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Maine AmeriCorps Week May 14-21, 2011

May 26th, 2011

 

What is AmeriCorps Week? AmeriCorps Week is an opportunity for AmeriCorps members, alums, grantees, program partners and friends to demonstrate AmeriCorps' impact on critical issues, bring more Americans into service, and thank the community partners who make AmeriCorps possible. AmeriCorps Week shines a spotlight on AmeriCorps' impact on communities in Maine and across the country in order to motivate more Americans to volunteer in their communities or join AmeriCorps.

There has never been a better time to share the AmeriCorps story. The fifth annual AmeriCorps Week will take place May 14-21. Join the Maine Commission for Community Service, the Corporation for National and Community Service and Maine AmeriCorps Alums as we celebrate AmeriCorps Week!

What is AmeriCorps? AmeriCorps provides opportunities for more than 80,000 Americans to give back in an intensive way to their communities and country each year. It consists of three main programs: AmeriCorps State and National, whose members serve with more than 1,840 national and local nonprofit and community groups; AmeriCorps VISTA, through which members serve full time fighting poverty; and AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps), a team-based residential program for young adults 18-24 who carry out projects in public safety, the environment, youth development, and disaster relief and preparedness.

What impact does AmeriCorps have in Maine? For 18 years, AmeriCorps members have served Maine communities. They continue to do a wide range of things: They recruit, train, and supervise community volunteers, tutor and mentor youth, build affordable housing, teach computer skills, clean parks and streams, run after-school programs, help communities respond to disasters, and build the capacity of nonprofit groups to become self-sustaining, among many other activities. 

Maine AmeriCorps service attracts and retains talented young people: In 2010, the results from six years of AmeriCorps member survey responses were analyzed, to look at the profile of members who come to Maine from out of state. The research revealed that AmeriCorps is not just a means of supporting communities in Maine through significant and essential service; but it also attracts highly educated individuals from out of state and encourages them to stay. 

Highlights: 
• 41% of the non-residents stayed in Maine after their year of service. 
• 67% of non-residents have at least a four year degree.
• 52% of all AmeriCorps members take on volunteer work during their year of service (unrelated to 
AmeriCorps assignment).
• Before their AmeriCorps service: 18 % seldom volunteered; 52 % regularly volunteered; 28% occasionally volunteered and 1% never volunteered.
• AmeriCorps members started volunteering: 40% before teen, 39% during teen, 13 % as an adult, and 8% as young adult.

In Maine there are 36 National Service Programs (AmeriCorps, VISTA, Learn & Serve, and Senior Corps) with 4,400 members. The following are some highlights of the enormous impact AmeriCorps has on Maine(for a complete list of Maine National Service Programs and accomplishments read the Maine Commission for Community Service's Annual Report).

• 787 volunteers were recruited to work on higher education access. As a result of the services provided by Maine Campus Compact AmeriCorps*VISTAs and their volunteers, 232 community partners reported an improved ability to serve low-income populations or fight poverty.
• 125 homes were winterized by Hour Exchange AmeriCorps*VISTA’S resulting in energy savings.
• 34 Maine Conservation Corps AmeriCorps members provided 700 lesson hours on Environmental Education to 4,000 students.

How do I get involved? Help your community be better prepared for a disaster! To honor AmeriCorps Week (May 14-21) we invite you to participate in a Mass Rescue Exercise being conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Town of Bar Harbor, Hancock County, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines on beautiful Mt. Desert Island May 18, 2011. Your involvement is critical to the success of this event. We need 200 volunteers!  Spend the day doing something both worthwhile and fun.  

Register to Staff the Volunteer Reception Center: To be trained as a volunteer reception center team member please register for the training at 9:00 a.m. on May 12, 2011. If you are already a trained Volunteer Reception Center team member or you have registered for the May 12, 2011 training and want to volunteer to staff the Volunteer Reception Center at the mass rescue exercise, please click here to sign up on VolunteerMaine.org.  For more information please call Eileen Buzzello, AmeriCorps VISTA (207) 624-6249 at the Maine Commission for Community Service. Register for the Mass Rescue Exercise: To volunteer for the mass rescue exercise please click here. For more information please contact Arn Heggers, Program Manager, and (207) 741-5439 at the U.S. Coast Guard.

Apply for a grant to create a COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster) in your community: Two $1,000 awards to assist with formation and start-up costs will be made. MCCS will provide technical assistance to both newly formed groups. Successful grantees will form a coalition of at least eight members representative of a broad spectrum of community stakeholders - including government, emergency management, social services, and businesses.   For more information and to apply visit our website:http://www.maineservicecommission.gov/grants/ . The deadline for applications is May 9, 2011.

The Maine Commission for Community Service builds capacity and sustainability in Maine's volunteer and service communities by funding programs, developing managers of volunteers and service-learning practitioners, raising awareness of sector issues, and promoting service as a strategy.  To learn more about the Maine Commission for Community Service visit our web-site atwww.maineservicecommission.gov.