ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — AmeriCorps Rochester will launch a new year of service in our community on September 4 and it is currently seeking new members.
AmeriCorps Rochester Director Rachel Tachco and member Wanya Simmons discussed the program, its benefits, and how you can get involved Friday during News 8 at Sunrise.
“Rochester AmeriCorps is strengthening the community by serving students, kids, and adults through our non-profit agencies,” said Tachco. “So we’re working with places like the Center for Youth Services, The Children’s Institute, The Greater Rochester After School Alliance and a variety of other host sites to help strengthen their missions and support kids and families in our community to get an equitable and fair education.”
Simmons has been a member for the last two years. “It was a great experience for me being able to work in a community and gain a family outside of the school, but as well as in the AmeriCorps program,” he said. “I feel like this is a great opportunity for anyone who would love to join to gain experience in working in their communities or being able to experience just something completely new and just having the opportunities to be able to build a bond greater than themselves.”
As part of his AmeriCorps experience, Simmons has also received an education award for $6,000 which he plans to use toward furthering his education at SUNY Potsdam this fall.
Now it’s time for a new group of AmeriCorps workers to be formed. “We are recruiting for 34 full-time AmeriCorps members and we have a wide variety of folks in the program like Wanya mentioned who develop a great friendship and develop leadership skills,” Tachco said. “So we are looking for folks who are 17 and out of high school and there’s no upper age limit. So we have friends who are joining us who are taking a gap year before college, maybe a gap year before professional school, maybe they’re pivoting careers or coming back from having children and entering the workforce. So some of those benefits that we offer to folks – free health insurance, no-cost health insurance for you. If you have kids 12 or under we’ll pay for childcare. We pay the New York State rate for childcare. We offer you a modest living allowance. It’s $560 every two weeks before taxes, and they get that education award. It’s a little over $6,000 this year. You can use it to pay back your federally backed student loans or use it to further your education like Wanya is.”
Tachco added, “We are starting our next corps and cadre of members on September 4. We do eight days of training at MCC Downtown. They’re our wonderful sponsor for 26 years. So we do leadership development, learning about the community, learning about our host sites. Our members do have a voice in where they are placed.”
To learn more and/or apply to the program, visit the AmeriCorps Rochester website and click the “Join Us” tab when you get there.