AmeriCorps members

The 2019-20 AmeriCorps members gather for a week of orientation at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research at the start of the program last September. They received training on relationship building, tutoring strategies and more.

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville was one of only five organizations in Virginia to be awarded federal competitive funding by the Corporation for National and Community Service in support of continuing its Dan River Year AmeriCorps program.

The Institute is seeking applicants for 34 service member positions to start Sept. 1.

“The diligent efforts of IALR staff members Dana Silicki, Jessica Beebe and Audia Harris have helped position our Dan River Year AmeriCorps program as a leading exemplar throughout the state and nation,” said Dr. Julie Brown, director of advanced learning at the Institute. “Thanks to the Corporation for National and Community Service and other partners, we are excited to continue the program’s benefits. Not only do service members enjoy mentoring students, but they also receive professional development, a stipend and an educational award.”

In what the CNCS termed as a “highly competitive year,” the federal agency funded $227,615 for IALR’s DRY program and $93,957 for educational award investment. The funds are intended to help recipients “respond to the most critical issues facing communities in the U.S.”

IALR and the Danville Regional Foundation also have supported the existing program at the Institute. This regional program is designed to build the area’s capacity for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by addressing literacy challenges. Many DRY members are placed in middle schools to coach students and combat this issue, and others are placed in service positions within community organizations; service sites span the Southern Virginia footprint, including Pittsylvania County, Halifax County and the cities of Danville and Martinsville.

According to the CNCS, “a growing body of research shows that service has an effect on more than just the communities served, but also on the members themselves. AmeriCorps alumni credit their year of service for developing leadership skills that bridges divides, solves problems, and opens doors to opportunities that advance their careers and education. In addition, research shows that alumni gain skills and are exposed to experiences that communities and employers find valuable.”

“For more than two decades, Americans have answered the call to serve by pledging to ‘get things done’ as AmeriCorps members. Through their dedication and sacrifice, I know our nation is in good hands,” said Chester Spellman, director of AmeriCorps. “I congratulate all the 2020 grant recipients, who will make service possible for a new class of AmeriCorps members and salute all our AmeriCorps members — past, present and future. Their service will help to create a brighter tomorrow.”

For their service, AmeriCorps members receive a stipend as well as a Segal Education Award of up to $6,000 to pay for college or to repay student loans. To view the list of current openings and to apply for member positions, candidates should visit bit.ly/americorpsopps. For more information, those interested may contact Dana Silicki at Dana.Silicki@ialr.org or (434) 766-6729.

AmeriCorps is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in service through AmeriCorps and Senior Corps, and leads the nation’s volunteering and service efforts. The Virginia Department of Social Services, through the Office on Volunteerism and Community Services, oversees the DRY program and provides support. For more information, visit www.NationalService.gov.

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research serves Virginia as a regional catalyst for economic transformation with applied research, advanced learning, advanced manufacturing, conference center services and economic development efforts. IALR’s major footprint focuses within Southern Virginia, including the counties of Patrick, Henry, Franklin, Pittsylvania, Halifax and Mecklenburg along with the cities of Martinsville and Danville.