Over 200 AmeriCorps members from across the state will kick-off a year of volunteer service in West Virginia this week at a training event and official Swearing-In Ceremony in Charleston. Currently, West Virginia ranks #1 in the Nation for producing AmeriCorps volunteers. Special guests will include the Director of AmeriCorps Chester Spellman and socially conscious hip hop artist Devine Carama.
"The AmeriCorps members who pledged to "get things done" represent the best of America," said Chester Spellman, Director of AmeriCorps. “Today, these AmeriCorps members became a part of a legacy of service that demonstrates the great promise and ideals of our country. I am proud to welcome them to the AmeriCorps family and salute them for their service."
This year West Virginia ranked #1 in the nation for producing AmeriCorps members. Since 1994, more than 13,000 West Virginia residents have served more than 19 million hours through AmeriCorps. Many volunteers serve in their hometowns, while others come from across the country to make West Virginia their home for the year. AmeriCorps volunteers tutor and mentor children; provide children with nutritious meals through summer months; increase access to healthy and local food; develop heritage sites and preserve historic towns; and recruit and manage volunteers.
AmeriCorps programs do more than move West Virginia communities forward; they serve their members by creating jobs and providing pathways to opportunity for young people entering the workforce. In exchange for a year of service, volunteers receive a living-allowance, money for school, and work experience.
The event will feature a three-day training and service project for the AmeriCorps members. Socially conscious hip hop artist, community activist, and motivational speaker Devine Carama will kick-off the training on October 10th from 3:00pm-4:30pm at the Charleston Civic Center. Devine Carama is the Director of the Lexington, Kentucky nonprofit Believing in Forever Inc, which motivates young people through expressive art, mentoring, education, and community service. Devine Carama has spoken to over 50,000 youth across the country. AmeriCorps members can also opt into a service project at the Charleston Boys & Girls Club at the Salvation Army on Thursday, October 11th from 8:30AM – Noon.
The Swearing-In Ceremony will take place on Friday, October 12th from 1:15PM-3:00PM at the Charleston Civic Center West Hall. The AmeriCorps members will be sworn in by Presidential Appointee, Chester Spellman, Director of AmeriCorps at the federal Corporation for National and Community Service. The event will also feature an AmeriCorps Member Recognition Award for an outstanding AmeriCorps member from 2017-2018.
AmeriCorps members being sworn-in will serve statewide in the following programs: Appalachian Forest Heritage Area, Citizen Conservation Corps of West Virginia, AmeriCorps on the Frontline, Energy Express, Grow Ohio Valley, High Rocks Educational Corporation, Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, LifeBridge AmeriCorps, Step by Step Strength Corps, WVU Collaborative Direct AmeriCorps, West Virginia HealthCorps. Additional programs represented include Conservation Legacy Stewards Program, YouthBuild North Central, WV’s Promise AmeriCorps VISTA, and WV Strong AmeriCorps VISTA projects.