Maine Celebrates AmeriCorps Week
May 13th, 2008
Augusta- Maine’s celebration of AmeriCorps Week is underway, thanks to the coordination of the Maine Commission for Community Service.
The Maine Commission for Community Service, created to foster volunteerism and community service to meet human and environmental needs in the state, has been the funder for AmeriCorps programs for 15 years. It administers over $1 million in grant funds for AmeriCorps programs statewide. The commission provides technical assistance to Maine national service programs and in 2007 conducted training programs for 130 members.
AmeriCorps is so pervasive commissioners often have a personal connection with service. Commission Chair Paula Gagnon, President and Academic Dean at York County Community College, wrote the first AmeriCorps proposal for the state of Vermont in 1994 and was an AmeriCorps Project Director until she moved to Maine. Carla Ganiel and Andrew Matlins both served as VISTA Project Directors.
In addition, there are four AmeriCorps alumni (Melissa Boyd, Amy Nunan, Sara Stevens, and Al Smith) plus one parent of an alumna that serve on the Maine Commission for Community Service. Commissioners understand the value AmeriCorps brings to Maine because of their personal experiences. Since they appreciate the integral role the Maine Commission for Community service plays in administering the AmeriCorps program, it’s a natural outcome that many alumni and those otherwise connected to AmeriCorps, choose to continue their service as commissioners.
The value of AmeriCorps in Maine is significant. AmeriCorps provides access to an education award, and since more than 1/3 of the two thousand members that have come to Maine decide to stay, we are attracting and retaining young educated professionals through the AmeriCorps Program. The effect of member’s efforts can be seen all over the state. From Wiscasset to Bangor, AmeriCorps members rehabbed, repaired, and made handicap accessible housing that still provides shelter to citizens today. The trail on Cutler Coast, in Washington County, was built by AmeriCorps members. In 1999, AmeriCorps members helped to expand Born to Read, a program that still thrives in 2008.
In commemoration of AmeriCorps Week, the Maine Commission for Community service salutes Maine AmeriCorps Members, Alumni, Commissioners, and the community partners that make it all possible! Please visit VolunteerMaine.org/AmeriCorpsWeek to learn more about AmeriCorps and its contributions to the State of Maine.