The Ally: Apr 2021 – National Volunteer Week April 18 – 24, 2021 Americorps

Caitlin Brooking
Deputy Director
Volunteer MS

For the past 27 years, our state has had a small (but mighty!) agency that is entirely dedicated to engaging Mississippians in service, the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service, now known as Volunteer Mississippi. The agency was originally formed to carry out the National and Community Service Act of 1990, the Act that authorized AmeriCorps.

Americorps is a federal program with the ambition of making service to others the cornerstone of our national culture and an indispensable part of the American experience. At Volunteer Mississippi, we provide grant funding to Mississippi organizations to design their own programs that engage people as AmeriCorps members to meet the needs of each unique community.

We’re proud to have eight operating programs this year, with more than four hundred AmeriCorps member positions around the state who are tutoring children and providing  health education to students, helping residents achieve economic stability, and improving public lands.

If you’re an organization that could benefit from adding some people power to carry out your mission in the community, Volunteer Mississippi offers training on applying for an AmeriCorps State grant, as well as planning grants to get you ready to Get Things Done!

AmeriCorps is an excellent opportunity for someone who wants to commit to a year of service, earn benefits, gain professional experience, and make a difference in our state. Mississippians of all ages (seventeen and older) are probably serving as AmeriCorps members in your local school, community center, faith-based organization, or nonprofit right now. All AmeriCorps members receive an education award to pay current educational expenses or repay qualified student loans upon successful completion. Many receive a modest living allowance while they are serving. Full-time members receive health insurance and, if qualified, child care benefits. AmeriCorps members demonstrate leadership, tenacity, and a heart for service, something valued by employers, and an invaluable life experience.

AmeriCorps has shaped the service sector in Mississippi since 1994. More than 16,000 AmeriCorps members have provided essential support to our teachers and students in public schools. They have responded to Hurricane Katrina to rebuild the Gulf Coast, restored wetlands after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and supported community events like the Mississippi Book Fair, Special Olympics, Read Across America Day, and the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights and History Museums. AmeriCorps Mississippi programs see service as a solution: a way to bring Mississippians together to tackle the toughest challenges we face. Find out more about AmeriCorps at www.volunteermississippi.ms.gov.

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