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, a Global Youth Service Day Lead Agency by Youth Service America, a Featured Finalist in Innovation and Leadership from America's Service Commissions, a Corporation of National and Community Service (CNCS) Service Impact Award finalist and as "Outstanding Mentors" by the Atlanta Community Tool Bank.
Outcome evaluation for the program shows that AmeriCorps members make a real difference in the lives of Youth Villages students. During the 2015-2016 service year, 86% of students meeting tutoring criteria showed an increase in academic performance by a quarter of a grade level and 100% achieved improved life skills in one or more deficit areas. Over 93% of youth who participated in service learning activities showed an increase in civic engagement and nearly 95% were committed to volunteering in the community upon discharge.
Also in 2015-2016, Youth Villages AmeriCorps service members:
- Dedicated over 38,000 hours to tutoring, life skills, afterschool/summer programming, service learning, classroom assistance and community-strengthening activities.
- Leveraged over 1,700 volunteers for nearly 4,000 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 over 400 hours of afterschool programming focusing on the arts, outdoor activities, skill-building, fitness and academics,facilitated numerous campus-wide events including a career fair, harvest festival, holiday party, and talent show, and engaged youth in community gardening activities and outdoor kitchen lessons.
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 or on Twitter at twitter.com/YVAmeriCorps.