AmeriCorps seeks volunteers

Energy Express AmeriCorps is recruiting volunteers to spend the summer weeks helping children living in rural and low income areas of West Virginia to maintain or gain reading skills through Energy Express of West Virginia University Extension Service. Energy Express is a summer reading and nutrition program for children.

Two sites are being conducted in Randolph County. The Davis & Elkins College site in Elkins will operate from June 23 through Aug. 1. The Tygarts Valley Middle/High School site in Mill Creek is scheduled to begin June 23 and end July 25. Each site can serve 40 children who are entering first through sixth grades. Applications for children to attend will be available the beginning of May at county schools.

The Energy Express program is designed to help shape the lives of the children, but in the process, the volunteers often have a life changing experience, too.

Any person age 13 or older with an interest in helping children can volunteer at Energy Express. Volunteers are needed Mondays through Fridays, with the exception of Independence Day, July 4. Volunteering is flexible, as volunteers can choose to help one hour, one day, one week or every day. Any amount of time is appreciated.

Although there are many different tasks that Energy Express volunteers can help with, the main role of volunteers is to ensure each child participant receives 20 minutes of one-on-one reading every day. In addition to one-on-one reading, volunteers can read aloud to a small group of children, listen to a child read or help children with journaling and bookbased art and drama activities. Volunteers can also help with clerical duties (answering phones, copying), sorting objects in the supply room, assisting with noncompetitive recreation, setting up tables for family-style meals, cleaning up after children leave or assisting with special activities such as community service projects.

Volunteers can help with any and all of these activities or just one specific activity. If you are thinking of volunteering, but have a specific area you would like to help with, call Amanda Johnson, Randolph County WVU Extension Agent at 304-636-2455, email or visit the county office at 32 Randolph Avenue, Suite 102, Elkins.

Another way you can help is to donate found objects for the two sites. Items needed include foam egg cartons, paint containers/palette, paper bags (all sizes), paper towel or toilet paper tubes, large appliance boxes, wallpaper sample books, magazines with lots of pictures, packing materials (foam peanuts or shredded paper), empty cereal boxes, newspapers, containers (cardboard oat containers, plastic cottage cheese or yogurt containers, margarine bins), buttons and beads, used file folders, wrapping paper, freezer paper, butcher paper, cotton balls, feathers, string, thread, yarn, empty spools, textured fabrics and other materials (wool, leather, silk, netting, flannel, plastic, bark, velvet, sandpaper, screening), clothesline and clothespins, socks and pantyhose, old clothes (hats, scarves, gloves), foam meat trays (if used, clean with water and bleach), plastic rings from sixpacks of soft drinks, shower curtains or old sheets and plastic buckets from delicatessen.

These objects will be used for sculpture, decorating book covers, collage, illustrations, art, personal storage, drawing, painting, puppets, costume making, cardboard box construction, book making, portfolios, jewelry making, dramatic play, and drop cloths, to name a few. The objects may be dropped off at the WVU Extension Service office at 32 Randolph Ave., Suite 102, Elkins.

The program is currently accepting applications for summer employment for mentors and community coordinator at the Tygarts Valley Middle/High School site. Mentors and the community coordinator are AmeriCorps positions.

AmeriCorps mentor minimum qualifications are: 18 or older by June 12, 2014, U.S. citizen, full-time undergraduate or college-bound graduating high school senior, or May 2014 college graduate or December 2013 college graduate without full-time employment. Mentors serve directly with children and make learning fun for small groups of school-age children by creating an enriching environment focused on reading, writing, drama and art. Mentors also eat breakfast and lunch with the children a valuable time to develop strong bonds.

The AmeriCorps community coordinator minimum qualifications are: 18 or older by June 12, 2014; U.S. citizen; and high school diploma or equivalent. The Community Coordinator serves directly with volunteers, raise awareness and involve parents and the community with children’s learning. Community coordinators recruit, train and supervise volunteers to read with children and engage in other activities at the site.

Go online and visit for specific AmeriCorps application and complete job descriptions.

AmeriCorps Members are required to serve on-site every day for at least six hours and to serve some evenings and weekends to meet all service responsibilities and requirements.

Programs and activities offered by the West Virginia University Extension Service are available to all persons without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran status, political beliefs, sexual orientation, national origin, and marital or family status. Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution. Consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act, applicants needing reasonable accommodations during the employment process should advise as necessary.