AmeriCorps volunteers add to KPC atmosphere

Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2001

Kenai Peninsula College has enjoyed the benefits of the AmeriCorps program since 1995.

The national service organization was designed to benefit communities while giving Ameri-Corps volunteers real-life education and work experience wrapped into one.

AmeriCorps members serve in a network of more than 1,000 local and national nonprofit organizations throughout the country in communities like ours. Members receive training, learn teamwork, develop communication skills and gain the personal satisfaction of taking on a challenge. Besides KPC's AmeriCorps program, other local nonprofits such as the Boys and Girls Club, Sterling Head Start and the Economic Development District utilize dedicated AmeriCorps members to supplement existing staff.

AmeriCorps members are tackling tough problems such as illiteracy, hunger and homelessness. Members must be 17 or older and dedicate a year to serve their communities.

In return, they get lots of benefits. Upon completion of the program, members receive a $4,725 education award for college, graduate school or vocational school or to pay off student loans. They also receive a modest living allowance and health insurance during their year of service. But most importantly, they gain invaluable skills for the future.

KPC is excited to welcome two new AmeriCorps members to the staff of the campus Learning Center. Montine Hightower and Jeannie Pate started their year of service this month and are receiving training in the areas of student tutoring and promoting literacy. They will learn the skills they need to be most effective in their jobs. They will coordinate and work with existing programs, agencies and schools in the areas of adult literacy and basic skills instruction, as well as early childhood education and parent education. Instruction also will be given in developing family literacy and accessing community resources.

KPC salutes the AmeriCorps members and truly appreciates their contribution to quality education and literacy in our communities. AmeriCorps is a program that gets things done by promoting the ethic of service and volunteerism. AmeriCorps is something all Americans can be proud of.

KPC also would like to spotlight another new staff member who will strengthen a department that literally keeps the campus running. The maintenance department welcomes Steve Bon to the team. Steve formerly was a KPC student and student employee who established a reputation as an enthusiastic, hard worker willing to tackle any project head-on. His good work ethic makes him a welcome addition to the staff at KPC.

Visit your community campus and you'll see what a good job Steve and his co-workers do.

This column is provided by Suzie Kendrick, community relations coordinator at Kenai Peninsula College.

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