Grants To Be For SC Grad Students to Infuse Community With HelpJune 11, 2004
SPRINGFIELD, Mass., June 11, 2004 -- Kristen McSwain, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Service Alliance will announce an additional year of funding to enable Springfield College AmeriCorps volunteers to contribute 27,000 hours of service in area schools, recreation, programs and community organizations over the upcoming year. The celebration will take place on Monday, June 14, at noon in the Springfield College Townhouse Conference Room.
On hand will be representatives of local organizations where 27 Springfield College AmeriCorps volunteers each contributed 900 hours of service over the past year, along with many of the participating college students.
The Springfield College AmeriCorps volunteers are graduate students, most of whom who perform services related to their fields of study. In the past year, they served at DeBerry School, Brookings School, Play it Smart Program at Commerce High School, Science and Technology High School, Bridge Academy, MLK, Jr. Community Center, Springfield School Volunteers, Providence Health Systems, and the Springfield Parks and Recreation Department.
As academic coaches, the college volunteers helped 398 children in grades kindergarten through 10 with academic subjects in which they were under performing. Other Springfield College AmeriCorps students provided counseling and guidance services to more than 350 youth, families and adults at schools or community organizations. Most of those served had no other access to this type of health care.
At youth enrichment programs in six sites throughout Springfield, the college’s AmeriCorps members provided logistical, promotional, and organizational support. They were key volunteers to the 21st Community Learning Center Programs and enabled hundreds of children to receive additional services during non-school hours. Other Springfield College AmeriCorps members expanded the capacity of partnering organizations to serve people by recruiting and supporting 400 additional volunteers to provide services and activities.
In 2003, the Massachusetts Service Alliance announced AmeriCorps grants to Springfield College totaling $788,000 over three years to provide financial aid to up 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. This funding is matched, in part, by financial and in-kind support from Springfield College and partnering organizations. Springfield College AmeriCorps members are eligible for $5,241 in living allowances, plus a $2,362 education voucher to pay past student loans or future tuition.
The grants have enabled 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. 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, and human services. 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 this grant helps us to continue to expand our commitment to being a part of, and not apart from, our community.”
“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 not-for-profit 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.
Additional information on the national announcement is available at the following web site: http://www.nationalservice.org/news/pr/060704.html