New community help program launched for Miami students

A new $1 million community service program will start when classes at Miami University resume this month and it will benefit both participating students and local assistance agencies, said school officials.

The $1 million over three years for Miami’s “Service+ AmeriCorps” program comes from the state’s “ServeOhio” commission on community service and volunteerism and in its initial school year of 2022-2023 will pay 41 students to serve at 18 nonprofit organizations throughout Butler County.

The new Service+ AmeriCorps program will also be supported by privately solicited funds.

Students who are accepted as Service+ AmeriCorps members will serve 450 hours from August through May at a designated host site, said Miami officials.

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Kara Love, Miami’s regional coordinator of service learning & volunteerism, said the new program “serves two purposes.”

“The first is to support our nonprofit partners, and the second is to create an opportunity for students who are passionate about community work but who might not have been able to devote themselves to ongoing service opportunities in the past,” said Love.

“Providing financial and professional benefits to students who want to volunteer while attending Miami has the potential to be a true game changer.”

Student applicants chosen for the program will each be paid $4,500 divided over the nine-month program.

The program is open to all Miami students who have completed at least one semester at Miami.

AmeriCorps is a federal agency for volunteerism and national service that provides opportunities for Americans to serve their country domestically, address the nation’s most pressing challenges, improve lives and communities, and strengthen civic engagement, according to a released statement by Miami officials.

Each year, the agency places more than 250,000 AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers in intensive service roles; and empowers millions more to serve as long-term, short-term, or one-time volunteers.

The Miami students chosen to participate won’t be doing the usual, hands-on volunteer work but rather will be placed in positions where they can apply their college learning and skills to benefit the entire community assistance program they are working for, said school officials.

“Rather than direct service, students will provide capacity building support to address organizational and community challenges resulting from the pandemic. Over time, the student impact in these specialized roles will result in increased resources, volunteers, and partnerships that expand the scale, reach, and impact of the nonprofit organization.”

For participation information go to Miami’s website.

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