AUGUSTA — Volunteer Maine, the state service commission, approved funding of eight Maine AmeriCorps programs with a total of $1,567,600 using monies provided by the AmeriCorps federal agency. These initiatives will be bolstered by an additional $296,940 in local funds and in-kind contributions.

Volunteer Maine awarded grants to two new AmeriCorps programs, the town of Van Buren’s AmeriCorps Five to Ninety-Five and the UMaine Center on Aging’s Lifelong Maine AmeriCorps Program. Both AmeriCorps programs began on Sept. 1.

The Commission authorized funding for eight AmeriCorps Maine programs. These awarded funds support a total of 167 new AmeriCorps service members who will bolster COVID-19 response, conservation, community development, childcare, K-12 education support, elder services, and social services throughout the state in 2021-22.

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) recently passed by Congress includes an additional $1 billion for AmeriCorps programs throughout the nation. As a result, Maine AmeriCorps service members will benefit from increased living allowances and benefits thanks to an additional $274,113 in federal monies in ARPA funding for Maine’s programs.

2021-22 Maine AmeriCorps grant awards (listed by program name followed by grantee in brackets):

AmeriCorps Five to Ninety-five (Town of Van Buren), Van Buren: $32,600/2 members

AmeriCorps Mentoring Program (Alfond Youth & Community Center), Waterville: $32,600/2 members

AmeriCorps Resilience Corps (Greater Portland Council of Governments), Portland: $227,790/14 members

First4 AmeriCorps (Kennebec Valley Community Action Program/Educare Central Maine), Waterville: $108,360/14 members

Lifelong Maine AmeriCorps Program (University of Maine System/UMaine Center on Aging), Bangor: $133,497/16 members

Maine Conservation Corps AmeriCorps Program (Maine Conservation Corps), Augusta: $784,504/88 members

Maine Energy AmeriCorps Program (University of Southern Maine), Lewiston: $166,749/26 members

Main Street Fellows AmeriCorps Program (Maine Development Foundation), Hallowell: $81,500/5 members

AmeriCorps Five to Ninety-Five’s two service members will tutor and foster healthy social and physical activity for youth in North-Central Aroostook County, in addition to providing to elder services and engagement in the region.

Lifelong Maine AmeriCorps Program will dispatch 16 AmeriCorps service members to be deployed to communities that have plans to be age-friendly communities. Lifelong Maine AmeriCorps Members will then help implement age-friendly plans.

Maine Conservation Corps AmeriCorps Program, modeled in part after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps New Deal program, will begin its 24th consecutive service year in January 2022.

For the past year, thousands of AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers throughout Maine have continued their service, quickly adapting to meet the changing needs caused by the pandemic. Dedicated members have persisted to support communities as they respond and recover from the impact of COVID-19, developing new ways to deliver the same services to keep both themselves and those they serve safe. For example, AmeriCorps Resilience Corps sends members to local governments in the Greater Portland Area to help plan community response efforts against COVID-19. Likewise, Maine Energy AmeriCorps Program connects Mainers to jobs in booming “green” sector by imparting valuable skills in energy efficiency and clean power so that everyone can rebound from COVID-19 pandemic’s economic devastation.

Organizations are currently recruiting AmeriCorps members. AmeriCorps members typically receive a modest living stipend and a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, or scholarship, upon completion of their service. The award can be used to pay for future education costs or to pay back student loans. Those interested in serving can learn more by visiting serviceyear.org/serveinmaine.

Since the program’s inception in 1994, more than one million people have served in AmeriCorps, providing more than 1.4 billion hours of service and have earned more than $3.3 billion in education scholarships to pay for college or pay back student loans, more than $1 billion of which has been used to pay back student loans debt. All figures in the previous paragraph provided by the AmeriCorps federal agency.