Notre Dame AmeriCorps has been supporting the day-to-day operations of non-profits around the country for thirty years, and for many of these organizations, the members’ service is vital to their ability to live their mission.
A teacher’s assistant kneels beside a child having a difficult day, an environmental educator holds a wriggly worm in front of wriggling kids and describes the creature’s role in composting, a translator steps in with a mono-lingual family to gain access to the services they desperately need—these some of the roles people take on when they dedicate a year of their life to service with Notre Dame AmeriCorps. As an NDA Site Director, I partner with sites in Cincinnati, Dayton, West Virginia, and Kentucky to support the AmeriCorps members in their year of service, and I remain surprised that more organizations are not jumping on the NDA bandwagon.
Four things a non-profit needs to become a partner site of NDMVA:
- You have the goal of promoting and encouraging education, community empowerment, leadership development, and multicultural harmony in your community.
- You have a need for support in the work you do.
- You commit to providing financial support. AmeriCorps members give a year of their life to service, and in return, they receive a living-wage stipend, health insurance, professional development, and an education award. This cost is shared by partnering sites and Notre Dame Americorps and partnering sites must be able to contribute the site fee of ten thousand dollars.
- You are willing to provide guidance to the AmeriCorps members throughout the year.
Ready to sign on? You’ll need to ask yourself one more question: How can you play a role in recruitment? The NDA Site Director scours applications, attend career fairs, and screens prospective candidates. However, what has proven to be most successful in recruiting members is the involvement of partnering organizations. A school found a parent to serve as a teacher's aide this year by posting the position in their newsletter. An environmental organization found two people interested in a possible career in environmental education by creating a vibrant post on their website. Taking an active role in recruitment not only helps sites find AmeriCorps members, but the members also they find tend to already be deeply committed to the organization’s work. Last year, three of my partnering sites went on to permanently hire their AmeriCorps members.
When asked to explain why she partners with NDA, Grace Williams, Big Laurel Learning Center Director, explains, “With a very small staff, our AmeriCorps members are crucial. They serve with so much joy and energy. As an NDA alumnus myself, I can relate to their experience. Connecting with the broader AmeriCorps community is rewarding, and I enjoy learning what others are doing in their communities.” Empowering community members have always been a team effort. NDA, the inspiring people who believe in a year of service, and your organization can create lasting positive change by working together.
Jodi Pickering, NDA Cincinnati-Dayton Ohio/Nazareth-Covington KY/Kermit West Virginia Sites Director