The federal AmeriCorps service initiative is a valued Shaw Center partner. For five years the Center employed a NYCC AmeriCorps VISTA Program Coordinator, who collaborated with faculty, staff, students, and community members to address defined needs and improve campus-community partnerships.
Education Award Program
The Mary Ann Shaw Center for Public and Community Service has received a grant to support 25 part-time AmeriCorps community service positions. The grant from New York Campus Compact, New Yorkers Volunteer, and the Corporation for National and Community Service will be used to support the recruitment of college students to volunteer in their communities—helping to increase the capacity of local nonprofit organizations and schools, and meeting critical community-defined needs.
The AmeriCorps Education Award Program currently operates on 15 campuses across the state. Overall, 350 college students will participate in the program this year, and will contribute approximately 105,000 hours of service to their local communities. Through the Education Award Program, college student volunteers in New York will be eligible to earn $1,175 upon successful completion of 300 hours of service. Collectively, students across the state will receive more than $400,000 in education awards. This year’s program will focus on education and economic development, aiming to increase mentoring of disadvantaged youth and create more jobs across the state. In addition, members will also engage in activities from flood relief efforts to health and wellness education.
The Shaw Center was selected as one of four locations to pilot the program in 2010. During that pilot, 9 undergraduate students completed 2700 hours of service at Syracuse schools and community agencies. Syracuse University students earned over $10,000 in AmeriCorps education awards, which could be immediately applied toward their student expenses. In 2011-12, Shaw Center has capacity to recruit 25 students for the program.
AmeriCorps VISTA, or Volunteers in Service to America, is a national service program that was created more than 40 years ago through the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to fight poverty. It has become known colloquially as the domestic version of the Peace Corps. AmeriCorps VISTAs commit to a year of full-time, indirect service in a nonprofit agency or local government agency. In 2003, New York Campus Compact (NYCC) partnered with CNCS to work with institutions of higher education in areas of community engagement and service learning. NYCC VISTAs work with faculty, staff, students, and community members to address community defined needs, acting to improve the collaborations between the campus and the wider community. The Shaw Center has hosted four VISTAs in recent years: Patrick Marcil, 2006-2007; Colleen McAllister, 2007-2009; Laura Notarangelo, 2009-2010; and Amanda Stessen, 2010-2011.