This week, March 8-14th, United Way of Central Georgia joins thousands of Americans across the country to celebrate the valuable contributions of the AmeriCorps members who pledge to “get things done” for our nation as part of the annual AmeriCorps Week.
“I am proud to be part of AmeriCorps and grateful for other AmeriCorps members who are getting things done for Georgia,” said AmeriCorps VISTA and Alumni, Jewel Wilson. “AmeriCorps members have made a significant impact on Central Georgia’s ability to meet so many local needs such as improving the economic mobility through financial literacy and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Programs.”
United Way of Central Georgia is proud to have two AmeriCorps service members on it's team: Jewel Wilson and Will Finkelstein. The AmeriCorps Week celebration also honors the contributions and support of thousands of local organizations that make AmeriCorps programs possible. In Central Georgia, there are approximately 25 AmeriCorps members serving. More are needed to help fight poverty.
Every year, 75,000 AmeriCorps members serve through more than 20,000 schools, nonprofits, and community and faith-based organizations across the country. These citizens have played a critical role in the recovery of communities affected by natural disasters like Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, Harvey, and Maria. They also tutor and mentor young people, connect veterans to jobs, care for seniors, reduce crime and revive cities, fight the opioid epidemic, and meet other critical needs.
The Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency responsible for AmeriCorps, marked the 25th anniversary of the program last fall, saluting the more than 1.1 million Americans who have pledged to “get things done” since the program’s inception in 1994. Together, they have provided more than 1.6 billion hours of service and earned $4 billion in education scholarships to pay for college or pay back student loans.
A growing body of research shows that service has an effect on more than just the communities served, but also on the members themselves. AmeriCorps alumni credit their year of service for developing leadership skills that bridges divides, solves problems, and opens doors to opportunities that advance their careers and education. “I first served in 2011 with the American Red Cross in Texas. The skills and knowledge I brought home now help me serve as a Red Cross DAT Responder and Mass Care Lead Volunteer for Monroe County. With my youngest daughter moving off to college, I wanted to serve again. The United Way of Central GA’s Economic Mobility Project provides a way for me to serve my community. If I can keep one person from going hungry or being evicted due to lack of or unbudgeted finances, then I consider my job a success” said Jewel Wilson.
In addition, research shows that alumni gain skills and are exposed to experiences that communities and employers find valuable. Public, private, and nonprofit sector employers have also demonstrated their commitment to hiring AmeriCorps alumni, signing on to be an Employer of National Service, including the United Way of Central Georgia.
United Way of Central Georgia is a leading funder of health and human service organizations that have a measurable impact in fourteen Central Georgia counties and impact the lives of one in four local people annually. The annual campaign supports 43 programs along with 29 program partners. United Way initiatives include READ UNITED, MISSION UNITED, PINK PROMISE UNITED, RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities), Familywize, FIRST STEPS, myfreetaxes.com, Volunteer UNITED, The Merrie Christmas Project and Parents as Teachers. United Way of Central Georgia also funds a free, confidential seven-days a week, 24-hours a day information and referral line serving all of Central Georgia. Dial 2-1-1 to find or give help.