Just heard of AmeriCorps? Here's a quick intro...
AmeriCorps Members serve in community organizations, helping them achieve their mission through direct service and expanding community volunteer support. Since 1994, more than 7,400 Maine residents have served approximately 11 million hours and earned education awards totaling over $26 million.
Individuals who want to serve apply directly to AmeriCorps programs that match their interests. AmeriCorps programs may offer several types of positions -- not just different types of tasks but also different lengths of commitment. Someone could serve in AmeriCorps during summer break and then serve in another program after graduation from high school or college. It's a great gap year experience or a transition to retirement!
AmeriCorps members who serve full-time receive a modest living allowance, student-loan forbearance, health coverage, and child care (if needed). Every AmeriCorps member who completes their term of service qualifies for a Segal Education Award . This award can be used to pay off qualified student loans or to finance college, graduate school, or vocational training at eligible institutions.
AmeriCorps members who are 55 years of age or older at the start of service can assign their education award to a child, grandchild, or foster child.
Local programs set most member qualifications based on the service activities. (Examples: need drivers license, speak a particular language, willing to camp in remote areas.) The federal requirements for everyone are
- the person must be at least 17 years old and out of school - no upper age limit;
- need to prove citizenship or status as a legal alien; and
- agree to a criminal history background check.
AmeriCorps programs do provide ADA accommodations to help individuals serve.