Health and Family Services Cabinet
Kentucky AmeriCorps Launches a New Service Year; Now in its 14th year, program still getting things done
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 2, 2008) – This evening, 270 first- and second-year AmeriCorps members took a pledge to get things done in Kentucky as they embark on a year of service to their fellow Kentuckians across the state.
Members are assigned to one of 12 AmeriCorps state programs serving 107 counties where they will help address unmet local human service needs. About 25 percent of the members in this year’s class are second-year members.
AmeriCorps is a program of the Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service (KCCVS) in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS).
The induction ceremony on the Kentucky Capitol steps highlighted both the individual members and the collective group. Members marched up the steps single file with light sticks and gathered at the landing, where they took the AmeriCorps pledge of service after their program directors made their own pledge.
“AmeriCorps members make remarkable contributions to Kentucky, and I am proud of the enthusiasm of these members,” CHFS Deputy Secretary Steve Nunn said. “The Kentucky AmeriCorps programs have grown each year, as more Kentuckians choose to serve the commonwealth and their country. In these difficult economic times, Kentucky AmeriCorps members are making a difference.”
Members ranging in age from 18 to 80 signed on for a year of service to their communities and received training to equip them to fulfill their service assignments. In addition to performing community service tasks, members also recruit local volunteers to help ensure programs and progress continue after members complete their terms of service.
Eileen Cackowski, executive director of the KCCVS, said Kentucky AmeriCorps members continue to prove the value of community service in meeting even the most serious social, academic and preparedness challenges.
“Faced with challenges, they persevere and overcome, reaching out to their fellow Kentuckians with direct service, compassion and care,” Cackowski said. “AmeriCorps members help frail elderly people remain in their homes, learn and train others to respond in the event of emergencies, help at-risk students catch up and even surpass their academic peers and, perhaps most valuable of all, they offer an ear to listen and a strong desire to help that inspires and appeals to others seeking a way to serve.”
Sometimes called the domestic Peace Corps, AmeriCorps provides service opportunities to members on a full-time (1,700 hours of service per year) or part-time (900 hours) basis.
In addition to valuable experience and training, full-time AmeriCorps members receive an $11,400 annual living allowance, health insurance and child care assistance based on need. Upon completing service commitments, members receive a $4,725 education award for tuition or to pay off school loans.
Cackowski said AmeriCorps members often use their service experience as a stepping stone to jobs and careers. Inspired by their service, some former Kentucky AmeriCorps members have gone on to successful careers in social work, education and other fields.
AmeriCorps members may serve two years and must be at least 17 years old and legal U.S. residents. For more information on Kentucky’s AmeriCorps programs, visit the KCCVS Web site at http://chfs.ky.gov/dfrcvs/kccvs/ or call toll-free (800) 239-7404.
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