Springfield College Receives $1.6 Million AmeriCorps GrantSeptember 16, 2009
SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Sept. 16, 2009 -- A new AmeriCorps grant of $1,606,527 will enable Springfield College to continue to help Greater Springfield schools and nonprofit organizations meet human needs for the next three years.
The grant will support 85 students per year who become AmeriCorps members, with each contributing 900 hours of community service. Mostly graduate students, they will provide services consistent with their fields of study that are targeted to community needs.
Their services help school children; individuals and families receiving physical and mental health services; and organizations recruiting, training and managing volunteers.
Responding to the grant announcement, Springfield College AmeriCorps Program Director Shannon Langone said, “In this period of economic downturn, the services of our AmeriCorps members are especially needed. Budget cuts have reduced the capacity of local service providers. Many organizations have requested our help.”
Springfield College AmeriCorps services for school children include academic coaching for 600 students; counseling, advising and outreach for 300 students; and out-of-school leadership development programs for 185 youth.
Springfield educational sites served include the four city high schools; William N. DeBerry, German Gerena and White Street elementary schools; Duggan and Van Sickle middle schools; the Renaissance School; and the Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School of Excellence.
The college’s AmeriCorps members assigned to health counseling and case management also will provide health screenings and wellness guidance. They serve 2,500 individuals and families annually at Sisters of Providence Health Systems, Mercy Hospital, Baystate Medical Center, Square One, Behavioral Health Network, and other sites.
Those assigned to capacity building serve at the college and local nonprofit organizations, where they train, support and manage more than 2,000 volunteers. They also work with the college’s faculty to expand the college’s academic programs that involve learning through community service.
The new grant will also allow the Springfield College AmeriCorps Program to expand services to organizations outside of Springfield that serve Springfield residents. The college’s program is in its 13th year. Last year, the Massachusetts Service Alliance cited it for best practices in member recruitment, selection and supervision.
AmeriCorps was created in 1993 as part of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency. Annually, it engages more than 120,000 Americans in 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.