September 20, 2017  

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AmeriCorps Program at Southern Miss Receives Continued Funding

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Campus Link AmeriCorps at The University of Southern Mississippi recently received approximately $380,000 in federal funding for 2017-18 to continue its work providing tutoring and mentoring for disadvantaged youth through its public school and non-profit agency partnerships in the Pine Belt. The funding award comes through the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service (MCVS).

Participating students in grades 4-8 receive both in- and afterschool tutoring from AmeriCorps members, said Samantha Jones, director, Campus Link AmeriCorps, which is housed in the USM Center for Community and Civic Engagement. The funding award will allow for the placement of 80 AmeriCorps tutors, which includes USM students, to perform this valuable service, Jones said.

Campus Link AmeriCorps members go to area public schools and afterschool sites to work directly with students who may be falling behind in class or struggling in a particular subject, and give them the one-on-one tutoring their teachers could not otherwise provide in a classroom with 30-plus students. Local service sites include Hawkins Elementary School and the Boys and Girls Club, among many others.

“This program allows high-risk youth to receive the special one-on-one time and attention they would not otherwise receive, both in and out of the classroom,” Jones said. “The overall goal is to reduce high school dropout rates and increase academic engagement and success among the participating students.”

In the 2016-17 program year, 55 AmeriCorps members will have served more than 275 students in 11 different schools and nonprofits agencies by the end of August. To date, approximately 2,500 students in local schools have received assistance through the program.

AmeriCorps members are eligible for educational grant funding for tuition, as well as assistance paying back qualifying student loans. Full-time members can earn a $5,815 education award and receive a monthly living stipend, healthcare coverage, and childcare reimbursement if they are income eligible, by completing 1,700 hours of service. Part-time members can earn an education award of $2,907 by completing 900 hours of service, and minimum time members are eligible for a $1,230 education award by completing 300 hours of service.

“The continued funding of the Campus Link AmeriCorps program is great news for both USM and the Hattiesburg community,” said Christy Arrazattee, director of the USM Center for Community and Civic Engagement. “Our partnership with area schools and afterschool programs is key – we provide support to already existing educational resources to combine efforts and maximize the positive impact on our youth.”

For more information about Campus Link AmeriCorps and the USM Center for Community and Civic Engagement, visit https://www.usm.edu/center-community-and-civic-engagement/contact-us. Individuals age 17 and above interested in becoming a member of the USM Campus Link AmeriCorps team can email maribeth.love@usm.edu or call 601.266.5208 for more information.