Have you heard of AmeriCorps? For many in South Dakota, the answer is likely no. LSS is one of a handful of non-profits in the state to recently receive funding from Serve South Dakota to implement this important program at our agency.
First, let me put it out there that AmeriCorps members are amazing! We are wrapping up our current program year and it has been great to reflect on what they have done throughout LSS. More on that later…for now, here is a quick background on AmeriCorps.
Funding for AmeriCorps comes through the Corporation for National and Community Service, and is funded by federal dollars. The organization does a great many things, including helping with disaster relief, helping low-income seniors be active in their community and giving college students real world experiences and opportunities to learn. All of their work is in the name of community service to our country.
At LSS, we are fortunate to host 17 members who work in a variety of areas.
- Ten of our members were in our Childcare and Education Services, allowing over 300 children to experience high quality summer and after-school care. Most members served in one of our 21st Century Learning Centers, where many students attend on a sliding fee. Because of our AmeriCorps program, it is one piece of the puzzle that allows kids to get the care they need!
- Members also worked in our Independent Living, Group Care and Residential Programs helping the most vulnerable of kids in our state get resources they need. Members helped youth with job and interview skills, coordinated volunteer projects and helped with homework.
- Hundreds of people are served annually by our Center for Financial Resources. This past year, an AmeriCorps member helped with financial education class delivery and community outreach.
- Our Mentoring Services has greatly benefited by hosting an AmeriCorps member. This person works on mentor recruitment, training and retention. Having this position allowed more Sioux Falls area students to get care and support from a volunteer mentor.
Now that you know a little bit about what AmeriCorps is and how they are put to service at LSS, does it sound appealing? Every time I talk about this program to someone, they say “I wish I would have done that.” AmeriCorps offers a perfect opportunity for college students. First and foremost, they are meaningful positions that give students an intern-like experience by performing significant work that benefits the community. Secondly, many of our positions are part-time, with only 15-20 hours of service needed each week. And the cherry on top of a monthly stipend, AmeriCorps members are eligible for an education award at the successful completion of their term. The funds are from the National Service Trust, and can be used to pay future tuition expenses or used to repay any federally-backed student loan expenses. It is a true win-win-win for college students or recent grads.
LSS currently has AmeriCorps openings in Sioux Falls, Aberdeen and Rapid City. Check out our employment page and apply today!