Each year, AmeriCorps offers over 75,000 opportunities for adults of all ages and backgrounds to serve through a network of partnerships with local and national nonprofit groups. The Youth Villages AmeriCorps program began in 2000 and has been recognized by Innovations in Civic Participation as one of the 52 most innovative AmeriCorps programs in the country. The program has also been selected as the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta Volunteer Team of the Year, Featured Finalist in Innovation and Leadership from America's Service Commissions for two years, and as a finalist for a Corporation of National and Community Service (CNCS) Service Impact Award.
Outcome evaluation for the program shows that AmeriCorps members make a real difference in the lives of Youth Villages students. For students referred for tutoring during the 2014-2015 service year, 82% showed an increase in academic performance by half a grade level and 92% achieved improved life skills in one or more deficit areas by 35%. More than 90% of youth who participated in service learning activities showed an increase in civic engagement and 92% were committed to volunteering in the community upon discharge.
Also in 2014-2015, Youth Villages AmeriCorps service members:
- Dedicated over 35,000 hours to tutoring, life skills, afterschool/summer programming, service learning, classroom assistance and community-strengthening activities.
- Leveraged over 2,000 volunteers for over 5,000 hours of service, including youth in care, corporate/civic groups, and individuals, to meet both campus and community needs, and provided community-strengthening activities to numerous local nonprofits and organizations.
- Offered nearly 500 hours of afterschool programming focusing on the arts, outdoor activities, skill-building, fitness and academics, and facilitated numerous campus-wide events including a career fair, harvest festival, holiday party, MLK Day service celebration, and talent show, among others.
- Provided assistance to older youth seeking college or vocational school enrollment, job training opportunities, and employment as they transitioned from residential care into the community.
The Youth Villages AmeriCorps team also responds to victims of Georgia natural disasters by providing emergency relief and volunteer assistance as part of the First Saturday initiative. The program accepts member applications throughout the year, with service start dates in late September and late January. Please go to AmeriCorps.gov to apply, or contact Nandi Cotton for more information. Join us on Facebook at facebook.com/youthvillagesamericorps.