New AmeriCorps members have begun work in volunteer projects around New York — including two in the North Country — as they start their new year of community service.
The 730 new members will be dispatched to more than 40 project sites throughout the state to assist veterans, schools and the environment through direct service.
“From raising literacy rates among our children to assisting our war heroes after they return home, these AmeriCorps members will help tackle different issues in our society and enhance the lives of New Yorkers in their homes, schools and workplaces,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a welcoming speech.
“AmeriCorps programs have served our state for 20 years, and I look forward to their service continuing to make New York state a better place.”
The North Country projects are AmeriCorps for the Adirondacks and North Country Workforce Partnership Inc. A total of 15 participants are engaged in those endeavors, including the two new people.
This year, AmeriCorps will give more than 7,200 individuals the opportunity to provide intensive, results-driven service to meet educational, environmental, health, economic and other pressing needs in communities across New York.
Most AmeriCorps grant funding goes to the New York State Commission on National & Community Service, which, in turn, awards grants to nonprofit groups to respond to local needs.
Created by Gov. Mario Cuomo by executive order in 1993, the commission has been responsible for administering AmeriCorps programs in New York since the beginning.
Other individuals serve through AmeriCorps VISTA — the latter-day version of the program conceived by President John F. Kennedy in the 1960s, whose members help bring individuals and communities out of poverty by serving full time to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create businesses and increase housing opportunities.
Still others take part through AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, a 10-month, full-time residential program for men and women between the ages of 18 and 24.
In exchange for their service, AmeriCorps members earn an education award that can be used to pay for college or to pay back qualified student loans.
Since 1994, more than 68,000 New York residents have served more than 110 million hours and have qualified for Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards totaling more than $235,600,000.
Great vision created this network to attack needs of the nation and state. Decades later, it is still serving the public while helping participants enter the workplace unencumbered by oppressive education debt.