Spend 11 months giving hope

Spend 11 months giving hope
Notre Dame AmeriCorps volunteer Mariana Romero gathers corn for a local food bank

Notre Dame AmeriCorps is accepting applications from people interested in offering 11 months of service to the Lord by assisting low income, marginalized youth and adults through Hope CommUnity Center, a ministry of the Diocese of Orlando.

The 2014-2015 service year begins September 2, 2014. Accepted candidates can expect to serve about 40 hours per week for 11 months in exchange for a $12,100 living stipend, health insurance for themselves, and a $5,645 education award that can be used to attend college or pay off college debt.

Based in Apopka, Florida, Hope CommUnity Center is a service learning community dedicated to the empowerment of Central Florida’s immigrant and working poor families. The AmeriCorps members get an opportunity to experience a side of Central Florida that tourists – and many residents – never see: a side that is brimming with spiritual and cultural riches but limited economic means.

“If you are interested in living and working in the shadow of Cinderella’s Castle…not at Disney World, but in the “Real World,” apply to become a Notre Dame AmeriCorps member in Apopka,” recommends Laura Firtel, Notre Dame AmeriCorps – Apopka Site Director. “For the right person, at the right time in their life, it is truly a transformational experience.”

Work may include tutoring students, organizing after-school programs, mentoring youth, teaching English classes, serving survivors of domestic violence, and offering parenting and citizenship education.

The program is ideally suited for people 18 years and older who feel called to give back to the community and want to be enriched in the process. Flirtel notes that younger members often find it shapes their future in ways they never expected, while older members find it an enriching way to transition from a more traditional work environment. Parents whose children are now in school and have more free time have an opportunity to learn and serve with people from all walks of life.

“I’ve learned about myself. I’ve learned about others. I’ve seen God at work in every place,” says Stailey Styles IV, a Notre Dame Americorps member from 2013-14.

AmeriCorps is a federally-funded service program, commonly referred to as the domestic Peace Corps, that brings together citizens of diverse backgrounds to serve communities in the areas of education, public safety, human needs and the environment. In 1995 AmeriCorps partnered with the Notre Dame Mission Volunteer Program, a ministry of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, to form the Notre Dame Mission Volunteers – AmeriCorps. Requirements for service include US citizenship or a green card, English proficiency, and a high school diploma.

For more information, please contact Laura Firtel at lfirtel@hcc-offm.org or by telephone at (407) 880-4673. You may also visit www.ndmva.org to apply online.

ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITY for CENTRAL FLORIDA SCHOOLS AND NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS: Partner with Notre Dame AmeriCorps. Host a member(s) for an 11 month term beginning September 2014. Members serve fulltime, are carefully screened, have full FBI background checks and come with a heart to serve. Most have college degrees and many are bilingual. Please contact Laura Firtel for more information.

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