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Health and Family Services Cabinet
AmeriCorps launches new year of service in Kentucky

Press Release Date:  Friday, September 30, 2005  
Contact Information:  Lisa Wallace, (502) 564-6180 ext. 4013  


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 30, 2005) – The sun shone and the first true hint of autumn added a crispness to the morning air as 193 Kentuckians marched up the steps of the state Capitol and took an oath to get things done in Kentucky.

The annual AmeriCorps launch and induction ceremony marks the beginning of a year of community service for members who will tutor children, mentor youth, offer housing counseling to homeless families, support homeland security efforts, deliver meals and other services to seniors and generally respond to unmet local needs in communities across the state.

Referred to as 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 Kentucky, AmeriCorps members are assigned to any of nine programs operating throughout the state to help communities address education, public safety, homeland security, the environment and other human needs.

AmeriCorps is administered in Kentucky by the Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service (KCCVS) in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Before administering the oath of service, James Holsinger Jr., M.D., secretary of the health and families Cabinet, commended the inductees, noting their decision to serve preceded the mass national service movement  triggered by Hurricane Katrina.

“Before the collective heart of America went out to people devastated by Katrina, your hearts went out to your fellow Kentuckians who are struggling, who have unmet needs, whose potential and success may not be achieved without someone’s help,” Holsinger said.

Kentucky AmeriCorps members have a substantial and enduring impact on the people and communities they serve. For instance, in schools with AmeriCorps tutoring programs, reading scores have consistently improved at least two reading levels to as much as two grade levels.

The values and priorities many members develop or strengthen during their AmeriCorps service often remain with them for life, KCCVS Director said Eileen Cackowski. 

“As much good as they do for their fellow Kentuckians, as much of a difference as they make in the lives of others, AmeriCorps members consistently tell me they gain far more than they give in terms of a sense of personal and civic responsibility,” Cackowski said.

Upon successful completion of their service commitments, AmeriCorps members receive a $4,725 educational award to further their education or pay back school loans. Since 1994, AmeriCorps members have invested more than $10 million worth of education vouchers. They also gain valuable work experience and training. 

Full-time AmeriCorps members receive a living allowance of $10,600 per year, roughly minimum wage, for 1,700 hours of service. They also receive health insurance and child care assistance based on eligibility.

AmeriCorps members must be at least 17 years old at the time of enrollment; must be U.S. citizens, a U.S. national or a lawful permanent alien; and may only serve two terms.

Here’s a look at the programs in which this year’s AmeriCorps members will serve:

 

(Editor’s note: For localized and expanded coverage, please contact Lisa Wallace at 502-564-6180 ext. 4013 to inquire about interviews with AmeriCorps members and/or state/local AmeriCorps program directors. Print-quality resolution photos of the event also are available upon request. )

Sponsor

Program

Members

Assigned

Mission

Barren County School District

KY READS

25

Members work to help academically challenged increase their reading comprehension levels and help parents/guardians create literacy-rich home environments.

Big Sandy Area Development District

Appalachian Self-Sufficiency Program

15

Members provide pre-employment training to TANF and TANF-eligible individuals and assist the elderly overcome barriers to self- sufficiency.

Eastern Kentucky University

Student Service Consortium Center

21

Members provide tutoring to 800 students. The program reports 85 percent of students improve reading, vocabulary and comprehension skills.

Green River Area Development District

Senior Connections

20

Members assist the at-risk, low-income elderly by providing assistance with chores, home safety, repair and management and caregiver respite. Members also develop local senior-centered activities and receive training in disaster response.

Green River Area Development District

GRADD Homeland Security Corps

10

Members work with rapid response agencies to provide information on public safety, public health and disaster preparedness issues. They also help train other volunteers and encourage collaboration among local response agencies.

Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky             

Getting Things Done for Kentucky’s Homeless

21

Members offer housing counseling to low-income persons.  The program reports 85 percent of clients achieve their housing goals.  Members also serve help non-profit agencies rehabilitate and build housing in low-income areas.

Kentucky Child Now!

Kentucky Youth Development Corps – New program for 2005

16

Using best-practice methods, members work to enhance the quality and efficiency of local youth organizations, recruit, train and manage volunteers and support local youth initiatives.

Morehead State University

Kentucky PROMISECorps

40

Members tutor to 400 at-risk students in a program with an 85 percent success rate in raising reading levels by at least two levels.  Members also develop and maintain four Sites of Promise service projects.

Northern Kentucky Educational Services

FRYSC Corps

25

Under direct supervision of Family Resource and Cooperative for Service Center Coordinators, members tutor academically at-risk  students. The program reports success in reading improvement and corresponding improvements in overall academic performance and retention rates.



 

Last Updated 9/30/2005