Delaware will receive $600,000 from the Corporation for National and Community Service to support AmeriCorps members at nonprofit, faith-based or community organizations across the state for 2012-2013. The money will be distributed by the Governor's Commission on Community and Volunteer Service.
AmeriCorps funds are administered by each State Service Commission to assist local groups in recruiting, training and placing AmeriCorps members in areas with a critical need. In Delaware, the funding will support the service of AmeriCorps members at four or more agencies.
Interested agencies with a service opportunity in the priority areas of education, veterans and military families, economic opportunity, disaster management services, healthy outcomes and the environment must attend a mandatory information session in April and must submit proposals by May 4. In late June, the Governor's Commission on Community and Volunteer Service will announce the recipients, with AmeriCorps members beginning their service at member organizations on Oct. 1.
"The service of AmeriCorps members continues to be a worthy investment in the Delaware of today and of tomorrow," Gov. Jack Markell said. "Vulnerable Delawareans receive vital services from AmeriCorps members in education, economic opportunity, health and emergency services. I encourage more young Delawareans to join AmeriCorps, which provides invaluable work experience in potential career areas and lifelong lessons in the power of giving back."
This year, 110 AmeriCorps members in Delaware serve with Connecting Generations, Ministry of Caring, Sussex County Habitat for Humanity and YMCA Emergency Services Corps. In exchange for a year of service in Delaware (1,700 hours), members 17 and older receive:
* Valuable work experience in their chosen field.
* $5,350 to pay for college, graduate school or to pay back student loans.
* Health coverage and loan deferment while in service.
* In some cases, a living allowance of a minimum of $12,100.
"Through the strong support of our congressional delegation, Delaware received additional funds for administration of the AmeriCorps program and for program development and training of members," Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf said. "Since its inception, AmeriCorps has served to provide stipend service opportunities and educational awards to members while addressing many critical needs of Delawareans. One of the positive results of that federal commitment is that we now find AmeriCorps alumni serving in leadership positions throughout our state."
Since AmeriCorps began in Delaware in 1994, more than 2,000 members -- including more than 1,000 who have served with AmeriCorps state programs -- have given more than 2.6 million hours of service and qualified for educational awards totaling more than $5.95 million.
"This is great news for the First State and the communities ably served by AmeriCorps," said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del. "AmeriCorps has been a remarkable force for good in our neediest communities here in Delaware and around the country, and these federal funds will help them continue their good works in the First State. Just recently, I joined AmeriCorps members at an elementary school in Dover as they cleaned the school and completed several projects that will ultimately create a better learning environment. In other parts of our state, AmeriCorps members are building homes and supporting nonprofits. Without the efforts of these bright young men and women, many of these initiatives would not be possible. That is why I am so grateful for the continued support of AmeriCorps."
"Volunteerism is a fundamental part of what it means to be American, and I've long believed that those who engage in volunteerism and service to others in fact get more out of it than they put into it." said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del. "This funding will go a long way in helping local AmeriCorps members do exactly what they pledge to do, " bring Americans together to strengthen our communities.' AmeriCorps provides a wonderful avenue for people to bring their gifts, their talents and their unique spirit to volunteering. As New Castle County Executive, I helped launch a new AmeriCorps program, the Emergency Services Corps, to help recruit volunteer firefighters, conduct training on CPR and first aid, and provide fire awareness training for schoolchildren across our county. So far they've recruited more than 220 new volunteer firefighters and logged more than 100,000 hours of service to our community in the five years since it was created. This program is just one shining example of the hundreds of AmeriCorps programs across our country that are making a difference."
"I'm very pleased that this grant allows AmeriCorps members to continue serving our communities," said U.S. Rep. John Carney, D-Del. "Every day, dedicated AmeriCorps members set out to make Delaware a better place by serving those most in need. AmeriCorps members not only improve our state, but they learn valuable skills that will benefit them in the future, and set a positive example for others to follow. I'm proud to support the AmeriCorps and know that this funding will help inspire even more Delawareans to serve."
Each year, more than 85,000 people join AmeriCorps, which was created in 1994 under President Bill Clinton. Across the country, more than 775,000 members have given more than 1 billion hours of service, mobilizing tens of millions of volunteers, and improving the lives of countless citizens.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is the federal agency that engages more than 5 million Americans in service through Senior Corps and AmeriCorps, improves communities through the Social Innovation Fund, and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.