"Champions for Change!" 2012 Michigan's AmeriCorps Member CelebrationContact: Jamie Wilson 517-335-7875Agency: Community Service Commission
To kick-off a new year of AmeriCorps service, 500 Michigan's AmeriCorps members gathered in Lansing on November 15 to participate in the AmeriCorps Member Celebration. These members are dedicating a year of their lives to providing intensive, results-driven service in communities across Michigan and came together to celebrate their courage and commitment.
AmeriCorps is a nation-wide, competitive grant program through which organizations can apply to host teams of individuals, called members, to provide service in nonprofits, public agencies, faith-based, and other community organizations. In 2012-2013, more than 1,200 AmeriCorps members in Michigan will provide foreclosure prevention and financial counseling, help homeless individuals and families find permanent housing, organize literacy and tutoring programs for underperforming youth, mentor and support youth from disadvantaged circumstances, preserve our environment, build houses, feed the hungry, recruit volunteers, and more. In return for providing a year service, members receive a modest living stipend and an education award to be used towards college, vocational training programs, or student loans.
"AmeriCorps members spend a year of their lives solving complex community challenges through service," explained Paula Kaiser VanDam, executive director of the Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC). The MCSC is the administering organization for Michigan's AmeriCorps programs, which it does with funds provided by the Corporation from National and Community Service (CNCS). "What these members do makes a huge difference in our state and the AmeriCorps Member Celebration is a way for us to not only thank them for their service, but also to prepare them for the year ahead."
The Celebration also helps members to gain a new perspective on the impact their AmeriCorps service has throughout the state. During the event, members participated in valuable training, networking, and team building opportunities and enhanced their professional development through workshops on leadership, service project planning, and other topics relevant to national and community service. Additionally, they heard from keynote speakers Bill Basl and Reverend Tony Campbell. Basl is the Director of AmeriCorps at CNCS and oversees AmeriCorps programs across the country. In addition to being an MCSC Commissioner, Campbell is also the Vice President of Focused Impact at Heart of West Michigan United Way, the organization which oversees the Schools of Hope AmeriCorps program.
The 2012 Celebration concluded with a swearing-in ceremony which reaffirmed members' commitment to AmeriCorps and national service. Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley led the swearing-in at this year's Celebration. "Michigan's AmeriCorps members are providing outstanding support for citizens in need," said the Lieutenant Governor. "From literacy to health care, and foreclosure to employment needs, AmeriCorps offers solutions to crucial problems in our state. At a time when we're all working together to reinvent Michigan, their assistance is important and we thank them for their service."
The annual Michigan's AmeriCorps Member Celebration is hosted by the Michigan Community Service Commission. It helps prepare AmeriCorps members for their year of service and celebrate their commitment to improve communities across Michigan.
In a recent report released by the MCSC, 2011-2012 Michigan's AmeriCorps members:
- Completed more than 1,000,000 hours of service and training.
- Recruited nearly 19,000 volunteers who provided more than 55,000 hours of service.
- Earned more than $3.5 million in education awards for successfully completing their term of service.
For more information on Michigan's AmeriCorps, visit www.michigan.gov/mcsc.
The Michigan Community Service Commission builds a culture of service by providing vision and resources to strengthen communities through volunteerism. In 2012-2013, the MCSC is granting more than $7.5 million in federal funds to local communities for volunteer programs and activities. The MCSC is funding 23 AmeriCorps programs and six Volunteer Michigan grantees. The Governor's Service Awards and Mentor Michigan are also premier programs of the MCSC. The MCSC is housed in the Michigan Department of Human Services, whose mission is to assist children, families, and vulnerable adults to be safe, stable, and self-supporting. The Corporation for National and Community Service grants the federal funding the MCSC administers.