AmeriCorps Week Celebrates Madison-Area Volunteers, Service

A national organization is helping children in Dane County communities, and it needs help.

This week marks AmeriCorps Week, and the organization is showcasing its programs and services across the nation, as well as recruiting new members.

Volunteers focus on education, public health and safety, and improving the environment.

In Madison, volunteer mentors meet at the Goodman Community Center, which provides a study hall for local students.

AmeriCorps is partnering with Dane County Human Services to create Partners For After-School Success.

Thirty-five volunteers work at sites throughout Dane County, helping to improve the grades of low-income middle and high school students. The mentorship program also encourages youth development by encouraging the students to take part in community service or after-school programming that improves social and life skills.

“It’s been an excellent opportunity to not only help the students that I’m passionate about working with — obviously I get a chance to help them on a daily basis — but I have gotten an extremely large amount of professional development,” said Ben Traun, an AmeriCorps volunteer and University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate.

Traun eventually wants to be a doctor and is serving his second year with AmeriCorps.

“If you’re looking for some sort of professional experience to build your resume, this is an excellent opportunity to get all those things that a lot of employers are really looking for and at the same time be helping out the community,” said Traun.

Volunteers also get an education award or stipend of about $5,000 for their service.

AmeriCorps Week runs through Sunday. The organization is now recruiting.

For more information, go to www.AmeriCorps.gov.