Deciding to render a helping hand to the needy and the community at large is a commendable deed; this is why several National Service Programs like AmeriCorps are created to give people like you a broader frame of opportunity to help humanity both within and outside the U.S.
To help you get a better understanding of AmeriCorps or any other National Service Program, we have detailed this article to cover what you need to know about AmeriCorps and the benefits you could get if you volunteer to serve with the program, as well as alternative programs like AmeriCorps.
What is AmeriCorps?
Officially, AmeriCorps is known as the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) or sometimes called the domestic Peace Corps.
AmeriCorps is an independent voluntary civil society program supported by the U.S federal government. The program engages more than 700 thousand Americans in intensive result-driven service each year through the different AmeriCorps programs:
- AmeriCorps VISTA
- AmeriCorps NCCC
- AmeriCorps State and National
- Americorps Senior
- The Volunteer Generation Fund
AmeriCorps aims to make neighborhoods safer, teach children to read, build affordable homes, and respond to natural disasters nationwide by cleaning up rivers and streams, helping seniors live independently, providing emergency and long-term assistance to victims of natural disasters, and meeting other community needs.
If you wish to be an AmeriCorps volunteer but are worried your job or school might not make you accessible to be fully committed, you need not worry. AmeriCorps volunteers can commit to full-time or part-time positions in education, public safety, healthcare, and environmental protection.
As a U.S citizen or a lawful permanent resident alien, you are eligible to serve with the AmeriCorps civil society. Although you won’t get paid, being that you have volunteered to serve, you will get a monthly stipend to help with rent, groceries, and other basic expenses.
What are the Benefits of Americorps?
Asides from the monthly stipends, there are other benefits of serving with AmeriCorps, such as:
- Living Allowance: During your service term, you will receive a modest living allowance which could amount to $16.502 a year and is subject to income tax.
- Education Award: After you have completed your service term, you may be offered an education award – the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. The price of the award may amount to about $6,495, which you can use to pay off some educational expenses such as student loans or future tuition payments.
- Networking: There is an alumni AmeriCorps network that provides its members with special benefits and resources such as access to the citywide and national AmeriCorps network for future opportunities and general networking.
- HealthCare: This is taken care of through a special AmeriCorps healthcare plan with Cigna Healthcare, and it basically covers medical, dental, and eye care.
- Professional Development: AmeriCorps is considered by so many of its members a stepping stone to a successful career plan. The Employers of National Service network is an opportunity AmeriCorps provides to help connect you to hundreds of employers from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors committed to hiring alumni. Once you’ve completed your service term, take advantage of the opportunity to kick-start a successful career.
What are Some National Service Programs?
The first National Service Program established was the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). It was created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression in March 1933.
Since then, other National Service Programs have been created, such as:
- Works Progress Administration
- Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA)
- Foster Grandparents
- Peace Corps
- Retired Senior Volunteer Program
- Senior Companions
- USA Freedom Corps
- Youth Conservation Corps
In search of ideas for your volunteering week, see these 20 Best Volunteering Week Activity Ideas here.
15 Best Programs Like Americorps in 2022
There are several National Service Programs like AmeriCorps in 2022, but here is a list of the top 15:
- International Volunteer HQ
- Love Volunteers
- Habitat for Mankind
- The Corps Network
- Teach for America
- Peace Corps
- Big Brother Big Sisters of America
- Youth Build
- Orange County
- City Year
- Pacific Discovery
- Youth Corps
- Save Volunteering
- Policy Allies
- Civic Justice Corps
#1 International Volunteer HQ
International Volunteer HQ offers volunteers the opportunity to operate in healthcare facilities, so in doing this, you become more experienced in the medical field. However, you would have to commit for a year and complete 12 significant projects. The program, like AmeriCorps, supplies risk-free, accountable, and budget-friendly opportunities.
#2 Love Volunteers
The Love Volunteers program allows you to work closely with neighborhood young people while teaching them about multiculturalism, civic rights, a healthy way of living, and the neighborhood. Anyone is eligible for this program, although it would be of more interest to you if you have an interest in Eastern Europe, as you will be operating primarily in Moldova, an Eastern Europe country.
#3 Habitat for Mankind
The Habitat for Mankind program aims to show that humanity has a decent place to live, so they provide housing solutions to as many people as possible by building stability, security, and self-sufficiency. You can offer to help people build, fix or restore their houses.
#4 The Corps Network
The Corps Network is a wonderful alternative program to AmeriCorps. It engages mostly youths in the community. When you volunteer, you will be assigned to help renew areas, build civic spirit through service, and protect and recover the atmosphere.
#5 Teach for America
Teach for America is constantly looking for leaders that will help expand educational chances in neighborhoods. Currently, the program has greater than 8,200 instructors in over 35 urban countries and neighborhoods. So if you are looking to volunteer as a teacher, this could be the program for you.
#6 Peace Corps
This program offers a chance for inspired changemakers to immerse themselves in a community abroad, volunteering to work side by side with local leaders of the community to which you’ve been sent. To enroll in this program, you must agree to complete a 2-years position.
#7 Big Brother Big Sisters of America
BBBS of America is the largest donor and volunteer-support civil society in the USA. The society boasts of successfully providing about 78% of the youths in the program with a mentor, and 43% of these youths live in households where food stamps and welfare are provided.
#8 Youth Build
This program aims to provide opportunities for youths to build the skillset and mindset that will lead to lifelong learning, livelihood, and leadership.
#9 Orange County
Orange County is a nonprofit organization devoted to establishing deep and significant client experience with different services used by teams of nonprofit professionals and companies. They also support peaceful protests of people exercising their constitutionally protected First Amendment rights to speak out against injustice and racism.
Therefore, volunteering to serve in this program means helping the organization provide solutions to support other nonprofit companies and making you a civil rights activist.
#10. City Year
City Year is an anti-racist organization devoted to actively promoting diversity, inclusivity, and equity, ensuring that everyone experiences a sense of belonging. When you enroll, you will work with diverse teams of people with different backgrounds, and you will be posted to serve in schools and classrooms across the country, addressing issues of educational inequality.
#11 Pacific Discovery
This program offers you the opportunity to participate in service-learning trips across the world for summer and semester-long adventures. It focuses on six major components: educational travel, service learning, cultural and language immersion, sustainable adventure travel, outdoors and wilderness exploration, and personal and leadership development.
#12 Youth Conservation Corps
The Youth Conservation Corps program is also known as Conservation and Service Corps. And like AmeriCorps, it is built on the legacy of the CCC and has a network of programs with one goal. That is, to engage its members, particularly young adults, in community service, workforce, development, and education.
#13 Save Volunteering
The program offers you an opportunity to serve in Africa’s wild and beautiful arable land. It has its headquarters in South Africa and several branches in countries like Kenya, Malawi, and Ghana. If you have been searching for an opportunity to volunteer in Africa, this is your ticket. Most of the works done are in the educational, wildlife conservation, community development, and construction sector.
#14 Policy Allies
The Policy Allies is a national movement committed to making a difference in social justice through service, engaging, and activating the leadership of all people. The program usually lasts for ten (10) months and is open to all, so long as you are over 17 with a high school diploma or GED and a U.S citizen or a permanent resident.
#15 Civic Justice Corps
The program engages formally incarcerated or court-involved youths aged 18-24 in community service projects and work experience, vocational training, and academic intervention for skill improvement and career development.
If you have the drive always to help people, enroll in AmeriCorps or any other National Service Program like it, as suggested in this article, and get connected with many people like you.
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