Community service – with a twist


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – It’s community service, with a twist.

The Americorps on Indiana State University’s (ISU) campus is rewarding volunteer work.

Americorps is a domestic version of the Peace Corps. Making a difference for others and getting a paycheck.

That’s what members of the Sycamore Service Corps at ISU do.

“How the program works is it’s a national grant-funded program… You actually get awarded for doing volunteer work,” said Jennifer Christian, program director.

By definition, it is a contradiction, paid volunteers,

“It’s not only a chance to volunteer, but you receive support, monetary support,” said Brianna Lloyd, White Violet Center volunteer.

If you complete a certain number of community service hours, you’ll receive an education award that goes toward college expenses and loans and living expenses.

“I volunteer because I want to volunteer, but it’s also nice to have some financial support,” said Lloyd.

But you don’t have to be a college student to participate.

“If you’re a community member, if you’re retired or just want to give back to the community, it’s a way for you to still be involved but not have a rigorous 40-hour week job, you can set your own hours,” said Christian.

Joining the Sycamore Corps provides training and professional development.

“It looks great on a resume. It gives you some life experience. You’re giving back to your community,” said Christian.

It’s a two-fold benefit.

“You’re giving back to your community and you’re being rewarded for that,” said Christian.

If you volunteer, you can even transfer the education awards to someone else.

“To receive, then give back a little, just helps the whole process function better,” said Lloyd.

For more information about this program and how you can apply, head to their website. Opportunities are still available to make a difference in the lives of Wabash Valley residents this year and get paid for doing it.

Sycamore Service Corps has openings remaining with numerous community partner organizations in west-central Indiana for the 2013-14 funding cycle.

Volunteers accepted into the program may receive a living allowance in exchange for their service and an education award ranging from $1,175 to $2,114 upon completion of their contract.

Partner organizations with positions available are:

•        American Red Cross

•        Chances and Service for Youth

•        Developmental Services Inc.

•        Happiness Bag

•        Institute for Community Sustainability

•        McMillan Adult Day Service

•        Salvation Army

•        Terre Haute Children’s Museum

•        Vigo County Juvenile Justice Center

•        Wabash Valley Health Center (formerly St. Ann Clinic)

•        Other sites may be available

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