This summer, CYC sat down with students who left school early to listen and learn from their experiences. Their insights were invaluable as we as an organization—and, going wider, as the educational sector—begin the work of rebuilding after COVID-19.
Introducing our 2020 AmeriCorps Members
The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on new and old community needs across America. From contact tracing and food delivery to the tutoring of students falling behind in school, the needs can feel overwhelming. National service through AmeriCorps continues to provide a glimmer of hope in communities across the country, and Colorado is no different.
We’re thrilled to welcome 80 AmeriCorps members this week to serve for the next year with Colorado Youth for a Change (CYC). These are recent college graduates who are looking to gain experience and give back to local communities. These are recent high school graduates looking to take a gap year. These are retirees, parents, grandparents, veterans, and community members looking to make a difference.
Keep reading to learn more about CYC’s AmeriCorps members: who are they, how will they impact your community, and how can you show your support?
Who are they?
- 93% are from Colorado
- Welcome to those outside of Colorado, including New York, Massachusetts, Alabama, Ohio, and Wyoming
- 22 AmeriCorps members are returning for 2nd year of service
- Age range: 18 to 71 years old
Two AmeriCorps programs reside within CYC – Corps for a Change and Colorado Reading Corps – and both provide direct service to students. Corps for a Change supports high school students with the skills and advocacy to put them on a path toward graduation. Colorado Reading Corps is an early literacy program that serves kids from Pre-K to 3rd grade, building essential foundational reading skills.
The 2020-2021 school year will look different because of COVID-19, with one-on-one tutoring and wraparound support being provided remotely at some of our sites. AmeriCorps members will also support specific community needs resulting from the pandemic: connection to basic needs, internet and technology support, volunteering with local school banks, virtual tutoring, and more.
All AmeriCorps members are trained on CYC values and how to work with children and youth. Our approach through an equity lens creates a platform of inclusion as many AmeriCorps members continue onto careers in the education and human service fields after their year of service. In fact, nearly half of CYC’s staff members are AmeriCorps alumni themselves.
“I understand how my skills are valuable but also how some of my natural predispositions are sort of rare, and it is my responsibility to spread those skills and my energies into these systems to change them. It is really no lie to say that this program changed every single thing in my life. I am so happy to have been a part of it and can’t imagine who I’d have become if it weren’t for Corps for a Change.” 2019-2020 AmeriCorps Alumni
How you can support CYC’s AmeriCorps programs?
- Virtually volunteer with professional development – topics include: resumes, interviewing, networking, budgeting, communication skills, and leadership development
- Donate gift cards for restaurants or grocery stores to help support these members
- Pledge your volunteer support alongside AmeriCorps members on one of the national days of service: 9/11 Day of Service, MLK Day, and Cesar Chavez Day
- Link your King Soopers or Amazon Smiles accounts to support CYC
- Follow us on social media and share stories
- Help us get the word out by inviting CYC to speak at community events or sharing more about AmeriCorps
More About AmeriCorps as a National Movement
In 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt issued an executive order as a part of his New Deal legislation that created the Civilian Conservation Corps. The aim of the CCC was to lower high unemployment rates as a result of the Great Depression. Members were mobilized primarily to serve in environmental conservation projects, and they made possible many of the national and state parks we enjoy today, including Red Rocks Amphitheater.
The AmeriCorps program was based heavily around its predecessor, the CCC. In 1994, the first class of AmeriCorps service members took their oath committing to building a better future for the United States through national service.
The first class of AmeriCorps members pledged to “get things done for America,” and that sentiment continues today. The AmeriCorps program was founded on the idea that all Americans have a part to play in creating a stronger America for all citizens.
This material is based upon work supported by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) under Grant #18AFHCO0010015. Opinions or points of view expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of, or a position that is endorsed by AmeriCorps.