Health and Family Services Cabinet
Kentuckians Pledge to Get Things Done through AmeriCorps; 350 new and returning members begin service year
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 11, 2015) – Today, more than 350 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.
AmeriCorps members serve in one of 12 AmeriCorps state programs serving 78 counties where they will help address unmet local human service needs. About 30 percent of the members in this year’s class are second-year members.
AmeriCorps is a national service program administered by the bipartisan, governor-appointed Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service (KCCVS), part of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), and the federal Corporation for National and Community Service. AmeriCorps members serve nonprofit and faith-based organizations with critical educational, environmental and safety needs. Kentucky organizations receiving grants are dedicated to efforts such as teaching and tutoring children, combatting homelessness, providing drug resistance education, empowering victims of domestic violence, educating the community on disaster preparedness, promoting post-secondary opportunities, offering financial literacy resources and assisting low-income elderly.
AmeriCorps provides service opportunities to members on a full-time (1,700 hours of service per year) or on a less than full-time basis. Members ranging in age from 18 to 80 have signed on for a year of service to their communities and received training to equip them to fulfill their service assignments.
CHFS Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes said the members are up for the challenge.
“You will build skills, leadership qualities and experience to prepare you for a long-term career,” she said. “But you will also become more sensitive to the needs, dreams and pain of others. You will become a friend, a listener, a cheerleader, a coach, a problem solver, a confidante, a taskmaster, and a lifeline to the men, women and children you serve.”
Since its inception in 1994, more than 900,000 men and women have served in AmeriCorps nationally, providing more than 1.2 billion hours of service addressing critical challenges from poverty and hunger to disasters and the dropout crisis.
Since 1994, nearly 10,000 Kentuckians have served more than 15 million hours and have qualified for Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards totaling more than $34.1 million.
KCCVS Executive Director Joe Bringardner said one of the reasons AmeriCorps is so successful is that it expands educational and economic opportunity.
“Serving can mean the difference between getting a degree and becoming a local leader, and never completing college,” he said. “AmeriCorps’ educational funding has made just as much of a difference on Kentucky communities as its programming.”
And, Bringardner said, AmeriCorps is a cost-effective solution to some of Kentucky’s toughest challenges.
“AmeriCorps members make remarkable contributions to Kentucky,” he said. “For more than two decades, they have helped frail elderly people remain in their homes, trained others to respond in the event of emergencies, helped at-risk students catch up academically and, perhaps most valuable of all, they offer a listening ear and a strong desire to help. It is inspiring to others seeking a way to serve.”
Bringardner said that 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.
“Members really do leave a lasting impact,” he said. “They work through local partnerships to expand services and develop sustainable community programs. AmeriCorps members do more than just fulfill a service assignment; they make communities stronger and better prepared for the future.”
AmeriCorps members may serve two full service terms and must be at least 17 years old and legal U.S. residents.
For more information about AmeriCorps or the KCCVS, please visit www.chfs.ky.gov/dfrcvs/kccvs.
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is home to most of the state’s human services and healthcare programs, including the Department for Medicaid Services, the Department for Community Based Services, the Department for Public Health, and the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities. CHFS is one of the largest agencies in state government, with nearly 8,000 full- and part-time employees located across the Commonwealth focused on improving the lives and health of Kentuckians.