Health and Family Services Cabinet
Kentucky AmeriCorps Launches a New Service Year; Now in its 15th year, program still getting things done
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 2, 2009) – Last night, more than 300 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 commonwealth.
Members are assigned to one of 13 AmeriCorps state programs serving 115 counties where they will help address unmet local human service needs. About one-third 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).
During the induction ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Lexington, KCCVS Commission Chair Aaron Anderkin led the members and program directors in the AmeriCorps pledge of service.
CHFS Secretary Janie Miller said she welcomes the new and returning AmeriCorps members to the program.
“AmeriCorps members truly make a difference, and I am proud of the enthusiasm and zeal these members bring to their service in Kentucky,” she said. “Our AmeriCorps programs have grown each year as more Kentuckians choose to contribute to their communities in these difficult economic times when the need is even greater.”
Members ranging in age from 18 to 73 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 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 childcare 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 www.volunteerKY.ky.gov or call toll-free (800) 239-7404.
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