SUNY Cortland’s AmeriCorps efforts will provide a boost to local community organizations for the fifth straight year, employing up to 25 workers in 2012-13 through a federally funded program run through the College’s Institute for Civic Engagement.
The College’s newest AmeriCorps crop will be funded by a $235,187 grant recently awarded by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and administered on the state level by the Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS). Workers will spend the year serving one of more than a dozen not-for-profit locations in Cortland County.
“We are extremely happy to have been awarded a fifth year of funding,” said Richard Kendrick, the local AmeriCorps project director and the director of the SUNY Cortland Institute for Civic Engagement. “The program is having a huge impact in the community. For that reason, if no other, we’re very pleased to be able to continue.”
SUNY Cortland AmeriCorps, which received its first grant in 2008-09, is a community-based coalition that seeks to increase civic involvement through service. AmeriCorps members agree to devote up to a full year to tutor and mentor disadvantaged youth, operate after-school programs, maintain the outdoors, provide health education and a fill a wide range of other community needs.
For the first time this year, the College has added a new community partner in the Homer Center for the Arts to expand its work in the area of cultural activities, said Kendrick, a SUNY Cortland professor of sociology and anthropology.
Other local organizations that will benefit from AmeriCorps support include: Catholic Charities, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Cortland Child Development, the Cortland City Youth Bureau, Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation District, Family Counseling Services, Lime Hollow Center for Environment and Culture, the Seven Valleys Health Coalition, SUNY Inclusive Recreation, Sustainable Cortland and the YWCA.
“The groups that we’ve had working with us — some of them have been with us the entire five years — have just done a fabulous job,” Kendrick said. “It’s impressive the type of individuals we have working in our programs.”
SUNY Cortland was awarded funding equivalent to 19 full-time positions for 2012-13, which it can allocate in different ways. Kendrick said SUNY Cortland AmeriCorps expects to hire between 20 and 25 people in a variety of full- and part-time positions.
In return for their service, full-time workers will receive an annual stipend of $12,100 to help with housing and food. After completing a year of service, they receive $5,550 to put toward college costs.
SUNY Cortland AmeriCorps is headquartered with the Institute for Civic Engagement in Main Street SUNY Cortland, the College’s downtown building at 9 Main St. It is part of the College’s effort to play a positive role in the community while providing potentially transformational educational experiences for students. SUNY Cortland this year was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction for a second year in a row. It was the College’s sixth consecutive year on the honor roll.
AmeriCorps is one of three initiatives created by the CNCS, a federal organization that engages more than five million people in service to meet local needs. The other two programs are Senior Corps and Learn and Serve America.
Kendrick thanked the CNCS and the OCFS, SUNY Cortland AmeriCorps’ network of community partners, College President Erik J. Bitterbaum and the Cortland area’s congressional delegation, particularly Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Richard Hanna, for supporting Cortland’s efforts.
The SUNY Cortland Institute for Civic Engagement is currently accepting applications for positions.
For more information, interested people may contact Wendy Burton, the program coordinator for the Institute for Civic Engagement, at (607) 753-4270. Possible volunteers may also apply online by searching programs in New York state and looking for SUNY Cortland AmeriCorps.