AmeriCorps program helps us all

The New York Times reported that the Corporation for National and Community Service including AmeriCorps will be among federal programs Trump’s Administration may eliminate. Cutting AmeriCorps would be a sad mistake that would harm many good programs in West Virginia.

AmeriCorps provides entry level jobs, improves infrastructure and enhances the local culture in Elkins and Randolph County. We all benefit from conservation, education, and preservation AmeriCorps programs that serve our community. We can be proud that we have citizens willing to be part of these great National Service initiatives.

I have worked with AmeriCorps members for 10 years and have seen how they serve our community. AmeriCorps programs guide young people seeking to find their direction in life and allow older people to continue being useful in our local communities. We have benefitted from vibrant and many-faceted AmeriCorps initiatives in Elkins.

My first experience with AmeriCorps came when the Tree Board wanted Elkins to become a Tree City to help get grants for trees. We needed a tree inventory, and we did not have any funding to pay for it.

The city had a new AmeriCorps program and offered to let an AmeriCorps member do the work under the guidance of the Division of Natural Resources. That amazing AmeriCorps member used GPS technology from the DNR to map more than 2,000 trees in the city and identified each tree by species, condition and size on large maps.

AmeriCorps has also been a great help on historic preservation at Kump Education Center. AmeriCorps members have worked on researching, cataloging and organizing historical artifacts and documents.

The Hands on Team has helped scrape, glaze and paint windows, clean out the old barn and basement and repair the plaster in the living room. There has never been a job too tough for the AmeriCorps HOT team.

More recently, AmeriCorps on the Frontline has sponsored our Kump Education Center STREAM Academic Coaches for at-risk student in grades 4-8. There I have seen how much it helps when caring adults work with kids one-on-one.

A caring older person can bring so much perspective to the situations that keep some children in crisis. These students are in danger of dropping out of school because they do not have the attention they need to develop a sense of self-worth.

Our AmeriCorps mentors take the time to build caring relationships with the kids and help them get back on track in school.


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