Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How It's Made: AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC)


How It's Made:   AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC)
by Lacey Kerfoot, AmeriCorps NCCC Corps Members - Delta 5

Some may be familiar with the television show How It Made? A cadet a documentary program that shows from start to end r' a how common, everyday items are manufactured. Some may also be familiar with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), a federally funded program through the Corporation for National and Community Service. Two AmeriCorps teams have worked with VECA since the end of March 2012.

While residents have seen us at work in their communities, can recognize our khaki and gray uniforms, and can probably place our accents as from somewhere not around here, they may not know what AmeriCorps NCCC really is or what we do.

What is AmeriCorps NCCC?

What happens between the time an applicant hits ''Submit'' on the application and when an AmeriCorps NCCC team arrives ready and eager to work in your community? What type of work do AmeriCorps NCCC teams do? What benefits do the members receive?

What is AmeriCorps NCCC?

AmeriCorps NCCC is a lo-month full-time, residential program for men and women ages 18-24 who are organized into teams of 10-12 members. AmeriCorps NCCC teams serve in five regions of the United States, based out of five regional campuses located in Sacramento, CA; Denver, CO; Perry Point, MD; Vinton, IA and Vicksburg, MS.

What is the application process like?

AmeriCorps NCCC hopefuls complete an application in many ways similar to an employment application.  After it has been sent, applicants must submit fingerprints and pass both a medical and legal clearance process. If everything goes without a hiccup, the applicants go through in a clearance screening, where they respond to questions about their willingness to serve. Once cleared to serve, the Applications enter a pool from which members are chosen for a term of service.

Applicants are finally notified of their acceptance and are assigned to a campus, sometimes months in advance but occasionally just days before the program starts.

What type of training do members receive?

 After new Corps members arrive at their regional campus (in Delta 5’s case, in Vicksburg, MS) and settle into their rooms, they begin the month long process known as the Corps Training Institute (CTI).  During CTI Corps members receive CPR/First Aid and Shelter Management training through the local branch of the American Red Cross. They also receive extensive diversity training that 'Introduces and discusses 'Issues like race, sex, gender, socioeconomic differences, physical and mental disabilities, and language barriers.   All Corps members receive basic tool training and some are given the opportunity to be certified as sawyers (certified to work with chainsaws).

Every time members return to campus between their service rounds, they participate in transitional training, which allows them to reflect on the skills they have learned and apply them to their life after AmeriCorps, Corps members receive training in resume writing, applying to jobs and colleges, and if needed, assistance in acquiring their GEDS.

All you ever wanted to know about AmeriCorps projects.

The Southern Region Campus in Vicksburg assigns teams to service projects lasting 3-8 weeds, to help communities meet their most compelling needs.
AmeriCorps NCCC teams work in communities on disaster services, environ- mental stewardship, energy conservation, urban and rural development, and infrastructure improvement. NCCC members respond to disasters, build and repair homes, develop trails in state and national narks, mentor children and youth, oversee emergency shelters, organize donations of food, clothing and other materials, lead volunteers and meet many other needs identified by communities.

Teams are available to serve national, community, and faith-based non- profit organizations; municipal and state governments; federal agencies and programs; city, state, and national packs; Native American communities; and schools throughout the United States.

What benefits do AmeriCorps NCCC members receive?

While in the program, AmeriCorps NCCC members receive limited health insurance, room and board, meals, and transportation. While Corps members do not receive a paycheck, they do receive a living stipend to help cover the cost of toiletries and incidentals. During their service, AmeriCorps members are also eligible to receive student loan forbearance or deferment.

After their term, if Corps members meet all service requirements, they receive the Segal Education Award (equal to the federal Pell grant) that can be used towards school expenses or to pay off student loans. For the winter 2012 term, the Segal Education Award was $5,550.

Hello from Delta 5, your current AmeriCorps NCCC team - Delta 5 is serving in Memphis; we are working with a number of sponsor organizations in the area. Mainly we work with the Vollintine Evergreen Community Association (VECA) on the V&E Greenline, as well as in various community gardens and completing upkeep on VECA properties. We also work with First Congregational Church, helping with various maintenance tasks and working on their green parking lot, The project includes removing a section of parking lot asphalt along the sanctuary. First Congo plans to plant trees to help silage the sanctuary and parking lot. Delta 5 has also collaborated with the Memphis Center for Independent Living, helping them with their Italian Festival fundraiser. The team is also set to assist the Memphis Heritage Center with their Adopt-a-Door fundraiser.

Interested?

lf you are interested in learning: more about AmeriCorps NCCC or any other AmeriCorps programs, please check out the AmeriCorps website – www.americorps.gov.   lf you have questions concerning Memphis's Delta 5 team, please contact me at LKerfoot@yahoo.com, If you are interested in learning more about how to sponsor an AmeriCorps NCCC team (ie, VECA is a team sponsor), please contact April Bazzi at abazzi@cns.gov or by phone at 601-630-4045. If you see us in your community, come over and say hello!

The housing for the AmeriCorps team must be provided by the local sponsor. VECA is very grateful to the Plough Foundation, which through Rhodes is funding housing for the teams at First Congregational Church’s  Pilgrim House.