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Who benefits from the AmeriCorps program?

Nov 25, 2023

Editor's note: The following article is the third in a series of six articles written by Carrie Kidd, Harmony for Hope of West Virginia's founder and Preservation Alliance of West Virginia AmeriCorps Alumni service member.

With support from the federal government, Volunteer West Virginia distributes approximately $3 million in grant dollars to eight AmeriCorps programs in West Virginia. The AmeriCorps programs work with a local 501c(3), schools, government agencies, faith-based groups, community organizations, and groups that commit to hosting an AmeriCorps member at their site. A group that needs an AmeriCorps member will agree to pay for a chunk of their living stipend, which they give to the program sponsor. The program sponsor then uses that cash match, with the money given from Volunteer West Virginia, to provide the AmeriCorps member with a living allowance. The reason a group can use an AmeriCorps member is as varied as the organization bringing them on.

Active Southern West Virginia is one area non-profit using the AmeriCorps program. In recent years their AmeriCorps VISTA members, a branch of the AmeriCorps program, have been working to build Run Clubs in area schools. The Active SWV Kids Run Club program seeks to improve the health of southern West Virginia's youth by empowering them with the opportunities, skills, knowledge, and confidence to be physically active. India Krawczyk joined Active SWV as an AmeriCorps VISTA serving the New River Gorge region as the Kids Run Club Director. She later accepted a full-time position with the non-profit, transitioning from her previous role of serving the organization.

One local government organization that utilizes the AmeriCorps program is the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. At the park, members get a chance to work alongside National Park Service rangers on conservation, historic preservation and archeological projects. The goal of the NRGNPP staff is for the volunteers to provide a direct path toward a career with the National Park Service and for the volunteers to learn about the agency.

While serving with AmeriCorps, members make a year-long commitment to bettering West Virginia's communities, all the while gaining meaningful, hands-on experience. Often AmeriCorps members earn full-time positions with their respective agencies, keeping them here in West Virginia.

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