ISU AmeriCorps program recruiting additional volunteers due to increased federal funding

May 12, 2009

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Indiana State University's Sycamore Service Corps received nearly $35,000 in new funding thanks to President Barack Obama's economic stimulus legislation.

With the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Sycamore Service Corps will receive five new positions beginning June 1. The legislation provides $200 million nationwide to support up to 13,000 AmeriCorps members serving in distressed communities.

"With the increase, we will be able to add five new members, each doing 900-hour terms over a year with non-profits," said Debbie Miller, director of Sycamore Service Corps. "These are considered half-time positions."

"These members will provide service to existing host site organizations that have experienced financial hardship due to reduction in income and increased demand for services related to the economic downturn," added Nancy Rogers, director of Indiana State's Center for Public Service and Community Engagement.

"We believe the 900-hour positions will appeal to community members who may have become unemployed or retired individuals who have experienced a significant loss in income," Rogers said.

Applications are currently being accepted for the five new positions, with a service period on or around June 1, 2009 to May 31, 2010. Those selected will work with one of five local agencies -- Ryves Youth Center at Etling Hall, 14th and Chestnut Community Center, West Vigo Community Center, McMillan Adult Day Service or C.H.A.N.C.E.S. for Indiana Youth.

"In addition to working with these agencies, these five individuals will develop three new programs or services for their site," Miller said.

Indiana State's program received another shot in the arm with the passage of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which goes into effect on Oct. 1. This legislation increases and enhances opportunities for Americans of all ages to serve by increasing AmeriCorps from 75,000 to 250,000 positions over the next eight years, while increasing opportunities for students and older Americans to serve.

Members of AmeriCorps work with non-profit organizations who work with children, youth, adults and elderly people in the community.

There are 61 members of Sycamore Service Corps, who work at 25 non-profits in a five-county region in Indiana. While Indiana State students make up a large majority of the membership, the program is open to residents of the Wabash Valley.

"You don't have to be a college student to become involved and reap the benefits of giving back to your community," Miller added.

AmeriCorps members must be U.S. Citizens or lawful permanent residents of the U.S. and at least 18 years of age. Volunteers accepted into the AmeriCorps Program become members. In addition to the satisfaction of giving back to their community, most members receive a living allowance in exchange for their services and free professional development training. Members also receive an education award upon completion of service, ranging from $1,000-$2,300.

Miller sees first-hand the importance of AmeriCorps' living allowance and education award.

"It's a nice benefit for our members, especially the college students," she said. "It's not a lot of money, but it frees them up to serve the community without having to juggle a part-time job. Both benefits together enable students to stay in school while indulging in their passion for volunteerism."

Nationwide, AmeriCorps provides opportunities for 75,000 Americans to give back to their communities and country each year.

For more information on Sycamore Service Corps or to download the application, go to http://www.indstate.edu/publicservice/americorps. For more information, call Debbie Miller at (812) 237-7900.

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Contact: Debbie Miller, Center for Public Service and Community Engagement, (812) 237-7900


Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, (812) 237-3783 or pmeyer4@isugw.indstate.edu