Qualified local non-profit organizations have been provided with full-time volunteer support through AmeriCorps grants from Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation since 2000. This program, one of the longest running AmeriCorps Programs in Nevada, 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.
“Our community is enriched by the infusion of energy, enthusiasm and intelligence brought by each year’s Parasol AmeriCorps team,” said Claudia Andersen, CEO at Parasol. Andersen said the non-profits benefit from AmeriCorps members increasing their capacity to deliver services and the member’s receive an outstanding experience, led by Allison Eybel, Parasol’s AmeriCorps Program Director.
The members make a powerful impact on the North Lake Tahoe community, Eybel said. Not only in the number of volunteer hours they provide but in the hours provided by other volunteers they recruit. And last year’s AmeriCorps team received the 2013 National Service Impact Award for Environmental Stewardship for its community service project.
The 2013-2014 AmeriCorps team’s community service project will initiate a mentor program with the eighth grade class at Incline Middle School to educate and nurture students before they go to Incline High School next year.
“The major social issues among teens in Incline is racial division within the school, bullying, teen drinking and drug use,” said Megan Heatwole, AmeriCorps team member.
After speaking with local residents and working with some of the teens in the local schools Megan noticed this unmet community need and submitted an application for the mentor program to the AmeriCorps team. The team is already developing a curriculum using team building exercises and activities to address topics like bullying, healthy coping strategies, stress management, respect for cultural diversity, goal setting, and resources to get help, self-care and self-esteem. The team should be ready to implement the program at the school beginning in April.
“This mentorship with the eighth grade class is a small start to an international teen issue, but I am confident that a program like this will stick with the kids for the rest of their lives,” said Megan.