AmeriCorps Members Honored for Service and Commitment

March 11, 2016

When a resident in one of YWCA Central Alabama’s Woodlawn apartments recently asked about computer classes for adults, AmeriCorps member Demi Eckhoff answered the call. At the time, adult computer instruction was not offered at the YW’s Family Resource Center in Woodlawn where she serves, but that didn’t stop Eckhoff. She simply decided to start a program.

A few months later, the woman was comfortable with email and other computer programs and began completing online job applications with Eckhoff’s help. The client recently got a job in the home health field. “I was so excited when she told me,” said Eckhoff, adult education specialist at the center. “It made my week.”

That’s one example of how the YW’s “Building Communities, Bettering Lives” AmeriCorps members are changing lives all over Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair and Blount counties. The 40 members were recently honored at a breakfast in conjunction with National AmeriCorps Week and were praised for their service to the community.

“You are sacrificing part of your life to make someone else’s life better,” Angela Moore, assistant director of AmeriCorps for the YWCA, said during the event. “Today, we just wanted to give you an inkling of how much we appreciate you and how valuable you are. You have truly made a difference.”

A national service initiative, AmeriCorps is similar to the Peace Corps, but members serve within the United States rather than internationally. Since its inception in 1994, more than 900,000 members have contributed 1.2 billion hours of service across America.

YWCA has partnered with Serve Alabama and the Corporation for National and Community Service since 2009 to administer the AmeriCorps program. Members serve with the YW and its 16 nonprofit partner agencies in the areas of homelessness, social justice, child development, girls and women's leadership, housing, domestic violence and economic development.
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Jon Mason, director of Serve Alabama, said the YW’s program is one of the state’s largest and most diverse, in terms of service sites and areas of focus. “The YWCA has been a strong partner,” he said.

AmeriCorps members receive a monthly stipend of $1,000, health insurance, student loan forbearance, a child care subsidy and an education award of $5,730 at the end of the service year. Members serve from September to August and gain valuable work experience while impacting lives.

The YW is currently accepting applications for the 2016-17 program year. For more information, contact Angela Moore at americorps@ywcabham.org.
 
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