May 23, 2013
The YWCA Central Alabama had the rare privilege to share its AmeriCorps program with former Pennsylvania Senator Harris Wofford and John Gomperts, President and CEO of America’s Promise. Wofford and Gomperts previously served in leadership positions with the AmeriCorps program. Gomperts served as the former AmeriCorps Director, while Wofford was instrumental in the legislation creating AmeriCorps.
“Wofford and Gomperts have made a significant impact on our country by creating and shaping national service and AmeriCorps,” said Joan Witherspoon-Norris, YWCA Director of Social Justice. “It was a real honor to show them the effects of their previous work on a local scale.”
During their visit, which was coordinated by Christine Williams, Senior AmeriCorps Program Director with Serve Alabama, YWCA AmeriCorps program staff gave them an overview of the YW and the YW AmeriCorps program. Following the overview, Suzanne Durham, YWCA CEO, guided them on a tour focusing on the departments where AmeriCorps members serve. The tour ended with a chance to speak with AmeriCorps members about how their service has impacted their lives and what their plans are after the service term ends.
“Site visits help to spread the word about the awesome impact and major changes that are being made with the AmeriCorps grant,” said Williams. “They also help share the work with national agencies and partners.”
YWCA Central Alabama has 32 AmeriCorps members serving in areas supporting the homeless population, social justice initiatives, child care and after-school enrichment, girl’s and women’s leadership, domestic violence services, persons with disabilities, housing and economic development. Partnering agencies also hosting a YWCA AmeriCorps member include: AIDS Alabama, Children’s Aid Society’s Alabama Pre and Post Adoption Connection, Girls Inc, Girls on the Run, Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama, Heart Gallery of Alabama, Hope Manifest, Leading Edge Institute, One Roof, Pathways, Railroad Park, REV Birmingham, Safehouse, Woodlawn United, Workshops Inc and YouthServe.
Likened to the domestic Peace Corps, AmeriCorps is an opportunity for men and women to serve their communities and make an impact, while also receiving invaluable training and development. The YWCA’s Building Communities, Bettering Lives AmeriCorps Program is possible because of a grant from CNCS and support from Serve Alabama: The Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Volunteer Service.
Each YWCA AmeriCorps member devotes 1,720 hours a year to serving these programs and volunteering with agencies benefitting the metro-Birmingham area. Members continue to further our vision of creating a more caring community and achieving positive changes in the lives of individuals and families whom we serve.
AmeriCorps provides opportunities for 85,000 Americans to give back in an intensive way to their communities and country each year. It consists of three main programs: AmeriCorps State and National, whose members serve with more than 1,840 national and local nonprofit and community groups; AmeriCorps VISTA, through which members serve full time fighting poverty; and AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps), a team-based residential program for young adults 18-24 who carry out projects in public safety, the environment, youth development and disaster relief and preparedness.
The YWCA would like to say thank you to our very special visitors for taking time to tour our facility. We would also like to extend our gratitude to Serve Alabama for choosing our program to showcase and all of our AmeriCorps members for the great work they are doing in our community.
To learn more about the YWCA AmeriCorps program or if you are interested in donating please click here.