Three Newish Service Corps Recruiting Right Now

Innovative national service and fellowship programs focus creatively to solve serious social and environmental problems in our communities. At the same time, programs offer participants a chance to learn new technical and people skills, develop new social networks, and become part of a solution.

Currently, there are hundreds of diverse service corps working around the world – and right now, three relatively new programs are recruiting. See anything that is right for you?

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Be like the First Lady! (Photo: The White House Flickr feed)

FoodCorps (inaugural year!)
Application deadline: April 10th
Locations: Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon

FoodCorps is a brand-new, year-long service opportunity to help solve the obesity epidemic. Participants will build and/or tend school gardens, teach kids about food and nutrition, and coordinate farm-to-school programs in grassroots nonprofits, local health departments or farms.

Blue Engine (recruiting its second class of fellows)
Application deadline: April 6th
Locations: Public high schools in New York City

Blue Engine is recruiting recent college grads to facilitate daily, differentiated, small-group instruction for high school freshmen in order to increase the rigor of academic preparation for high schoolers so that when the students enter college, they are prepared to succeed there.

ProInspire (recruiting its third class of fellows)
Application deadline: February 25th
Locations: Nonprofits in Washington, DC

ProInspire recruits experienced business-sector professionals to play critical analytical or strategic roles in nonprofits in the Washington, DC-area during one-year Inspire Fellowships.

And that’s not all!

Many, many more service corps exist. Most are for people age 18 and up, and many have no upper age limit. The key to success in participating in a corps is to find the right one for you. To see a long list of corps and coalitions, check out The New Service blog and explore the Service Corps pages in our Career Center.

Are you thinking of a term of service? What programs are you considering?

Cross posted from Idealist.org.

Emerging Corps: Blue Engine’s Nick Ehrmann

Blue Engine's Nick Ehrmann

The New Service podcast show features a service program tackling the challenges of college completion for students from low income families. Blue Engine is now accepting applications for its 2010-11 corps.

In 2010, a new national service corps is getting off the ground. Blue Engine, based in New York City, aims to recruit a corps of about a dozen fellows for the 2010-2011 school year to facilitate daily, differentiated, small-group instruction for high school freshmen.

Our guest is Nick Ehrmann—Blue Engine’s engine and a Teach For America alum— who says that we know how to get high-needs kids into college, or getting them “college eligible” — nonprofits and schools have been targeting and tackling hurdles like high school completion, college admissions, and financial assistance.

But, while the high school drop-out problem is far from solved, groups are paying far less attention to college completion rates for high-needs kids, or “college readiness.”

Blue Engine aims to close the gap between college eligibility and college readiness.

After graduating from Northwestern University in 2000, Ehrmann began his career in education as a Teach for America corps member in Washington D.C. In 2002, he joined forces with local philanthropists to launch the nonprofit “I Have a Dream” Project 312, a youth development program for Nick’s fourth-grade students. In the fall of 2003, he began doctoral work in sociology at Princeton University as a William G. Bowen fellow.

Over the past three years, Nick spent months shadowing his former students in high school classrooms, living with their families, and conducting extensive interviews in the local community, where he has witnessed firsthand the negative effects of academic underperformance on the transition from high school to college. His dissertation—Yellow Brick Road—is scheduled for defense in the spring of 2010.

Idealist’s Amy Potthast talks with Nick about the Blue Engine fellowship, its application deadlines (March 10 and April 28, 2010); the gap between college eligibility and true college readiness; and why it’s crucial to expect more out of high schoolers in order to prepare them for high school and college success, and beyond.

Listen to the show here.

AmeriCorps St. Louis to Launch Career Corps in September — and Seeking Applications

Picture 1More stimulus-funded AmeriCorps members to hit the ground running.

A partnership between the Missouri Department of Economic Development and AmeriCorps St. Louis — with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — will put 32 AmeriCorps members on the ground throughout Missouri to assist job seekers visiting the state’s career centers.

According to the St. Louis Beacon, the AmeriCorps members will extend the human resource capacity of the job center staff by helping job seekers use computers to find online job boards and to create resumes. They may also offer workshops, hold mock interviews with job seekers, and hold career fairs.

From the position announcement, corps members will serve in teams of up to six members at Career Centers across the state of Missouri:

Members will provide one-on-one and small group support in accessing and entering information. In addition, members will provide one-on-one assistance in resume writing and interviewing skills.

Over the course of the 10.5 month term of service, in addition to their regular daily assignments, each team of Members will be expected to organize at least one community event (e.g. job fair), enlist creative resources in the community that results in expanding or enhancing the capacity of center staff (e.g. media), and engage a minimum of five additional volunteers (per team Member) who will contribute an average of 10 hours in a done-in-a-day or on-going service (e.g. job mentors for those recently released from prison and/or displaced workers who are beginning new careers).

Interested in applying to be part of Career Corps? Learn more and apply!

Princeton to Launch an International Service Year for Pre-College Students

Princeton will send admitted first-year students out into the world for 9 months of international public service.

Princeton student Zach Ruchman teaching in a Vietnam Classroom

Princeton student Zach Ruchman teaching in a Vietnam classroom

This fall, Princeton’s new Bridge Year Program aims to offer 20 admitted students a chance to live in a different culture, develop maturity and an international perspective, and a commitment to public service before coming back to Princeton to start their freshman year in the fall of 2010.

The program will teach the participants about host country health and safety, offer them language instruction, and place them in “humble service” projects at grassroots organizations, clinics, hospitals, schools, and orphanages. The goal is for participants to take on roles appropriate to their age and experience, and in jobs “that could not be held by local workers.” — My read on that last goal is they want to prevent the high school grads from displacing local jobs, not to imply that local workers are incapable of work that Princeton-bound kids can handle.

The Bridge Year participants will live in home stays, in communities near a few other Bridge Year participants, and near in-country support staff from partner organizations experienced with coordinating international volunteers.

Best of all, Princeton picks up most of the program costs — though participants who can afford it are responsible for flight Continue reading

New, Stimulus-funded AmeriCorps Programs Getting Off the Ground

New short-term AmeriCorps programs, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, are getting off the ground.

President Obama signed his stimulus bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, on February 17th, 2009. It included additional $201 million in funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service for AmeriCorps State and National, and AmeriCorps VISTA programs.

Funding has gone to existing programs to increase the number of open positions, and it’s also gone to organizations already running AmeriCorps programs, to create brand-new, short-term corps.

One example of a new stimulus-funded AmeriCorps program is the Oregon Community Action Corps — now accepting applications for 24 full-time AmeriCorps positions serving throughout the state of Oregon. OCAC will operate out of the American Red Cross Oregon Trail Chapter here in Portland, which also operates the state’s largest AmeriCorps State program, the Oregon State Service Corps and our largest VISTA program Clara Barton VISTA Corps (both are currently recruiting, also).

AmeriCorps members with the Oregon Community Action Corps (OCAC) serve individually or in small teams at Continue reading

Mayor Bloomberg Appoints a City Year Staffer as NYC’s First Chief Service Officer

Photo by Ed Reed, Office of the Mayor

Photo by Ed Reed, Office of the Mayor

This week, New York’s Mayor Bloomberg announced that Diahann Billings-Burford will be New York’s first Chief Service Officer.

Billings-Burford — who’s coming from an external affairs role at City Year New York — will lead an innovative new municipal effort that Bloomberg launched earlier this year called NYC Service.

The initiative promotes volunteering and service, with the goals of making New York “the easiest place in the world to volunteer,” finding ways for volunteers to address the impacts of the economic downturn, and”setting a new standard for how cities can tap the power of their people to tackle our most pressing challenges.”

Billings-Burford’s work will include implementing the agenda spelled out in the NYC Service Report (PDF).

One new project — sponsored by Big Brothers Big Sisters — is a campaign to bring 2000 new mentors into 51 high needs middle schools through Middle School Mentors. Mentors would spend eight hours a month with a middle school student, “being their friend in Continue reading

New National Youth Service Programs to Launch in the Philippines

Riverman 72 - Flickr

Riverman 72 - Flickr

Last week, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed an executive order to establish two branches of national youth service.

The programs will include the National Service Corps and the Youth Conservation Corps. Projects will include cleaning up the environment, planting trees, building parks, teaching, and establishing food banks, and more.

Both new programs will recruit people ages 18-24 to commit to two years of service in exchange for a chance to improve their communities, build skills, and earn modest pay.

The National Youth Corps is intended to offer “unemployed or underemployed skilled [Filipino] youth or college graduates a chance to contribute to education and community service programs.”

The Youth Conservation Corps is intended to connect “unskilled or less educated [Filipino] youth” with service Continue reading