On June 4, 2018 Volunteer Mississippi hosted its annual “Celebration of Service” at the Jackson Convention Complex to honor over 300 AmeriCorps Mississippi members of all ages and backgrounds who completed their term of service this year.
The program featured a keynote presentation from Chester Spellman, Director of AmeriCorps State and National at the Corporation for National and Community Service. Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba also made a special presentation to the members on behalf of the City of Jackson.
Director Spellman thanked and congratulated the newly minted AmeriCorps Alums for their service to America and to Mississippi.
"You've helped demonstrate the value of AmeriCorps to our communities, and people are taking notice," he said.
New to the Celebration of Service this year was the “Life After AmeriCorps” Opportunity Fair where public and private sector organizations convened to speak with AmeriCorps members about service and employment opportunities that are immediately available within their respective organizations once the AmeriCorps members complete their year of service. Among them were several Mississippi colleges and universities and members of the United States military.
"Our AmeriCorps members have done a tremendous job serving Mississippians of all ages and backgrounds this program year," said Monica Ritchie, executive director of Volunteer Mississippi. "Celebration of Service is our largest event of the year, and just one of they ways we show our appreciation and promote national service in our state."
Upon completion of their service, full time AmeriCorps members earn the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award of up to $5,815 from the National Service Trust. Members have up to seven years to use the award to pay for higher education expenses or apply to qualified student loans. Most AmeriCorps members will complete their term of service on or before August 30, 2018.
During the 2017-2018 program year, Volunteer Mississippi supported 10 AmeriCorps programs that engaged 535 individuals serving as AmeriCorps members throughout our state. Six programs focused on education, preparing Pre-K students to successfully transition to kindergarten, and tutoring and mentoring K-12 students throughout our state. Three programs focused on healthy futures, providing communities the opportunity to eat healthily and lead active and healthy lives. One program focused on environmental stewardship, refurbishing our Mississippi Gulf Coast lands.
AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent federal agency created to connect Americans of all ages and backgrounds with opportunities to give back to their communities and their nation.