Press-Republican

September 25, 2013

AmeriCorps seeks volunteers

By DAN HEATH
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — AmeriCorps for the Adirondacks is seeking volunteers for the 2013-14 campaign.

North Country Workforce Investment Board Director of Programming Michele Armani said the program starts Oct. 1, and they have a handful of full- and part-time positions.

“Interviews are ongoing,” she said. “We would like a diverse membership.”

The AmeriCorps for the Adirondacks focus is on community service in Clinton, Essex, Franklin and Hamilton counties. Volunteers work with host organizations toward that end.

Armani said that includes efforts to foster financial, reading or language literacy, boost awareness of available health-care and preventive services and increase awareness to viable economic opportunities.

‘INVALUABLE’

Literacy Volunteers of Clinton County Director Norma Menard said they had both a full-time and part-time AmeriCorps volunteer last year.

Full-time volunteer Marita Boulos helped recruit volunteers and coordinated special workshops, such as citizenship preparation and financial literacy. 

Menard is the only other full-time worker in the office.

Part-time volunteer Jocelyne Erkenbeck helped with data entry and with the Literacy Volunteers Imagination Library program, which provides one free book a month for children younger than 5 years of age. That program has 533 children registered in Clinton, Essex, Franklin and Hamilton counties.

Menard said both women have been invaluable.

“They both give more than their required commitment,” she said.

LIVING STIPEND

This is the third year of the program’s three-year grant funding cycle. The initiative received a $155,215 grant through the State Office of National and Community Service to start the program in 2011.

That marked a return to the region, as the previous AmeriCorp program in Clinton County ended in 2003 and one in Essex County shut down in 2005.

In order to participate, applicants must be a U.S citizens or lawful permanent resident. If you are selected for a position, you will be asked to submit documentation of your citizenship status and identity.

They must also be at least 17 years old, have at least a high-school diploma or GED and be able to successfully pass a criminal background check.

Volunteers can receive a living stipend. In addition, when they complete their year of service, a full-time volunteer is eligible for about $5,000 and a part-time volunteer is eligible for about $2,500, which can go toward approved student loan debt or future education debt.

That is good for up to seven years and can be transferred to a family member, Armani said.

‘GREAT OPPORTUNITY’

Full-time volunteers may also be eligible for child-care assistance and health insurance.

Armani said the program has been successful, as it has exceeded all of its performance measures.

One example is how many children have received information and how many have shown improvement in physical and/or mental health. 

Another is how many people were able to improve their economic literacy.

Potential volunteers are asked to contact Armani at 561-4295, Ext. 3073, or by email at michele@ncworkforce.com. Learn more at ncworkfoce.com.

“This is a great opportunity for anyone willing to share their time and their talents,” Armani said.

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com