. Members serve in Eastern Alabama in Auburn City Schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, American Red Cross SAFE in Sylacauga and BRIDGES. In after-school and summer programs, Members work with at-risk young people ages 5-17 to provide tutoring and activities that promote healthy decision making and life skills. Young people benefit from a low-cost, safe place with quality programming and a caring adult, while a diverse group of AmeriCorps Members gain valuable experience and skills to further their education and careers in working with children. Through ECCA, AmeriCorps Members also meet needs in disaster preparedness and response in partnership with the Red Cross. Members become CPR/First Aid and CERT trained and become certified as CPR/First Aid and Disaster Institute instructors. They respond to local disasters, are trained to assist the Armed Forces and, if they choose, can become deployable to assist with disasters. Members assist with volunteer recruitment, events and are involved in all aspects of the Red Cross providing extra support to staff. The Members receive invaluable experience and become lifetime volunteers. All of the Members who have served with the Red Cross have remained Red Cross volunteers after completing their AmeriCorps year(s). ECCA has grown over the last six years to become a vital community asset and looked upon as a critical community resource. It has a broad reach in the community and relies on important partnerships to meet evolving community needs in Alabama.
Program Innovations Delivering meaningful service ECCA AmeriCorps Members work in schools and with the Red Cross to meet critical community needs. As one example, when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, communities in East Alabama were impacted as victims sought shelter from the storm in Lee County. ECCA reached out to the Red Cross, Lee County Chapter, to provide AmeriCorps support with volunteer management and shelter operations. The following year, ECCA again collaborated with Red Cross to provide a full-time AmeriCorps member to assist with year-round disaster preparedness/response and volunteer management. The AmeriCorps Members are filling an important need at Red Cross and each year Red Cross has requested an increase in AmeriCorps support. ECCA’s partnerships continue to expand as needs are addressed and evolve and its programming is diversified to meet the needs in the community. Exceptional partnerships ECCA has a strong partnership with the local schools, local businesses, non-profits, faith-based initiatives and the Red Cross. The summer programs for at-risk young people collaborate with local businesses, non-profits and churches to provide quality programming for healthy lifestyles. For example, one summer program collaborates with a local golf club to provide free golf lessons for the young people. Other programs collaborate with the local parks and recreation 92 | T r a n s f o r m i n g C o m m u n i t i e s t h r o u g h S e r v i c e
department to utilize the swimming and recreation facilities and instructors. All programs build relationships with local businesses to provide local support at low costs. Since ECCA’s inception it has partnered with the local school systems. ECCA strives to fill gaps in programming as requested by the community and schools. When ECCA was formed, one of the main concerns was care and supervision for children during out-of-school time. Through its collaboration with the local schools in Auburn and Sylacauga, ECCA is able to deliver programming at a low cost to parents by utilizing the in-kind space at the local schools while the schools assist ECCA with advertising and recruitment. Each year ECCA works with the school systems to identify any unmet needs and provide AmeriCorps support wherever possible. Cross-program connections ECCA’s collaboration among non-profits, schools, local businesses and faith-based initiatives enables their working together, sharing information and eliminating the duplication of programming and events. Within the after-school and summer programs, parents serve as volunteers. Sylacauga County is a "Community of Promise," a community-wide effort to involve all ages in service. As such, regular meetings are held to address needs and issues. Sylacauga BRIDGES Members recruit retired volunteers from RSVP in Talladega. Finally, volunteers are recruited from local high school and college volunteer programs. ECCA’s work is significantly enhanced by its collaboration with other volunteer programs.
Success Stories ECCA has a high recruitment and retention rate, strong partnerships in the community and has continued to grow as a critical community asset in East Alabama. This success is due, in part, to a consistency in leadership, a great learning environment, supportive community partners and recruitment of quality AmeriCorps Members who are committed and take pride in their service. ECCA believes dedicated AmeriCorps Members are the best promoters for AmeriCorps and the programs they serve. As such, each year it focuses important resources on recruitment. ECCA evaluates its recruitment plan each year, recruits at local job fairs and colleges, holds information sessions, and advertises in local and college newspapers. ECCA includes interview panels at information sessions to make sure selected Members are placed where they best fit. After the initial interview, applicants are required to volunteer at the service site where they are interviewing to serve. This gives the staff an idea of how the applicant works within the programs and the applicant's desire to volunteer. Additionally, applicants are able to meet the other staff and current AmeriCorps Members to ask questions. All of these efforts ensure that ECCA AmeriCorps Members have a clear understanding of expectations and commitment requirements when joining the program. Since Members serve at different locations, ECCA holds monthly member meetings to bring everyone together. Through these efforts, ECCA ensures that the AmeriCorps Members, who are providing critical services to the community, are dedicated to the success of the program and the program is dedicated to the success of the AmeriCorps Members.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA Latin American Youth Center Program Description Focus: Education, Health Issue Area: Immigrant Services Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members and community • A real spirit of service • Potential for replication U
Contact Information Serve DC — The Mayor’s Office on Volunteerism www.serve.dc.gov Tracy Sandler, Executive Director email@example.com (202) 727-9579 U
Latin American Youth Center www.laycdc.org/index.php/progra ms/education/americorps.html Karen Brumbaugh, Team Leader/ AmeriCorps Program Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org (202) 319-2261
The Latin American Youth Center’s (LAYC) mission is to empower young people and their families to live, work and study with dignity, hope and joy. To achieve this mission, LAYC offers a variety of services to immigrant Latino families in Washington, DC. For seven years, LAYC has engaged full-time and part-time AmeriCorps Members in providing academic support to students who are performing below grade level in elementary and middle school. AmeriCorps Members facilitate homework assistance sessions, tutoring, mentoring, and recreation activities during an after-school program. Members also provide in-school health education to students in grades 5-8 focusing on physical fitness, nutrition and life skills. Additionally, Members assist students in planning service projects throughout the academic year and educate them on the value of community involvement, volunteerism and leadership. The LAYC AmeriCorps program recently started an initiative to increase parental involvement in their children’s education. Members host events to help foster relationships between Center staff, youth and parents. Some recent events include parent orientations, family field trips and parent focus groups.
Lasting impact on Members and community LAYC recruits AmeriCorps Members from within the community that the program serves and from other programs and outreach groups that LAYC supports. LAYC has had many youth serve as AmeriCorps Members after having LAYC’s AmeriCorps Members serve in their classrooms and neighborhoods. Of the 28 AmeriCorps Members serving in the current program year, 75% are from or have grown up in the neighborhoods surrounding LAYC. Service at the organization has a large impact on AmeriCorps Members as evidenced by the large number who return for a second term of service each year. Of those eligible to be second term Members, 69% have returned in the 2009-10 program year. Additionally, the impact that LAYC AmeriCorps Members have on the community has doubled in recent years and continues to grow with every new class. In the 2008-09 program year, the LAYC AmeriCorps program provided 3,298 hours of math tutoring and assistance and 3,850 hours of language arts tutoring and assistance to 227 participants. For the 2009-10 program year to date, the LAYC AmeriCorps program has provided 5,818 hours of math tutoring and assistance and 6,079 hours of language arts tutoring and assistance to 213 participants. The participants in LAYC’s AmeriCorps programming last year increased their math grades by an average of 0.48 points on a 4.0 grading scale while non-participants only increased their grades by 0.18 points. Participants increased their reading and language arts grades by 0.42points while non-participants increased their grades by on 0.18 points. A real spirit of service LAYC is very conscious of connecting its Members to the national service movement because it specifically recruits young people who may not have had any prior exposure to that experience. LAYC aims to help its Members realize that they are part of something bigger, while keeping their focus on the local community. It does this by empowering them with trainings and civic engagement reflections once a month in order to really examine what their service means and 94 | T r a n s f o r m i n g C o m m u n i t i e s t h r o u g h S e r v i c e
what impact they are truly having on their community. The trainings and reflections are offered in a variety of formats including journaling, watching movies and documentaries, presenting poems or other readings for discussion, and other reflection-based, team-building activities. Additionally, LAYC inculcates a sense of being involved in a “movement” to connect its Members to other AmeriCorps programs in the region. LAYC Members are usually active on the DC AmeriCorps Leadership Council, organized and run by Serve DC – The Mayor’s Office on Volunteerism. There, they plan projects and events with Members from other AmeriCorps programs. Members also participate in several statewide, commission-operated events throughout the year, including the annual Serve DC Life After AmeriCorps Conference and annual AmeriCorps Week activities. Potential for replication LAYC expanded its operations to three locations in Maryland with one AmeriCorps program operating out of one of the locations. The Maryland program currently has the capacity to hold part-time AmeriCorps Members, but LAYC is confident it can expand to its full program in the coming years. The program is replicable because it reinvests the local community into the programming and operations of the organization. The community is able to see an immediate impact of the program as they participate as service recipients.
Success Stories In the 2008-09 program year, LAYC’s AmeriCorps program met and exceeded its target number of students served during the school day and helped 42% of those students increase their proficiency by one full letter grade in either math or reading. LAYC’s AmeriCorps program also met and exceeded its target number of students served during after-school time and maintained a 75% attendance rate with an 83% homework completion rate for those students. LAYC AmeriCorps Members completed over 350 hours of training, civic reflection and team building, which led to stronger and more engaged AmeriCorps Members. LAYC is successful in part because it has developed a strong relationship with the school principals it works with and provides each new teacher or partner with a well-developed packet that explains the AmeriCorps Member’s role in the school and expectations of the school’s relationship with LAYC. LAYC’s AmeriCorps program has also created a strong connection to LAYC’s Learning and Evaluation Department, which utilizes a well-developed Efforts-to-Outcomes software to collect and analyze all program data. This data helps to improve the program’s impact.
ILLINOIS Peace Corps Fellows Program in Community Development Program Description Focus: Multi-Focus Issue Area: Community Development Innovative Elements • Delivering meaningful service • Outstanding resource generation • Exceptional partnerships U
Contact Information Serve Illinois Commission www.Serve.Illinois.gov Ted Gibbs, Executive Director Ted.Gibbs@illinois.gov (312) 814-3303 U
Peace Corps Fellows Program in Community Development www.peacecorpsfellowswiu.org/index.html Karen Mauldin-Curtis, Program Manager email@example.com (309) 298-2706
The two-fold mission of the Peace Corps Fellows Program in Community Development is to train the next generation of community development specialists and to assist small towns with the implementation of community projects. The program began in 1994 with a three-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and has been an AmeriCorps*State program since 2003. The program recruits returned Peace Corps volunteers into a two-year graduate fellowship program at Western Illinois University. During the first year in the program, Fellows receive specialized training in community and economic development in order to prepare them for their full-time, 11-month, community-based internship the second year of the program. The program provides Fellows an opportunity to earn a master’s degree while gaining practical experience leading community development projects in rural Illinois communities. Serving as AmeriCorps Members, Fellows assist small towns with the implementation of community projects, such as: downtown revitalization, business retention and expansion, entrepreneurship development, tourism development, health education and outreach, volunteer management, and organizational capacity building. Individual towns, groups of towns, or local, county or regional agencies host Fellows through the program. Since its inception, the program has placed interns in more than 90 rural Illinois communities and has received several awards for it excellence in service.
Program Innovations Delivering meaningful service The Peace Corps Fellows program focuses on providing dedicated leadership and on-site technical assistance to small, rural communities across Illinois through its Members. The program accomplishes this by providing specialized training to Members; through Member recruitment and management of local volunteers in service to their communities; and through Members building the capacity of local organizations and individuals. In one example, a Member helped his community establish a non-profit 501(c)(3) development corporation, while another Member developed a strong social infrastructure and volunteer framework to help address community needs. Outstanding resource generation Peace Corps Fellows provide direct service to their host site communities in meeting critical needs. Members have been successful in generating resources to carry out initiatives and meet needs in the communities. For example, one Member coordinated a “shop local” campaign that pledged to raise $1 million in sales revenues for the community. Another helped secure $40,000 to fund a full-time economic development professional for the community so that the projects being carried out by the Member could be sustained long term. In another example, a Member secured a $5,000 grant to purchase Geographic Information Service (GIS) equipment and training to support his project.
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Exceptional partnerships The Peace Corps Fellows Program in Community Development partners with the School of Graduate Studies at Western Illinois University where Fellows are enrolled in masterâ€™s programs during their service. This enables Fellows to receive full tuition waivers while they complete their degree and serve communities in Illinois. In addition, Western Illinois University and the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs provide Fellows and host sites with guidance, on-site visits and technical support.
Success Stories The Peace Corps Fellows Program in Community Development enables returned Peace Corps volunteers to continue their service in highly-needed community development projects in Illinois. The program is successful because of its direct connection to community needs. Host sites that apply for Fellows must identify and prioritize the goals/projects for the Fellow and demonstrate how the proposed scope of the work fits into the larger goals of the organization and community at large. Host sites also put together a liaison committee of community leaders to support the Fellow during the service year and demonstrate buy-in from local stakeholders. This enables Fellows to leave behind sustainable progress and meet critical needs in the communities they serve.
MARYLAND Civic Works Service Corps Program Description Focus: Multi-Focus Issue Area: Young Adult Skills Development Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members and community • Exceptional partnerships • Outstanding volunteer and resource generation U
Contact Information Maryland Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism www.gosv.state.md.us Barbara Ellen Reynolds, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org (410) 767-4803 U
Civic Works Service Corps www.civicworks.com Dion Wright, Corpsmember Development/Youth Build Director email@example.com (410) 366-8533
The Civic Works Service Corps is an urban service corps. Civic Works strives to build a future for Baltimore’s young people through community service and skills development. Since 1993, it has trained and assisted more than 2,500 Baltimore area participants in performing community service projects, developing job readiness and life skills and finding employment. The program demonstrates a long-standing commitment to national service through its ability to offer young adults opportunities to address unmet human needs in the City of Baltimore using new approaches while increasing community, corporate, city and state partnerships. Civic Works Service Corps provides service opportunities for Baltimore area residents, involving them in efforts to revitalize communities and improve educational outcomes for students. AmeriCorps Members serve on various teams rehabilitating or repairing homes, transforming vacant lots into community gardens, helping community members conserve energy, and mentoring students with a partner organization. Since 1993, over 1,300 Members have gained job skills and educational experiences while serving Baltimore City residents.
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members and community Civic Works Service Corps adapts to the changing needs of Baltimore’s communities to ensure the program has a lasting impact on Members and Baltimore area communities. For example, Project Light Bulb, Civic Works’ home energy conservation team, was created when Baltimore’s low-income communities began requesting assistance in making their homes more affordable. Now, a population that is often overlooked understands how to make their homes more energy efficient and Members, who are often recruited from Project Light Bulb communities, are making a difference close to home.
Exceptional partnerships Although Civic Works has a variety of long-term partners that include state, federal and local agencies, businesses, community organizations, faith-based organizations, and other AmeriCorps programs, the organization has begun developing unique partnerships with local school systems. Civic Works developed an ongoing partnership with the Baltimore County School System to assist it in implementing the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) program, placing Members in every public high school and several middle schools. Civic Works also partnered with the Baltimore City Public School System to create “REACH! Partnership,” a middle school or high school that utilizes AmeriCorps Members in its education model. Members serve as advocates for students during the school day and form relationships with their families. During their senior year, students have the option of serving as minimum-time Members. Outstanding volunteer and resource generation Approximately 1,300 volunteers are recruited each year to assist Members in completing service projects. Civic Works generates over $700,000 in matching funds for Service Corps each year and raises over $3 million in funding for additional programs. Civic Works has extensive ties with community groups, workforce development agencies and colleges, allowing the program to recruit a wide variety of Members. In a typical year, AmeriCorps Members can range in age from 98 | T r a n s f o r m i n g C o m m u n i t i e s t h r o u g h S e r v i c e
17 to 63 with varying educational backgrounds; from high school drop-outs to graduate students. Last year, 99% of AVID graduating seniors who Service Corps Members tutored were accepted into college and amassed a total of $2,692,039 in scholarship awards.
Success Stories Civic Works Service Corps is successful in meeting partner needs and having a lasting impact on Members and communities. Since 2006, 100% of Service Corps partner organizations have agreed that the presence of AmeriCorps Members improved their ability to meet their missions. Approximately 91% of Service Corps Members believe their year of service provided them with experiences and skills that will be useful in achieving their career and educational goals and that they are likely to continue participating in their communities. Energy usage data from Baltimore Gas & Electric shows each household visited by Project Light Bulb Members saves an average of 53kwh per month. This is in addition to the estimated 59,148 gallons of water saved each day by faucet aerators and low-flow showerheads installed by AmeriCorps Members. Civic Works Service Corps is successful because it has a stable base of programs and service sites that allow the organization to develop a proven model. When the needs of Baltimore area communities shift or a new partnership is created, Civic Works is able to quickly launch new programs. Additionally, Civic Works is able to provide Members with meaningful service opportunities that allow them to experience diverse people and communities while gaining skills they can use in the future.
MARYLAND Volunteer Maryland Program Description Focus: Multi-Focus Issue Area: Community Development Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members • Exceptional partnerships • Cross-program connections U
Contact Information Maryland Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism www.gosv.state.md.us Barbara Ellen Reynolds, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org (410) 767-4803
Volunteer Maryland (VM) is recognized as a leader in the state for its ability to mobilize and manage volunteers to help non-profits meet needs in their local communities. VM’s mission is to build stronger, healthier communities by developing volunteer programs that meet critical needs in the areas of education, human needs, public safety, homeland security and the environment. VM’s goals are three-fold: improve the lives of Maryland citizens and the natural environment; build and sustain the capacity of secular and faith-based nonprofits to mobilize community volunteers; and develop the leadership skills and ethic of service of Maryland citizens.
Volunteer Maryland www.volunteermaryland.org Maureen K. Eccleston, Director email@example.com (410) 767-6251
Maryland nonprofit organizations have formed throughout the state to meet various community needs and regularly report that they need help recruiting and managing volunteers and lack the resources to do so. VM helps to meet these needs by placing AmeriCorps Members in nonprofits to serve as volunteer coordinators, creating, expanding and improving volunteer programs. VM serves all regions of the state and addresses a broad range of community needs. VM is the only Maryland program that provides this service to nonprofits and local communities. Each year, VM partners with 30 organizations that can benefit from mobilizing volunteers and VM AmeriCorps Members mobilize over 5,220 community volunteers. In turn, these volunteers provide over 83,500 hours of service to nearly 4,000 community members.
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members VM provides a powerful training ground for civic and community leaders. VM AmeriCorps Members are exposed to the diverse network of national and community service, and many choose careers in the field. According to VM’s external evaluator, there has been a statistically significant increase in service knowledge and skills (knowledge of national service, volunteer program development, teambuilding/communication and leadership) in 86% of its Members. These skills and knowledge are also utilized by alumni long after the term of service. In 2009, 95% of alumni said they continued to use skills developed at VM, including professional networking, conflict resolution and public speaking. Cultivating active citizens and an ethic of service are deliberate and impactful components of the VM year. Since 2007, 88% of VM alumni reported that they continued to be active citizens and involved in community service after they completed the VM year. Members also often return to serve in leadership positions and then move on to employment opportunities within the nonprofit sector. Exceptional partnerships VM collaborates with Maryland associations and membership organizations to recruit the greatest number and diversity of site partners. VM has established a strong collaboration with the Maryland Volunteer Center Association (MVCA). MVCA represents the 15 volunteer centers that operate throughout Maryland to mobilize volunteers and connect individuals and nonprofit organizations in service. Through web sites, newsletters and social networks, the volunteer centers promote VM information sessions and share recruitment information.
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Cross-program connections In 2007, VM became an AmeriCorps*VISTA Project Sponsor. VM VISTA Members serve in one of three assignment areas: resource development, marketing and technology, and evaluation. In 2008, VM hosted a one-day conference for AmeriCorps and VISTA members and has since held multiple training and networking opportunities for Members of both programs. VM AmeriCorps Members and staff also collaborated with other national service programs. For instance, two VM Members joined the VM VISTA Leader and members from Community Mediation Maryland, Maryland Conservation Corps and other AmeriCorps programs at the Maryland Food Bank sorting food for the hungry; and five VM Members and three VM staff joined VISTA members, AmeriCorps*NCCC Members, Teach for America members, and community members for the rebuilding of a Baltimore playground destroyed by arson.
Success Stories Since 1992, 521 VM AmeriCorps Members have designed effective and sustainable volunteer management systems at 445 rural, urban, school- and faith-based, secular and other community-based agencies. Together, they mobilized more than 83,400 community volunteers and 52,000 service-learning students. Volunteers have served nearly 1.4 million hours valued at more than $21 million. In addition to these outputs, VM is dedicated to creating sustainable volunteer programs that continue to meet community needs long after the AmeriCorps service year. Over the last three years, 91% of former partners reported that they sustained or improved their organizationâ€™s ability to recruit and manage volunteers for three years after program completion. VM is successful in meeting or exceeding its outcomes in part because it prepares AmeriCorps Members for service with an intensive 100-hour training program. The comprehensive training program combines experiential activities and classroom instruction; it is fast-paced and quickly equips Members with the necessary skills, knowledge and attitudes to serve successfully as volunteer coordinators. The training allows Members to develop a connection to national service and volunteerism; learn and demonstrate best practices for volunteer program development; practice effective teambuilding and communication; and acquire and demonstrate strong leadership skills.
MASSACHUSETTS Massachusetts Legal Assistance for Self-Sufficiency Program Program Description Focus: Legal Services Issue Area: Legal Assistance to Low-Income Populations Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships U
Contact Information Massachusetts Service Alliance www.mass-service.org Emily Haber, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org (617) 542-2544 U
Massachusetts Legal Assistance for SelfSufficiency Program Kathy Marx, Program Director email@example.com (508) 676-5022 x2019
Massachusetts Legal Assistance for Self-Sufficiency Program (MLASSP) AmeriCorps Members serve at legal services organizations that provide assistance to low-income people in civil (non-criminal) matters. Members serve in high-need areas throughout Massachusetts. The program provides critical services to a low-income population while building the skills of individuals who have an interest in poverty law. Members participate in a wide range of legal assistance activities beginning with initial client contact and eligibility determinations, to case development, negotiation, hearing and appeal. Priority areas include: domestic violence, homelessness, immigration status, debt and finance, education, Social Security and health insurance. Members also conduct legal education and outreach activities, as well as develop volunteer resources for their legal services organization. AmeriCorps Members, with the assistance of the volunteers they recruit, have organized a number of special programs across the state through partner legal services organizations (LSOs). These programs provide crucial services to the population served by the LSOs. The additional volunteers that Members recruit donate an average of 2,000 hours a year. They lead programs that educate the community on income tax, earned income credit and immigrant rights. They also donate their time by serving clients in housing court cases, at a domestic abuse hotline and through hospital legal trainings.
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members Participation in MLASSP creates a lasting impact on AmeriCorps Members. Serving in the legal field, Members see the struggles that many families are facing each and every day. Members better understand the importance of advocating for those who are not able to do it for themselves. Through the Members’ monthly journal reflections, it is easy to see that their year of service will have lifelong impact. Over the course of the year, the reflections change from initial observations about their service to discussions about future goals and interests that arise as a result of their experiences. What the reflections truly demonstrate is a change from the idea of working in poverty law to the development of a lifelong ethic of service. Delivering meaningful service Since the program began in 2005, Members have provided service in over 13,000 cases on behalf of low-income families in Massachusetts. These numbers far exceed the anticipated goals and targets of the program. LSOs around the state are understaffed and unable to support the number of clients in need of services. AmeriCorps Members have been an enormous resource over the past few years by allowing these LSOs to serve more clients. The 13,000 cases over the past four years have kept families in their homes and assisted them in gaining health care and other benefits. The service and assistance provided by the AmeriCorps Members directly affect the quality of life of many of the clients. Exceptional partnerships In 2005, South Coastal Counties Legal Services, Inc. (SCCLS) brought together a statewide consortium of legal services organizations to recruit AmeriCorps Members into their programs with the goal of increasing and improving services to their low-income clients. Through this partnership the MLASSP program was developed. It is a unique approach to 102 | T r a n s f o r m i n g C o m m u n i t i e s t h r o u g h S e r v i c e
responding to the deficit in resources of legal services organizations to meet the overwhelming need in their communities. In addition to the partnership with LSOs, the MLASSP program also fostered a relationship with the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, which provides LSOs with support to host an AmeriCorps Member.
Success Stories Each year, Members have provided services for over 3,000 cases, the majority of which move beyond initial screening. In response to the end-of-year survey, 100% of site partners indicated they were satisfied with the Memberâ€™s service. In addition, 75% of clients in extended services reported satisfactory assistance and increased family stability. MLASSP has also fully enrolled and had nearly 100% retention, with only one member who left service early in the past three years. The volunteer generation that Members engage in across the state results in thousands of hours of service, which provides additional resources and services that benefit the low-income population. The MLASSP program has been successful because the community need was identified by the LSOs that are working in the field every day. The legal services community realized they could not assist all the potential clients who were coming through their doors. The consortium of LSOs developed a program that would help them to address the need. They recognized that well-trained, motivated individuals could help them to fill that gap in capacity by serving as legal advocates. AmeriCorps Members allowed the MLASSP program to not only answer a community need, but also provide skills and experience to individuals interested in poverty law.
MASSACHUSETTS Youth Star Program Description Focus: Health, Public Safety Issue Area: At-Risk Young Adults Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members and community • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships U
Contact Information Massachusetts Service Alliance www.mass-service.org Emily Haber, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org (617) 542-2544 U
Youth Star www.rocainc.org Anisha Chablani, Deputy Director Anisha@rocainc.org (617) 889-5210 x257
Youth Star recruits and supports at-risk men and women between the ages of 16 and 24, some of whom are young parents, to be AmeriCorps Members who build community capacity by promoting anti-violence efforts and health education. Members serve as youth leaders in their community, gaining valuable member development experience as they educate peers in public safety and health promotion and lead “alternatives to violence” activities including dance, art and carpentry, among others. Members also recruit and support individuals from the surrounding urban communities to participate in both one-time and on-going volunteer opportunities, including an annual World AIDS Day event and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. Youth Star is a youth corps program serving the needs of both its Members and its community. Access to quality weekend and after-school programming for youth in the economically depressed communities of Chelsea, Revere and East Boston is extremely limited. Members recruit and support these youth in programming that allows them to not only stay off the streets, but to participate in creative arts, vocational or life skills classes that they would not normally have access to. The Member development aspect of the program has also been incredibly successful, as Members gain leadership skills, educational skills including GED attainment, and life skills they most likely would not otherwise receive.
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members and community The service that Youth Star Members perform creates a lasting impact on the communities of Chelsea, Revere and East Boston, as well as on the Members themselves. Its programming utilizes the High-Risk Youth Intervention Model, which is based on cognitive-behavioral intervention to enable young people to move toward economic independence and living out of harm’s way. Providing programming to urban youth under this model helps strengthen the surrounding communities tremendously, as these youth grow up to become responsible citizens and leaders of change within those communities. In addition, many former participants of this programming go on to join Youth Star as AmeriCorps Members, and many Youth Star Members go on to attain staff positions within the implementing agency, Roca. Delivering meaningful service Youth Star Members have recruited and led local urban youth in “alternatives to violence” activities for 17 years, helping hundreds of youth who are in gangs, on the streets, and in and out of prison; have dropped out of school; are young parents; and/or are immigrants living with memories of unspeakable violence. The Youth Star program was recently supplemented with a Young Moms Corps launched in July 2009 and funded with an American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) AmeriCorps grant. The Young Moms Corps consists of young mothers who serve the vast health care needs of the community by providing information on health care access and health benefits programs, as well as facilitating enrollment in health insurance and health benefits programs. Members also build important job skills and leadership training, and recruit, train and support additional volunteers from the community for health care activities and special service projects. The Young Moms Corps will be folded into the Youth Star program upon completion of the ARRA funding, so the great service begun by this pilot program can be continued for years to come. 104 | T r a n s f o r m i n g C o m m u n i t i e s t h r o u g h S e r v i c e
Exceptional Partnerships Youth Star has numerous primary community partners including local and state government officials, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) through an on-site community health clinic and assistance with Members’ health outreach efforts, the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services, the Chelsea, Revere and Boston Police Departments, Chelsea Public Schools, the Chelsea/Revere and East Boston District Courts, the Suffolk County DA’s Office and several local community colleges. In addition, entities such as the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Chelsea and Medford Housing Authorities, and the Cities of Boston, Chelsea and Revere often hire work crews from Roca’s vocational programming for youth. These partnerships are important to the success of Youth Star and its ability to respond to changing and critical needs in the community.
Success Stories Youth Star developed strong evaluation efforts over the past 17 years as an AmeriCorps program. Specifically, Youth Star and Roca developed an Efforts to Outcomes (ETO) database to document their programs’ effectiveness, track staff development and measure all Youth Star outcomes. Utilizing ETO, Youth Star has been able to more easily report on their performance measure objectives. For the 2008-09 program year, over 250 young people were recruited to participate in programming and showed measurable reductions in risky behavior as well as increases in pro-social behaviors. Over 100 community volunteers were recruited to serve a total of 986 volunteer hours. Additionally, all 17 at-risk Members in the 2008-09 program year successfully completed their service year and afterward either obtained employment, entered college or joined Youth Star again for a second term of service. Youth Star’s success comes from its ability to fill a unique niche of service in the portfolio of programs in Massachusetts, utilizing at-risk young adults, young parents and former Roca participants as AmeriCorps Members to successfully coordinate health and anti-violence activities for young people from their own low-income urban communities. The Members act as role models for young people and joining Youth Star has become a driving goal for these young people. In addition, Roca staff is fully committed to the program, and provide incredible support to Youth Star Members in all aspects of their service and, ultimately, their lives.
Montana Young Adult Service Corps Program Description Focus: Education, Human Need Issue Area: Youth Leadership Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members, community or state • Exceptional partnerships • A real spirit of service • Potential for replication U
Contact Information Montana Commission on Community Service www.serve.mt.gov Jan Lombardi, Executive Director email@example.com (406) 444-2573
The Jobs for Montana’s Graduates Foundation’s Young Adult Service Corps (YASC) aims to improve the state’s high school dropout rate and labor pool by engaging young adults across Montana in service to their schools and communities. The program annually engages 100 young adults ages 17-24 in 300 hours of service. Through the help of schools and community-based organizations that serve as host partners, YASC AmeriCorps Members provide much-needed services to numerous Montana communities. YASC Members do not receive a stipend but are eligible for an AmeriCorps education award upon successful completion of their service terms.
Young Adult Service Corps www.jmgf-mt.org Connie Roope, Program Director firstname.lastname@example.org (406) 443-2413
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members Through their AmeriCorps experiences, YASC participants develop a strong ethic of service, knowledge of community issues and a lifelong commitment to community engagement. AmeriCorps Members experience gains in communication skills, time management, academic work and leadership. Furthermore, the program offers Members meaningful, rewarding service experiences that have substantial community impact. Exceptional partnerships YASC collaborates with schools and community-based organizations located across Montana. Partnering organizations include Same Difference Inclusion Theater Company, Family Outreach, Anaconda Job Corps, Neighborworks Affordable Housing and Bozeman Youth Initiative. These partnerships greatly enhance YASC’s ability to deliver meaningful service.
Potential for replication YASC is replicable in other states as a regional or statewide initiative. The essential elements include a network of schools and community-based organizations that value young adults and their contributions and are willing to engage them in meaningful service. Additionally, the site supervisors serve as an essential key to the AmeriCorps Members’ success and program outcomes. Real spirit of service YASC delivers a strong ethic of service by demonstrating to young adults that their contributions are valued and that they can have a voice through volunteering. The YASC spirit of service is present and delivered at orientation and Life after Service trainings. YASC conveys to participants they are the future and it is possible to have a positive experience volunteering. Part of the end-of-service YASC AmeriCorps paperwork includes asking the Members to rate their affiliation with the greater AmeriCorps movement. These evaluations consistently show a strong affiliation to the greater movement, primarily due to the local volunteer service benefiting the community and making a real impact in addressing an actual community need. A YASC alumnus commented, “I feel like my
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“I feel like my service strongly connects to the greater AmeriCorps movement because we dedicated numerous service hours to better our community and nation. This is a great opportunity for America’s youth to get involved and it is a rewarding experience through the skills and lessons learned.” - A YASC Alumnus
service strongly connects to the greater AmeriCorps movement because we dedicated numerous service hours to better our community and nation. This is a great opportunity for Americaâ€™s youth to get involved and it is a rewarding experience through the skills and lessons learned.â€?
Success Stories In Montana, high school dropout rates are on the rise with over five% of enrolled students dropping out during the 200708 school year. The YASC model is cost-effective and enables a large number of young people to be engaged with AmeriCorps. Completing the AmeriCorps term gives young people a sense of accomplishment and gets them involved in service at a young age. In addition, the education award gives them money to use for college, which previously may have seemed unattainable.
Nebraska LFS AmeriCorps Program Description Focus: Education, Human Need Issue Area: Immigration Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members, community or state • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships • Potential for replication U
Contact Information ServeNebraska www.serve.nebraska.gov Greg Donovan, Program Officer email@example.com (402) 471-6249 U
LFS (Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska) AmeriCorps seeks to empower individuals who are disadvantaged, underserved and seemingly have no voice in Nebraska - refugees and immigrants, minority youth in poverty and disadvantaged adults. Nebraska has the seventh-fastest growing immigrant population in the country. Additionally, the 2005 US Census revealed that although Nebraska experienced an overall decline of more than 4,200 residents from 2000-05; there was a simultaneous increase of nearly 28,000 foreign-born residents. These statistics represent a significant shift in the population demographics of Nebraska, which have impacted all sectors of the state. LFS AmeriCorps uses community assetbuilding techniques to identify and meet the service needs of these individuals and develops and nurtures the required resources to support them. During the 2009-10 program year, LFS AmeriCorps’ 36 Members provide refugee resettlement, immigration legal services, employment readiness training, and other necessary services at 13 sites in rural and metropolitan areas across Nebraska.
LFS AmeriCorps believes that identifying the existing human resources within a community and developing those resources to benefit the community as a whole is asset-building at its core. LFS AmeriCorps therefore pursues Members who represent the low-income New American populations it serves in Nebraska. The program’s current AmeriCorps Members range in age from 18 to 45 years old, represent seven countries and speak 10 languages. These non-traditional Members can, at times, be difficult to retain because of language and cultural barriers, family obligations, lack of formal education and/or workforce experience. However, LFS recognizes their deep understanding of those needing services, their connection to community and their potential to develop personally. LFS AmeriCorps www.lfsneb.org Mikki Chullino, Program Director firstname.lastname@example.org (402) 436-6100 x3502
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members Over the past 10 years, LFS AmeriCorps has provided life-changing service experiences to over 200 AmeriCorps Members. Many LFS AmeriCorps Members have found their calling through service, and 22 have become employees at LFS or host sites after completing AmeriCorps service. Delivering meaningful service The impact of LFS AmeriCorps Members in mobilizing involvement and addressing community needs can be seen in the 2008-09 program year data. Members recruited 669 volunteers who provided over 7,174 hours of service to Nebraska communities. Members enrolled 100 individuals in the Refugee Employment and Education Program and secured employment for 75 of those individuals within 180 days of program enrollment. Additionally, Members ensured that 779 individuals received immigration legal consultations, which resulted in 579 individuals applying for US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) benefits and an additional 146 individuals applying for USCIS benefits for victims of domestic violence. Members also provided free tax preparation service to 375 low-income individuals in Omaha. Exceptional partnerships LFS AmeriCorps’ focus on asset-based community development is also seen in the program’s selection of host site partners. LFS AmeriCorps intentionally selects a mixture of strong, mature sites and new organizations meeting pressing needs that require greater support. Placement of a member at a less mature site allows LFS to identify and develop 108 | T r a n s f o r m i n g C o m m u n i t i e s t h r o u g h S e r v i c e
community partnerships and resources. Member placement also allows the host site to build sustainability through volunteer recruitment efforts and direct-service provision. While these grassroots organizations are essential to properly fill the gaps within the communities being served, it is recognized that member retention at these sites may be lower than required due to the host siteâ€™s lack of sophistication. LFS AmeriCorps offers substantial training to host sites in areas of member supervision, resource and capacity development and program objective identification. The program has replicated an immigration legal service host site model to form a statewide network of Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) accredited specialists and partnered with two legal service providers to create an immigration model now used in six immigration service sites across Nebraska. In 2010, the original partner in that model reached a level of sustainability that allowed it to move from AmeriCorps Members to increased staff positions. Over the past 10 years, LFS AmeriCorps has partnered with 25 host sites, and 18 of those sites have requested Members for multiple years of service. LFS considers this long-term level of partnership an asset to the AmeriCorps program.
Success Stories LFS AmeriCorps is a guiding force for community development. It develops Members and host sites alike by using the asset-based community development philosophy. The programâ€™s philosophy is to use asset-mapping techniques to identify assets within the community that can be developed to provide a greater good. These assets may be individuals within the community who would benefit from participation in AmeriCorps service, or the assets may be small community organizations that could greatly benefit from operating as an AmeriCorps host site. This holistic approach meeting immediate needs through the intervention of AmeriCorps Members as a means of strengthening communities - makes LFS AmeriCorps a true innovator.
NEW YORK Harlem Children’s Zone Program Description Focus: Education, Community Revitalization Issue Area: Youth Development Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members, community or state • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships • Potential for replication U
Contact Information New York State Commission on National & Community Service www.newyorkersvolunteer.ny.gov Mark Walter, Executive Director mark.walter@newyorkersvolunteer. ny.gov (518) 473-8882 U
Harlem Children’s Zone www.hcz.org Jazmine Lewis & Erica Terrell, Program Directors email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org (212) 234-6200
AmeriCorps Members serving in the Harlem Children’s Zone’s (HCZ) Peacemaker Program play a critical role in a comprehensive, communitybuilding initiative called the Harlem Children’s Zone Project. The Project is a neighborhood-based network of services that creates positive opportunities and outcomes for more than 8,000 children and 6,000 adults who live in a 97-block area of Central Harlem. HCZ provides a seamless system of comprehensive supports to guide a child from birth to college graduation, implementing best practices at every developmental stage. The 99 full-time and 16 part-time HCZ AmeriCorps Members work sideby-side with parents, teachers, principals and community residents to build a community in Harlem that is a safe and healthy place to raise children. AmeriCorps Members provide in-class and afterschool literacy-based and conflict resolution training for children in Harlem elementary schools; tutor, mentor and instruct in computer skills; improve awareness of health and nutrition; and counsel and support children and families. Specific HCZ programs AmeriCorps Members support include: • Harlem Gems – a high-quality, year-round, extended-day early childhood education program for children ages three and four, which focuses on working with parents to ensure all children are ready for school. • The HCZ Asthma Initiative – a collaboration between HCZ, Harlem Hospital Pediatrics and the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University to identify, educate and provide effective treatments for every child in the HCZ Project area who has asthma. • The Renaissance University for Community Education (TRUCE) – a yearround, extended-day youth development program where Members tutor, foster media literacy and artistic ability and conduct college preparation activities for youth in grades 9-12.
HCZ encourages AmeriCorps Members to engage in community service activities such as block cleanups, mural paintings and health fairs. Recent community revitalization projects in Harlem have included the painting of public hallways and apartments in city-owned buildings, classrooms, gyms, hallways and other public spaces in schools, the building of playgrounds and the refurbishing of community gardens.
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members and community AmeriCorps Members develop an understanding of civic responsibility and the spirit of community through the following activities: • Working with teachers and parents in under-performing schools to improve reading performance to meet No Child Left Behind standards. • Working with parents, community residents, leaders, clergy, staff and volunteers in the schools, housing, parks, churches and gardens of the HCZ to build a community that promotes positive outcomes for children. • Working at HCZ programs to provide critical supports and services to children and families. • Training that fosters knowledge, skills and attitudes on volunteerism, community service and democracy. 110 | T r a n s f o r m i n g C o m m u n i t i e s t h r o u g h S e r v i c e
The HCZ Peacemaker Program has a lasting impact on the Central Harlem community because it allows community residents to: • Learn about HCZ’s network of services and supports. The HCZ network offers programs to children and families from birth to adulthood. • Become aware of the positive supports and services that HCZ’s AmeriCorps Members are providing in schools and in the community. • Participate in volunteer activities with AmeriCorps Members, community and faith-based organizations and corporate partners throughout the year. Exceptional partnerships Through the HCZ Peacemaker Program, AmeriCorps Members work directly with community residents, parents, churches, hospitals, other community-based organizations and corporations to build a community in Central Harlem that supports the safe and healthy development of children. AmeriCorps Members work in HCZ’s early childhood programs to give parents in Harlem access to the latest information on child development and parenting. In the public schools, HCZ Members work with teachers, principals and parents to make schools safer places for children and to provide children with the supports and services they need to meet or exceed city, state and federal standards in reading. AmeriCorps Members also work with the HCZ Faith-Based Network, a group of 18 churches and mosques; with the HCZ Community Advisory Board (CAB), comprised of 100 community residents; and with corporate volunteers from General Electric, American Express and Morgan Stanley on a variety of neighborhood beautification projects. Potential for replication After continuous requests from organizations wanting to learn about HCZ’s comprehensive community-building strategy, HCZ developed the Practitioners Institute. The goal of the Practitioners Institute is to share HCZ’s bestpractice model with social service and educational organizations, policymakers, funders, and governmental entities, those working in communities similarly struggling with poverty and failing educational systems. To date, HCZ has hosted 130 communities from across the country and abroad. In the fall of 2009, 1,465 people, from 104 different communities, attended HCZ’s sold-out conference, “Changing the Odds: Learning from the Harlem Children’s Zone Model,” offered for those currently implementing or planning to implement a comprehensive, community-based program similar to the HCZ model. The Peacemaker portion of the Practitioners Institute outlines how volunteerism, community service and the active participation of community organizations, residents and corporate volunteers are key components of HCZ’s community-building strategy.
Success Stories In 2009, the HCZ Peacemaker Program served 3,472 children, which included 300 TRUCE participants. Over 90% of the high school seniors participating in TRUCE during the 2008-09 school year went on to college. From 2006-2008, 1,563 volunteers were recruited and provided 4,689 hours of service. Also, 100% of 59 beautification and community building events were completed. HCZ has been a model program to local, state, national and international audiences. The Peacemaker Program consistently exceeds its performance measures, which generates increased community development. AmeriCorps Members have extended the reach of program activities in Central Harlem. Additionally, HCZ has developed effective strategies for recruiting and managing volunteers. For the last decade, HCZ has successfully recruited and trained community volunteers at a level that regularly exceeds its goal. HCZ continues to gain momentum because of its success, which results in increased services and further community resources. The success of HCZ has brought national and international attention to the streets of New York City. Corporate sponsors such as American Express help the program grow, recognizing the incredible return on investment. Plus, foreign and domestic dignitaries including Prince Charles and President Obama have visited or spoken publicly on HCZ’s impact.
NORTH CAROLINA Project HEART/WellnessCorps Program Description Focus: Education, Health Issue Area: Tutoring, Nutrition Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members, community or state • Exceptional partnerships • Potential for replication U
Contact Information North Carolina Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service www.volunteernc.org Kaye Gattis, Executive Director email@example.com (919) 715-3470 U
Project HEART/WellnessCorps www.ecu.edu/cseduc/projectheart/index.cfm Dr. Betty Beacham, Program Director firstname.lastname@example.org (252) 328-1849
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Project HEART’s (High Expectations for At-Risk Teens) mission is to help children succeed in school, graduate from high school, complete a postsecondary degree program, and return to their community to help others. To carry out its mission, Project HEART supports 74 half-time AmeriCorps Members, all university and community college students, who provide tutoring services to at-risk public school students in nine eastern North Carolina counties. AmeriCorps Members tutor students in grades 312 who are struggling to succeed in core content areas such as language arts, English, math, science, or social studies. Additionally, 85 high school seniors serve as minimum-time Professional Corps/Education Award Only AmeriCorps Members tutoring students in grades 9-10 who are struggling to succeed in their English, math, science or social studies classes. Project HEART is housed at East Carolina University (ECU). The program, under the leadership of a very active advisory board, has developed a university/community/government partnership to provide support to children in eastern North Carolina who live in poverty. All participants view the education of children as a critical step in helping break the persistent cycle of generational poverty.
To ensure success in accomplishing its mission, Project HEART has tapped into the expertise and experience of individual partners to develop a comprehensive tutoring program to meet the needs of at-risk students. The program includes the following components: • A tutoring model in which college students tutor at-risk elementary, middle and high school students; A tutoring model in which high school seniors tutor at-risk high school freshmen and sophomores; A tutoring model in which college students tutor at-risk college freshmen and sophomores; and An E-Tutoring/Homework Hotline to provide services at night and on the weekends to isolated, rural communities.
Another major accomplishment for the Project HEART partnership was its successful acquisition of 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding. The ARRA funding resulted in the creation of the ECU WellnessCorps, a program that provides nutrition and physical activity classes for elementary and middle school students who are overweight and are at risk of becoming obese. WellnessCorps supports five full-time, 40 half-time and five minimum-time Professional Corps/Education Award Only AmeriCorps Members who tutor and mentor participating students in two eastern North Carolina counties. Members work with teachers and health professionals to develop nutrition lessons, exercise programs and health fairs. They also collaborate with school nurses and counselors to help identify physical and mental health needs within the schools.
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members and community Project HEART developed the Project HEART AlumniCorps and the Project HEART VolunteerCorps to provide continued service to alumni and local communities. AlumniCorps Members join current Project HEART Members to participate in National Days of Service activities. VolunteerCorps participants from area community college campuses select from a menu of volunteer opportunities to provide service to local communities. These two initiatives have built a strong base of continued volunteerism and civic engagement among program alumni and community members. Project HEART’s exceptional regional partnership has developed programs that greatly impact eastern North Carolina 112 | T r a n s f o r m i n g C o m m u n i t i e s t h r o u g h S e r v i c e
communities through quality service and mobilization of student volunteers. Project HEART has exceeded its match requirement each year and has been ranked low risk since 2003. Potential for replication Project HEART has developed a low-cost tutoring program with multiple components that can be used separately or together to help children living in poverty. Examples of these components are the high school peer tutoring and the ETutoring Homework Hotline. Project HEART has developed curriculum materials, training modules and management tools that are readily available at no cost to other school systems and community organizations.
Success Stories Project HEART has a history of meeting and exceeding all program performance measurements. Project HEART began in the fall of 2000 with 48 tutors providing services to 480 at-risk middle school students. At the end of the 2000-01 program year, 48% of the students served were promoted to the next grade. Now in its 10th year, the program has 159 tutors to serve the educational needs of 1,500 students. Furthermore, at the end of the 2008-09 program year, 97% of the students served were promoted to the next grade. Since its inception, Project HEART has placed approximately 700 tutors in schools and afterschool programs to serve more than 16,230 at-risk elementary, middle and high school students. Additionally, WellnessCorps Members have served more than 1,200 students in the programâ€™s first year of operation.
WASHINGTON Kitsap Community Resources AmeriCorps Program Description Focus: Education, Public Safety, Human Need Issue Area: Military Engagement Innovative Elements • Lasting impact on Members, community or state • Delivering meaningful service • Exceptional partnerships • Potential for replication U
Contact Information Washington Commission for National and Community Service www.ofm.wa.gov/servewa Bill Basl, Executive Director email@example.com (360) 902-0663 U
Kitsap Community Resources (KCR) AmeriCorps began as a Defense Conversion Assistance Program (DCAP) in 1993, an early Corporation for National and Community Service initiative. The program’s original mission was to help support communities and families adversely impacted by the downsizing of the local military and naval bases. As the community and its needs changed over time, KCR AmeriCorps’ mission evolved to focus directly on education and human services. KCR AmeriCorps is in Kitsap County, where 75% of the local economy is dependent on the military infrastructure. All KCR AmeriCorps staff Members are ex-military officers and senior enlisted. The program actively recruits from local military bases; currently, over 50% of its full-time AmeriCorps Members are ex-military, dependents or their families rely on the military for employment.
The program’s 40 full-time AmeriCorps Members serve in the following capacities, often with low-income families, homeless individuals and youth who have current or past ties to the military. • Tutor/Mentor Literacy Skills in Elementary Schools: Twelve Members work in cooperation with staff at 10 elementary schools to recruit and train Kitsap Community Resources AmeriCorps community members as tutors and mentors for students in grades K-6. www.kcr.org/americorps.htm Members also assist students in preparing for the statewide Washington Russ Donahue, Program Director Assessment of Student Learning. firstname.lastname@example.org • Early Childhood Education and Assistance: Three Members advise (360) 473-2015 parents of pre-school children in health education, family reading skills, parenting education, and social skills. They also recruit parents to work as volunteers in the classrooms and assist instructors in teaching preschool children basic reading, study and conflict resolution skills. • Welfare to Work Program: Nine Members serve with the Work First program in planning, facilitating, counseling and preparing low-income TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) clients for employment. • Parenting Place Program: One member facilitates parenting classes, family violence awareness seminars and conducts trainings for staff and volunteers. • Children of the Nations Ready Relief Program: Two Members serve with a national faith-based organization and make presentations in local schools and organizations to enlist children and youth to participate in food packaging events that provide nutritional meals and supplies to third-world countries. • YWCA Domestic Violence Awareness Programs: Three Members facilitate YWCA ALIVE workshops on topics such as parenting skills, life-coping skills and anger management. Members also assist survivors in making safety plans and utilizing local resources. • Kitsap Youth in Action: Three Members serve at local junior and senior high schools and in low-income community centers to recruit at-risk youth volunteers (ages 11- 17) for community service projects throughout Kitsap County. • Community Service (CSW) Programs: Four Members assist in the planning, coordination and implementation of community-wide service projects. Members also assist the Department of Emergency Management with community training in CERT (Community Emergency Response Training) and neighborhood preparedness. • Emergency Preparedness Coordination: Two Members serve with the American Red Cross to assist in the planning and implementation of CPR and first aid courses for community members and emergency preparedness training courses for youth ages 6-18. 114 | T r a n s f o r m i n g C o m m u n i t i e s t h r o u g h S e r v i c e
Health Awareness Assistance: One member serves with local dentists and the Kitsap County health district to provide dental education and to arrange reduced-price or free dental examinations and post-examination work by volunteer dentists.
KCR AmeriCorps’ 40 minimum-time Members perform 300 hours of service during the summer in Bremerton, Washington’s city parks, engaging children and teens in service-learning projects. KCR AmeriCorps partners with active duty and retired military members to conduct monthly community-identified service projects, which average 500 military volunteers each year. KCR AmeriCorps is recognized throughout Kitsap County and Washington State as a program that addresses community needs and recruits and retains Members who are very committed to its mission. The program has achieved a 100% fill rate and over 97% retention in nearly every year of its 17-year existence.
Program Innovations Lasting impact on Members and community Since the program’s inception, over 75% of KCR AmeriCorps full-term Members have gained employment with host sites or service partners. Many of these alumni have since left the service field, but they still collaborate closely with the 18 KCR AmeriCorps alumni who currently work at host sites and partner agencies, including Olympic College, the local community college. Delivering meaningful service In the final assessment completed for the 2008-09 program year, over 87% of students tutored/mentored by KCR AmeriCorps Members showed an increase in 1.5 grade levels of academic achievement. Additionally, over 83% of TANF parents counseled by KCR AmeriCorps Members gained or improved their workplace skills. Exceptional partnerships The partnership KCR AmeriCorps has forged with the local military community over the past 17 years of AmeriCorps operations has developed a sense of trust that helps the program meet the needs of this population. KCR AmeriCorps estimates that 41% of current and past AmeriCorps Members are military dependents, and 12% are veterans. The largest percentage of military members stationed in Kitsap County is young, single men and women. KCR AmeriCorps provides a positive outlet for these servicemen and servicewomen by engaging them in volunteer projects and strengthening their connection to the community. Married military members also volunteer and involve their families, which has resulted in spouses, children and other relatives joining AmeriCorps. Potential for replication KCR AmeriCorps can be replicated anywhere in the United States that values taking a comprehensive approach to addressing a wide range of issues impacting a community where the local economy is dominated by a branch of the US military. Elements needed to replicate the program are a strong staff, board and AmeriCorps Members who understand service as a strategy as it applies to a community dominated by military families and their needs. KCR AmeriCorps and the community action agency where it is based, Kitsap Community Resources, values service and understands that it must address the specific issues that not only impact the community as a whole but its Members as well.
Success Stories During the 2008-09 program year, KCR AmeriCorps Members recruited over 10,200 volunteers who contributed more than 70,400 hours of service. Of these volunteers, 200 were elementary school students who prepared emergency rations for their schools in case of a disaster. The KCR AmeriCorps program staff members are all ex-military officers who understand the specific childcare, healthcare and housing assistance veterans and dependents need to serve in AmeriCorps. The KCR AmeriCorps program staff members are also accomplished trainers. They are certified in CERT, CPR/First Aid, Civic Engagement (Constitutional Rights Foundation curricula) and have an extensive member training agenda, which includes community leaders and alumni.
Innovations in Civic Participation 1776 Massachusetts Ave NW, Suite 201 Washington, DC 20036 202-775-0290 www.icicp.org
Americaâ€™s Service Commissions 1875 K St NW 5th Floor Washington DC 20006 202-729-8179 www.statecommissions.org
Transforming Communities Through Service: A Collection of 52 of the Most innovative AmeriCorps Programs in America (2005). This compilation...
Published on Jun 1, 2010
Transforming Communities Through Service: A Collection of 52 of the Most innovative AmeriCorps Programs in America (2005). This compilation...