As the 2016-2017 school year comes to a close, York County high school seniors are looking for opportunities for after graduation. Some students will be continuing their education in college and others will be joining the workforce or the military. However, there is another option available to them.
AmeriCorps is a network of national volunteer programs for young adults ages 18 to 24. Volunteers dedicate about a year to serving their country through community involvement. There are three different programs within AmeriCorps so every York County graduate can find their niche.
AmeriCorps NCCC members travel across the United States serving local communities for ten months. There are two different tracks one can take within AmeriCorps NCCC: Traditional Corps and FEMA Corps. Traditional Corps is a more hands on experience and involves more physical labor in order to physically rebuild communities. The other AmeriCorps NCCC track, FEMA Corps, allows Corps Members to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in an office environment in order to mitigate and respond to disasters.
AmeriCorps VISTA is a year-long volunteer program that is specifically designed to fight poverty. Corps Members work for a community organization, such as a nonprofit, college, or local government office. Responsibilities may include creating a social media plan for a nonprofit, writing grants, or developing a marketing plan for a university.
AmeriCorps State and National program includes Reading Corps and Senior Corps. These programs may not be full-time or as long as a commitment as the other programs. While in AmeriCorps State and National, a Corps Member can tutor kids in reading to help breach the literacy gap, help run a food bank, or work with Habitat for Humanity to make homes affordable to families.
Like the Peace Corps or the military, AmeriCorps is a way to serve your country. Not only does the community receive countless benefits from joining young adults AmeriCorps, volunteers who sign up do as well. Volunteers receive an education grant of almost $6,000 to use towards their higher education endeavors. They also gain countless connections and contacts within the public and private sphere, which is a great way for young people to get their foot in the door. Volunteers also receive free meals and housing, a modest stipend, and health insurance while serving.
To apply to AmeriCorps, first go on the Corporation for National and Community Service’s website and read up more about what program is right for you. Then make an account on my.americorps.gov and search the listings that are available.
There are many options available to York County graduates, but if high school seniors do not want to jump into the workforce yet or are not ready to continue their education, they can commit to a service year in AmeriCorps.
Published by The Yorktown Crier on March 30, 2017