INA, Ill. (June 8, 2016) – Rend Lake College students will continue to volunteer in local communities next year, thanks to the renewal of the AmeriCorps Grant. Valued at approximately $440,000, the grant helps students with training and educational awards to both give back to others and continue down the path of higher education.
Amanda Bernard, Director of Land of Lincoln AmeriCorps, said RLC completes a grant application annually for the program for submission to the Serve Illinois Commission, a directive on volunteerism and community service. This application includes many different factors about RLC’s AmeriCorps program for the future year.
“We describe what our focus areas are and what our projected outcomes will be,” said Bernard. “We also outline our partners and sites where our students will be and lay out a plan for the year. One big part of the application process is showing there’s a need in our area and how we can make improvements on that need.”
The $440,000 grant will help with training next year’s AmeriCorps members and provide for educational benefits for those students. This includes a monthly living allowance; funds for training throughout the year, CPR certifications, background checks, and fingerprinting; and a four-day, three-night training at the beginning of the academic year to get AmeriCorps members geared up for a year of service.
“The Rend Lake AmeriCorps program is one of the oldest in the state (starting in 1994), and one great aspect is that it lets us work with other communities and colleges in the area to provide needed services,” said Bernard. “We work with Southern Illinois University (Carbondale), John A. Logan College, Kaskaskia College, and many nature reserves and nonprofits in the area. RLC students have the opportunity to interact with all these partners throughout their year of service.”
RLC is currently seeking more students to get involved with the AmeriCorps program for the 2016-17 academic year. Throughout the year, members provide literacy tutoring for pre-K through grade 8 students in local schools. In return, these students receiving the living allowance and an educational award to help finance their future higher education.
There are currently 26 AmeriCorps programs across the state with approximately 1,700 member positions. According to the Corporation for National & Community Service, over 800,000 individuals have served in AmeriCorps across the country, culminating to one billion hours of service.
The Land of Lincoln AmeriCorps Statewide program is part of the national service initiative signed into law by President Bill Clinton and administered through state governments. The Illinois Commission on Community Service and Volunteerism serves as the state’s lead agency to administer AmeriCorps. The Commission operates under the Illinois Department of Public Health.
For information about AmeriCorps or to complete an application, contact Amanda Bernard at 618-437-5321, ext. 1351 or[email protected].