Participants in AmeriCorps are being lauded this week for the 1.3 billion hours they have committed to improving their communities since 1994.
AmeriCorps Week pays tribute to 80,000 program participants and more than 1 million alumni who have served through nonprofit, faith-based and community organizations at more than 25,000 locations acrossthe country.
Charlotte MacVittie, manager at The Service Collaborative of WNY, talked with WBFO about one initiative called AmeriCorps Builds Lives for Education.
“That program really focuses on students’ grades 4 through 10 in both buffalo public and charter schools. And we have approximately 80 full time members serving 40 hours a week, Monday through Friday for a full year in those schools," she said.
AmeriCorps participants have earned more than $2.8 billion in education awards for their service since the program's inception.
““When people do our program and complete successfully, they are actually eligible for what is called a Segal Education award, and that education award allows them to pay back federal student loans with it," MacVittie explained. "The full time award is almost $6,000. So they can really take a dent out of their federal student loans -- or they can use it to further their education."
AmeriCorps volunteers have helped communities grapple with numerous challenges. In addition to working on education programs, participants have helped to place people on a path to economic stability, supported veterans and military families and even assisted some communities to rebuild following natural disasters.