Springfield College Wins $788,000 Americorps GrantDecember 22, 2003
SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Dec. 22, 2003 -- New AmeriCorps grants to Springfield College totaling $788,000 will provide financial aid to 30 graduate students and also infuse Springfield schools and not-for-profit organizations with a talent pool of graduate student help in many fields.
The grants will support graduate students who become AmeriCorps members and each contribute 900 community service hours over 10 months. Springfield College AmeriCorps members are eligible for $5,241 in living stipends, plus tuition reimbursement of $2,362. Currently, 21 students have begun participating, and the college is accepting applications for new members for the semester beginning in January 2004.
The grants enable Springfield College to expand and revise its AmeriCorps program, which began in 1997. The program is now open to Springfield College graduate students in all fields of study who are placed in cooperating agencies and organizations throughout the community. Initially, participating students were master’s degree candidates in secondary education.
According to Dale Lucy-Allen, Springfield College director of community relations, “With this newly expanded Springfield College AmeriCorps program, students with abilities in many fields can help with critical needs in education, health, public safety, and the environment. The college, our community partners, and AmeriCorps become better resources to the community, and AmeriCorps becomes a better resource for our students who are learning through real-world experience that is often related to their studies. We are delighted that these grants help us to continue to expand our commitment to being a part of, and not apart from, our community.”
Springfield College AmeriCorps members are serving as academic coaches in the William N. DeBerry and Elias Brookings schools and Bridge Academy. Other participating graduate students are volunteering in after school programs coordinated throughout the city by the Springfield Parks Department and the 21st Century Community Learning Center.
The Springfield College AmeriCorps members who are preparing for careers in counseling are serving under professional supervision as counselors to individuals, groups and families at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center, Providence Health System, and Brightside for Families and Children. Other participating graduate students are working with Springfield School Volunteers to improve volunteer recruitment and management. The college may add other sites for service beginning in September 2004.
“The Springfield College AmeriCorps financial benefits can make an important difference in a student’s ability to pursue advanced education,” Lucy-Allen added. In addition to living stipends and partial tuition reimbursement, AmeriCorps members are eligible to postpone payments on qualified student loans, and the National Service trust will pay any interest accrued on qualified student loans during their terms of service. They also are eligible for worker’s compensation.
AmeriCorps was created in 1993 as part of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Annually, it engages more than 50,000 Americans in more than 2,100 nonprofit and faith-based organizations and public agencies meeting critical needs in education, health, public safety and the environment.
The AmeriCorps grant to Springfield College was made through the Massachusetts Service Alliance, the state commission on community service, which is charged with generating an ethic of service throughout the Commonwealth by creating and supporting diverse, high quality service and volunteer opportunities for all age groups, resulting in stronger communities and more active citizens.
The Springfield College AmeriCorps Program Office is accepting applications from current and prospective Springfield College graduate students. Information is available by calling (413) 748-3610.