Media contact: Ike Crumpler (772) 201-9996
AmeriCorps wants you
Help wanted for those who want to help others in need
HOBE SOUND—From feeding families in need to helping children learn to read, they emerged during the pandemic as a different kind of rapid responders. Now they’re recruiting a new task as the social concerns of a community in crisis continue.
So for anyone looking to rediscover their purpose, experience excitement and uplift the lives of others, Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County’s (BGCMC) AmeriCorps program has just the role for you.
The acclaimed national service organization, AmeriCorps, partnered with BGCMC in 2018 and they are now recruiting the third class of Corps members. BGCMC offers 55 spots for anyone seeking to serve the local community and gain valuable work and life experience—all while earning a biweekly living allowance, and receiving healthcare benefits, federal student-loan forbearance, and a post-service education grant.
This motto for this year BGCMC AmeriCorps class is “Find Yourself by Serving Others.”
Traditional BGCMC AmeriCorps members’ tasks of mentoring students in 10 public schools and encouraging citizenship, healthy lifestyles and academic success take on increased significance now. Schools are reportedly readying to reopen amid broad concerns from educational experts that the “COVID slide,” coupled with the summer slide, poses unprecedented learning-achievement gaps for numerous students.
Students from vulnerable communities generally face even higher risks. And Martin County’s prevalence of English-language learners compounds the challenge of bridging the achievement gap.
Fortunately, AmeriCorps counts among its local ranks individuals such as Judith Morales, who mentors students at Anderson Middle.
“AmeriCorps gives me the opportunity to give back to my community while getting the foundation necessary to implement my experiences later in life,” says Morales, who started with AmeriCorps in 2019 while completing her bachelor’s in Human Services from Indian River State College. “AmeriCorps has inculcated my distinctive abilities with a new appreciation for my country.”
Throughout the COVID crisis, BGCMC’s AmeriCorps members worked alongside BGCMC staff members and community partners in sourcing and serving nearly 100,000 meals to families and children, often working with marginalized communities even more impacted by the economic shutdown.
Right now, AmeriCorps members are providing literacy and academic help to some of the more than 102 children at Gertrude Walden Child Care Center in East Stuart.
“It gives the kids that one-on-one time they need to really hone in on the skills they’re not grasping,” says Thelma Washington, executive director at Gertrude Walden. “When you have that one-on-one time and make that connection and give examples the kids can practice, the lightbulb goes off and everyone is happy. I love them and so do the parents.”
Meanwhile, even as the school closures in March cut short their work assisting students with literacy interventions, mentoring and whole school supports in five elementary and five middle schools, they joined other BGCMC team members in helping kids online at the virtual club, Club Connect.
“At the onset the pandemic understandably struck fear in the hearts of many and the economic upheaval only increased the anxiety,” says Keith “Fletch” Fletcher, president and CEO of BGCMC. “But for many others, the overwhelming need ignited a desire to get right out there, get involved in finding those most in need of help, and get busy making a difference on their behalf.
“That’s the profile of the AmeriCorps member,” Fletcher continues, “a willingness to help however possible—and we’re all so grateful for them.”
For eligibility, AmeriCorps members must be at least 17 years old, pass a national service criminal background check, and be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or lawful permanent resident-alien. Full-timers serve 1,700 hours and part-timers perform 900 hours.
The organization calls for reliability, passion, commitment, a team-oriented spirit and a readiness to make a difference.
• Biweekly living allowance
• Healthcare coverage
• Childcare benefits as needed
• Professional-development training
• Federal-student loan forbearance
• Segal Education Award upon completion
To apply, visit BGCMartin.org/AmeriCorps or email AmeriCorps@bgcmarting.org.
About the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County
For more than 29 years, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County has provided award-winning programs designed to guide and inspire young people ages 6-18 to learn, grow and mature in route to becoming successful adults. Each of the four clubs enjoys strong partnerships with local schools and communities. Such cohesion ensures that Boys & Girls Clubs’ programs complement and enrich the curriculum our members learn in class as well as remain attuned to the challenges and opportunities they face on a day-to-day basis. The clubs offer opportunities for fun, fitness, S.T.E.A.M. activities and certified teacher work with club members on everything from tutoring and homework help to specialized courses that prepare them for careers in a variety of trades.