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Joplin to Get More AmeriCorps Members

Wendy Spencer, the CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees AmeriCorps, says Rebuild Joplin will receive $2,800,000 in AmeriCorps funding...

"We're not leaving Joplin.  We've done a lot of work here.  We've had 350 AmeriCorps members serving this past year.  They've coordinated about 75,000 volunteers.  They're doing all kinds of rebuild work and working with local families and veterans on recovery, and we're here to stay."

The federal investment is projected to generate an additional $1 million in cash and in-kind donations from businesses and foundations as required by all AmeriCorps grants.

The grant will provide a modest living stipend for AmeriCorps members to work full-time in the Joplin area and will also provide them college scholarships.

AmeriCorps members will remain in Joplin for three years.  Spencer says they’ll add an additional 50 workers for the next three years for a total of 150 who will help in a variety of ways...

"Not only will they be doing the actual work themselves, rebuilding homes and working on some of the continued cleanup, but they will also coordinate volunteers who are local or who are continuing to come into the area.  The goal is for our AmeriCorps members to coordinate at least 16,000 additional volunteers over the next three years." 

AmeriCorps members supported by the grant are projected to manage more than 16,000 volunteers to serve more than 300,000 hours over the next three years, helping hundreds of families transition into permanent housing.

Spencer says one of the best features of the grant is how it builds capacity to coordinate volunteers, so she encourages faith and community groups from all over the country to help rebuild Joplin.

Rebuild Joplin will recruit Joplin residents to serve in the new positions.  New AmeriCorps members will also come from across the country.

They’re expected to start work in Joplin sometime in September.

For KSMU News, I'm Michele Skalicky.