President Bill Clinton signed the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993 to establish the Corporation for National and Community Service and bring all of the domestic community service programs into one central organization. This formally launched AmeriCorps as a network of national service programs.
The first AmeriCorps class in Sept. 1994 had 20,000 members serving in the areas of education, public safety, health and the environment. Since then, AmeriCorps programs have impacted communities and cultivated volunteers around our country. Members have pursued careers in public service after completing their terms or become so involved in communities they have stayed after their term ends.
The Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation AmeriCorps Program is one of the longest running AmeriCorps Programs in Nevada. Since 2000 qualified local non-profit organizations have been provided with full-time volunteer support through AmeriCorps grants from Parasol. This program is essential for local non-profits to help enhance their services in order to meet the needs of our rural community as well as increase capacity and improve program delivery at the organizations.
Parasol’s AmeriCorps members help at after school programs to promote literacy and complete homework assignments, create programs for local teens, provide educational programs in everything from environmental education and ecology to domestic violence and nutrition. This is only a sample of what members do in our community and of course they work with all ages from very young children to our senior residents.
Our community is enriched by the infusion of energy, enthusiasm and intelligence brought by each year’s Parasol AmeriCorps team. Non-profits benefit from AmeriCorps members increasing their capacity to deliver services. And our member’s receive an outstanding experience, led by Allison Eybel, our award-winning AmeriCorps Program Director. It’s truly a win-win-win,” Claudia Andersen, CEO of Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation said.
Parasol’s team members come to Tahoe from all parts of the country with knowledge, talents and passions for making a difference in our community. The members are managed by Parasol’s AmeriCorps Program Director, Allison Eybel. Allison has first-hand knowledge of the role of an AmeriCorps member after serving in 2008 as an AmeriCorps volunteer at the Tahoe Rim Trail Association. Now she is helping other young people make a difference in our community.
“My favorite part is being able to identify new community needs and then being able to be a part of the solution to help,” Allison said.
In September 2012, Allison kicked off Parasol’s 13th year with the 2012-13 team. It is the largest full-time team ever for Parasol and it is the first time that six members remained to complete a second term. Allison said the program has consistently had high recruitment and retention rates.
At Incline Elementary School, having a science and outdoor education program to enrich the current curriculum has created excitement, activities and enthusiasm about science for the elementary students. Parasol is very excited to provide a grant for Laurel Frederick, to serve as an AmeriCorps member at Incline Elementary School in the science and outdoor education program. Parasol‘s AmeriCorps members do make a difference and provide solutions to community needs.
The American Red Cross, Northern Nevada Chapter is not only able to have a presence at Lake Tahoe with its office space but through Parasol’s AmeriCorps grant they also have a full-time volunteer in the office. Parasol’s AmeriCorps members have been sent all over the country to help the American Red Cross with relief efforts after hurricanes, tornadoes and fires.
Each year Parasol’s AmeriCorps members get things done for Tahoe. Allison said one of the reasons that so much can be accomplished is organizations do not only get one team member, but the entire team becomes involved to make a difference. The members make a powerful impact on the North Lake Tahoe community not only in the number of volunteer hours they provide but in the hours provided by other volunteers they recruit. The 2011-2012 team provided more than $1,054,265 in volunteer value, served 29,269 hours and recruited and managed 2,099 community volunteers that served an additional 19,114 hours.
One way the entire team always makes a statement in the community is through the annual community Trail of Treats and Terror event. For the past few years the Parasol AmeriCorps team members have planned and coordinated activities, decorations and volunteers in the Donald W. Reynolds Community Center for the event. They have been rewarded with more than 1,000 community members each year in the DWR Center to experience this safe and fun way to trick-or-treat.
At the current time the 2012-2013 team is embarking on a team service project that will have positive impact in the North Lake Tahoe community. Watch for details of this exciting project as it unfolds.