Delaware to Mark AmeriCorps Week March 11-17 with Several Events

Delaware State SealNEW CASTLE  – Celebrating the impact that AmeriCorps members have on Delaware’s communities, the state will mark AmeriCorps Week March 11-17 with several public events.

AmeriCorps Week provides an opportunity for Delaware’s 110 AmeriCorps members, alums, grantees, program partners, and friends to shine a spotlight on the work done by members — and to motivate more individuals to join AmeriCorps or to volunteer in their communities.

Whether improving schools, fighting poverty, rebuilding after disasters, providing health services, preserving the environment, or supporting veterans and military families, AmeriCorps members are getting things done. Since 1994, more than 775,000 AmeriCorps members have given one billion hours of service, mobilizing tens of millions of volunteers, and improving the lives of countless citizens.

In Delaware, the theme this year, AmeriCorps Works, communicates the value and effectiveness of AmeriCorps and the programs they support. AmeriCorps state, national and Public Allies members in Delaware will support Connecting Generations, Ministry of Caring, Emergency Services Corps, Habitat for Humanity and the Food Bank of Delaware with service projects during the week. Public events begin Monday with a clean-up at Fairview Elementary School in Dover, where Sen. Tom Carper will address those volunteering, and conclude with work on a Habitat for Humanity home on Friday in Lincoln.

Gov. Jack Markell said Delaware clearly benefits from the service that AmeriCorps members contribute.

“The young people of AmeriCorps bring vitality, enthusiasm and a strong commitment to making a difference to the communities in which they serve. In exchange for their yearlong commitment to giving back, the nonprofit agencies, governments and schools where they serve offer them valuable on-the-job learning experiences. This is the way we build a better Delaware for today and for tomorrow.”

Delaware Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf praised AmeriCorps Delaware for the impact its members will have on communities this week and throughout their year of service.

“Delaware’s AmeriCorps members clearly demonstrate the power of service,” Landgraf said. “This coming week, we will see it when they help to clean up a school’s grounds in Dover or the inside of the Samaritan Outreach and Distribution Center at the Ministry of Caring in Wilmington. We’ll see the difference they make by helping to clear out the interior of a home in Lincoln so Habitat for Humanity can rehabilitate it for a family or by collecting donations all week for the Food Bank of Delaware. Wherever AmeriCorps members share their spirit and skills, they are protecting vulnerable populations and making our communities stronger.”

“One of the most important things we can do in life is to serve others, and AmeriCorps and its members spread that spirit of service throughout our communities and nation,” said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del. “AmeriCorps members dedicate their time, talent, and hard work to make some of our most vulnerable communities stronger and I’ve seen first-hand the positive difference they have made in the First State. Moreover, the program helps AmeriCorps members develop valuable skills though on-the-job training and community engagement. AmeriCorps is a program that works, ensuring a brighter today and tomorrow for Delaware and our country.”

“Volunteerism is a fundamental part of what it means to be American, and I’ve long believed that those who engage in volunteerism and service to others in fact get more out of it than they put into it,” said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del. “AmeriCorps provides a wonderful avenue for people to bring their gifts, their talents and their unique spirit to volunteering. As New Castle County Executive, I helped launch a new AmeriCorps program, the Emergency Services Corps, to help recruit volunteer firefighters, conduct training on CPR and first aid, and provide fire awareness training for schoolchildren across our county. So far they’ve recruited more than 220 new volunteer firefighters and logged more than 100,000 hours of service to our community in the five years since it was created. This program is just one shining example of the hundreds of AmeriCorps programs across our country that are making a difference.”

“As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Everybody can be great because everybody can serve,’ ” said U.S. Rep. John Carney, D-Del. “I commend the dedicated young people in AmeriCorps for answering the call to serve those most in need. They are a tremendous example for others to follow, and I hope that the events of this week inspire even more people in our community to serve others.”

AmeriCorps was created in 1994 under President Bill Clinton. Working through service commissions in each state, it matches a member’s interest to the area in which they would like to volunteer, meeting critical community needs in social services, the environment, emergency preparedness and education. Each year, more than 85,000 people join AmeriCorps, with more than 500,000 members serving since 1994.

In exchange for a year of service in Delaware (1,700 hours), members 17 and older receive:

  • Valuable work experience in their chosen field.
  • $5,350 to pay for college, graduate school or to pay back student loans.
  • Health coverage and loan deferment while in service.
  • In some cases, a living allowance of a minimum of $12,100.
  • The opportunity to meet new people, make new friends and travel.

The list of public events during AmeriCorps Week in Delaware includes:

Monday, March 12: Connecting Generations Youth Ambassadors school clean-up, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Fairview Elementary School, 700 Walker Road, Dover. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., will speak at noon.

Tuesday, March 13: Book event with Public Allies CEO Paul Schmitz, 10 a.m.-noon, Trabant Center, University of Delaware. Schmitz is the author of “Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up.” Public Allies is a national movement grounded in the idea that everyone leads. Its mission is to advance new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participations across the country. Schmitz, who served on President Barack Obama’s transition team, is recognized as one of America’s nonprofit leaders.

Wednesday, March 14: Ministry of Caring Samaritan Outreach Center clean-up, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., 1410 N. Claymont St., Wilmington. Staff members of Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., will be honorary AmeriCorps members as they help with the clean-up.

Friday, March 16: Habitat for Humanity “Interior Demolition,” 9 a.m.-3 p.m., 21064 Mayhew, Lincoln. Open to the public. Habitat for Humanity must clear out the interior of this existing home to rehabilitate it.

All week: At any public event, members of the public can drop off donations for the Food Bank of Delaware.

For more information about AmeriCorps Week, go to https://volunteer.delaware.gov or www.americorps.gov. Or contact Catherine Fox, Marketing and Media Coordinator, at the State Office of Volunteerism, at (302) 255-9745.


Markells Urge Delawareans To Join Week Of Service April 15-21

Governor Jack MarkellDOVER – In advance of the third annual Delaware Week of Service April 15-21, Gov. Markell joins first lady Carla Markell in calling on Delawareans to plan or find special volunteer projects, and for nonprofit organizations to register their volunteer needs at https://volunteer.delaware.gov

The Delaware Week of Service expands on a weekend of service that the Markells hosted in January 2009, in lieu of the traditional Inaugural Ball, and the Weeks of Service in 2010 and 2011. The 2012 Week of Service will coincide with National Volunteerism Week.

“It is always gratifying to me to see residents from every part of our state volunteer their time and talents in service to others,” Gov. Jack Markell said. “The positive difference made by Delawareans goes well beyond the specific service they provide. Their example also encourages others to take the first steps to finding the volunteer opportunity that will turn their own passion into action.”

As first lady, Carla Markell has made the promotion of volunteerism one of her priorities. She urges those interested in being involved with the Week of Service to visit the Volunteer Delaware website, https://volunteer.delaware.gov and to use the key words “Week of Service.” Individuals and groups can log on and choose a project from either one-time or ongoing volunteer opportunities. Organizations also can register their needs and volunteer opportunities.

First Lady Carla Markell“The website is a great way to track the progress we’re making as a state of dedicated volunteers,” Carla Markell said. “We’re so pleased that several Delaware organizations are joining the effort to engage our citizens in volunteer service during the Week of Service, including the State Office of Volunteerism, the Governor’s Commission for Community and Volunteer Service, and others. All of these efforts contribute to the powerful momentum we are building in Delaware.” For the first lady and her family, the idea of connectedness is a powerful one. “Thousands of volunteers in Delaware donate millions of hours of service each year and provide vital services to many of our residents,” she said. “To all of our hard-working volunteers, the Governor and I want to say a personal thank you for helping to make our communities safer, healthier, stronger and more emotionally satisfying.”

Events for the Week of Service include a teen volunteer fair at the Hockessin Library, a teen volunteer presentation at the Kent County Library, and more. The Delaware Week of Service will conclude with a volunteer fair at the Kent County Library from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, April 21. At the fair, the week’s successes will be celebrated and information about ongoing volunteer opportunities will be available.

Rita Landgraf, secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services, which oversees the State Office of Volunteerism, praised Delaware’s volunteers for making a difference in so many people’s lives. “We honor these selfless volunteers of all ages who reach out in support of friends, neighbors and other individuals who are vulnerable. They remind us that every single person matters and that everyone can help. Through their shared spirit of volunteerism, Delawareans show us how powerful actions and ideas can be when they are carried out in the service of others.”

For information about Week of Service events, to list your events or to find ways to get involved, visit https://volunteer.delaware.gov

For more information about the Delaware Week of Service or Volunteer Delaware, go to https://volunteer.delaware.gov, or contact Carrie Hart, Volunteer Service Administrator, at (302) 857-5006.


New Delaware Senior Legal Hotline Will Help Older Delawareans Get Free Advice and Ensure Their Rights

NEW CASTLE (Dec. 15, 2011) – Through the new Delaware Senior Legal Hotline, Delawareans 60 and older can receive free legal advice on a variety of issues.

Advice will be provided by either a Delaware Volunteer Legal Services staff attorney or volunteer attorneys. If the issue requires more than advice, the caller will be screened for free legal services and, if eligible, will be referred to Community Legal Aid Society (CLASI), Delaware Volunteer Legal Services (DVLS) or the Legal Services Corporation of Delaware (LSCD). There are no income requirements for the hotline.

The Delaware Senior Legal Hotline — (302) 478-8850 in New Castle County and (800) 773-0606 in Kent and Sussex counties – is available from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

“With our increasingly complex world, it’s important that Delaware’s seniors have a trusted and free resource like the hotline to turn to whenever the need for legal advice arises,” Gov. Jack Markell said. “Whether the issue involves housing, health care or finances, our older residents should be reassured that help is just a phone call away.”

As Delaware’s older population continues to grow, Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf said the Delaware Senior Legal Hotline will be an increasingly valuable resource.

“The hotline will assist older Delawareans in accessing quality legal services to ensure their rights and financial security,” Landgraf said. “The ability to call the hotline and get answers to legal questions before a crisis arises will benefit many of our older citizens.”

In 2010, the Division of Services for Aging & Adults with Physical Disabilities, in partnership with Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. (CLASI), Delaware Volunteer Legal Services (DVLS) and Delaware Helpline (211), was awarded a three-year Model Approaches to Statewide Legal Assistance grant through the U.S. Administration on Aging. As part of the grant, a “Legal Handbook for Older Delawareans” was printed, a legal needs assessment of older Delawareans was conducted and the Senior Legal Hotline was developed and implemented.

The Delaware Senior Legal Hotline — (302) 478-8850 in New Castle County and (800) 773-0606 in Kent and Sussex counties – is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

For more information about the hotline, call Denise Weeks-Tappan, planning supervisor in the state Division of Services for Aging & Adults with Physical Disabilities, at (302) 255-9390.


Governor to Honor More Than 30 Outstanding Volunteers and Groups for Their Service on Nov. 3

WILMINGTON (Oct. 17, 2011) – Gov. Jack Markell will honor the dedication of more than 30 individuals and groups as he presents the Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Service Awards on Nov. 3 at Dover Downs.

This year’s award recipients participate in such diverse activities as advocating for youth in the court system, opening a shelter for abused women, providing landscaping for nonprofits, teaching others about health and safety, building Native American longhouses, and giving hope and help to others through outreach to those in need.

“Carla and I believe there is no greater service than to serve our fellow Delawareans and neighbors,” Gov. Markell said. “This year’s Volunteer Service Awards recipients truly embody that spirit of altruism. They also demonstrate the power of giving and the ability to inspire others to do the same. With deep gratitude, we honor their leadership, commitment and dedication.”

The Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Awards are sponsored by the Office of the Governor, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, the Division of State Service Centers, the State Office of Volunteerism, as well as the Governor’s Commission on Community and Volunteer Service.

“These award recipients are the epitome of volunteerism and represent the many devoted volunteers who make positive contributions to the First State and inspire others to do the same,” said Anne Farley, Director of the Division of State Service Centers.

The Nov. 3 awards will consist of dinner followed by a ceremony to honor the awardees for their exceptional volunteer and community service to Delaware. The event, at Dover Downs, is open to the public, with registration at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6. Tickets are $30, and are available by calling 857-5006. Or visit https://volunteer.delaware.gov to download the invitation.

For more information about the awards and the Nov. 3 event, contact Carrie Hart with the State Office of Volunteerism at 857-5006.

View the 2011 Outstanding Volunteer Award Winners [PDF]