In Celebration of AmeriCorps

americorps-CollageDid you know that we have an amazing group of individuals in Santa Cruz County who have chosen to devote a year of their time to National Service?

This dedicated cadre of individuals are heading off to non-profits and schools everyday of the week to make our community better. Often they are doing the quiet work necessary to keep these entities moving forward- organizing volunteers, providing educational workshops, giving that extra bit of attention to a struggling student, or serving as an extra set of hands to build organizational capacity.

These individuals are part of a larger collective of people working all across America under the Americorps Program. They are part of a 22 year legacy comprised of 900,000 men and women who have joined AmeriCorps since it’s inception and in this time they have given 1.2 billion hours of service to address unmet community needs.

At the Volunteer Center we are lucky enough to work with a group of 13 AmeriCorps Members through the Volunteer Infrastructure Program. In partnership with 10 fellow non-profits we maintain a program placing members as Volunteer Coordinators at community non-profits. Now in it’s 8th year, nearly 100 members have worked with us to help non-profits make effective use of their most valuable resource – volunteers.

We are proud to be part of AmeriCorps and are grateful for the AmeriCorps members who are getting things done in our local community. This week in honor of the nationwide celebration of Americorps known as AmeriCorps Week, we hope to shine a spotlight on their accomplishments.

Since their start in September 2015 current members Shahani Berry, Anna Bontrager, Maura Connolly, Erick Cruz, Desiree Farnal, Mariah Goncharoff, Ximena Ireta-Lopez, Hanah Levy, Teal Mandzik, Michele Martinez, Spencer Takata, Colleen Walsh and Devyn Serrano have collectively recruited 796 volunteers to accomplish over 23,700 hours of work.

With small budgets and big missions, local non-profits find it crucial to effectively utilize volunteers and these 13 individuals have demonstrated the positive benefit of having a volunteer program in place. Their recruitment translates into $546,759 worth of labor for their agencies.

Our members will remain with us until August and we are excited to see what community impacts they will continue to make in this time. We are so thankful for their efforts to make our community a stronger, healthier and happier place to live and we hope you are too.

We encourage you to seek out an AmeriCorps member this week and give them a thanks.

If you are inspired by their work or know someone who might be a good fit for AmeriCorps we invite you to learn more about the program. We have begun accepting  applications for the next round of Americorps VIP starting this August 2016. Applications will be accepted until July 8th.

In exchange for a year of full-time service, members receive a monthly stipend, medical benefits, a childcare stipend, an educational award of $5,700 at the conclusion their year, and loan deferment while in service.

Learn more about the program and our members.

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