Double the Impact with AmeriCorps

Americorps_logoThanks to AmeriCorps, YVC of Racine County is able to offer twice as many projects for youth to serve on than it used to.

Since being awarded an AmeriCorps National Direct grant this summer, YVC Headquarters has been able to offer AmeriCorps members to support YVC programs all over the U.S. and help them connect to more youth in their community.

Before recruiting an AmeriCorps member at her program, Michelle Ortwein, the Program Director of YVC of Racine County, ran all aspects of the local YVC program. She planned projects, supervised youth on those projects, coordinated other logistics that came up, marketed the projects to the community and more. She was only able to offer about one YVC project a month during the school year, and she relied on community volunteers to help run summer projects.

Shakela Johnson - 2013-2014 AmeriCorps member

AmeriCorps Member Shakela

Ever since AmeriCorps member Shakela Johnson started with YVC of Racine County, they have offered at least two Saturday projects a month as well as extra projects on school days off.

“We’ve literally doubled the amount of events we’re able to offer,” Michelle says. “I can concentrate on finding opportunities and contacting potential volunteers, and Shakela can facilitate events.”

The additional support that Shakela provides has refreshed YVC of Racine County in more ways than just time, too.

“It’s a lot more fun!” Michelle says. “Shakela has the energy and enthusiasm to meet with the students. She’s great with the youth and a natural leader for them.”

They’re able to pursue new ideas to liven up their service projects, including playing soccer with a group of inner-city kids to keep them engaged in activities outside of school.

“The new perspective has given us time to pursue new ideas to keep youth engaged in volunteering,” Michelle says.

With YVC Headquarters administering the grant, YVC of Racine County and the other YVC programs thriving under AmeriCorps support can focus on the important task of getting youth in their communities hooked on volunteering.

Youth on a project with YVC of Racine County last summer

Youth on a project with YVC of Racine County last summer

“AmeriCorps has been a great fit for YVC of Racine County because people who apply for AmeriCorps positions tend to already be service-oriented people,” Michelle says. “Who can better inspire our youth to volunteer than someone who already has that passion herself?”