Over 150 AmeriCorps volunteers, along with supporters, alumni, and partners from across the state will kick-off a year of service in West Virginia this week at a Swearing-In Ceremony in Charleston. This year’s ceremony also marks the 25th anniversary of AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA alumni, program staff, service site staff, and other supporters are invited to attend.
"This year on the 25th anniversary of AmeriCorps, we are celebrating that 13,000 residents of West Virginia have served in the program,” said Heather Foster, Executive Director of Volunteer West Virginia, the State’s Commission for National and Community Service. Nationwide, the AmeriCorps Program now has more than 1 million alumni. "AmeriCorps volunteers tackle our state’s toughest challenges and bring West Virginians together to solve problems. But the program is more than just a service project- it’s a workforce development pathway, a career transition opportunity, and an investment in West Virginia’s future. The program builds character, problem-solving skills, and professionalism among those who participate and many go on to important roles in West Virginia nonprofit and public service agencies."
This year West Virginia ranked #2 in the nation for producing AmeriCorps members. Each year more than 1,000 individuals serve as AmeriCorps volunteers in West Virginia. 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; provide children with nutritious meals, increase access to healthy, local food; develop heritage sites and preserve historic towns; recruit and manage volunteers; and much more.
AmeriCorps programs do more than move West Virginia communities forward; they serve their members by creating jobs and providing pathways to opportunity for people entering the workforce. In exchange for a year of service, volunteers receive a living-allowance, money for school, and work experience.
The event, hosted by Volunteer West Virginia, will feature a three-day training and Swearing-In Ceremony for the AmeriCorps members. Award-Winning Civic Strategist and Servant Leadership Coach Tray Deadwyler will kick-off the training on October 21st from 12:15pm-3:00pm at the Charleston Civic Center. Affectionately known as the "Service Nerd", Tray Deadwyler is the Founder and Executive Director of the capacity building nonprofit, Think for Good and is a leader in the National Service field.
The Swearing-In Ceremony will take place on Wednesday, October 23rd from 1:15PM-2:30PM at the Charleston Civic Center. The AmeriCorps members will be sworn into a year of AmeriCorps service. The event will also feature keynote address from Vice Chancellor Anthony Hancock of the West Virginia Community and Technical College System who is an alumni from 1994, the program’s inaugural year.
AmeriCorps members being sworn-in will serve statewide in the following programs: Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area, Appalachia Health Corps, AmeriCorps on the Frontline of School Success, Energy Express, Grow Ohio Valley, High Rocks, Preserve West Virginia, LifeBridge AmeriCorps, Step by Step StrengthCorps, and WVU Collaborative.