Presentation on theme: "Welcome to NATIONAL SERVICE! AmeriCorps Member Lawrence Regional Orientation September 1, 2011."— Presentation transcript:
Welcome to NATIONAL SERVICE! AmeriCorps Member Lawrence Regional Orientation September 1, 2011
Hand Outs Please be sure to sign in, and Please make sure you have the following Agenda Powerpoint Slides Member Handbook (note program may have some differences, such as the voting leave policy) AmeriCorps State Versus AmeriCorps VISTA The AmeriCorps Pledge Grievance Procedures Segal AmeriCorps Education Award FAQ Education Award Internet Resources Translating Your Service into Job Speak Jane B. Doe - Chronological Resume example Career Development Self-Assessment My AmeriCorps Member/Applicant Guide (Program Directors Handbook- for staff only)
National Service What is national service? How does Heartland Medical, the United Way of Douglas County, the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, or Communities in Schools of Kansas fit into national service?
What is AmeriCorps? It is the “DOMESTIC Peace Corps”
Peace Corps The Peace Corps traces its roots and mission to 1960, when then-Sen. John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries. From that inspiration grew a federal government agency devoted to world peace and friendship.
AmeriCorps AmeriCorps is often called the “DOMESTIC” Peace Corps! You have decided to join a national movement which is similar to the Peace Corps, but provides services to American citizens. In particular you are joining AmeriCorps “State”, which serves within Kansas.
History of National Service - CCC One example of national service is the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) which was created in the 1930’s to provide opportunities for millions of young people to serve 6 to 18 months to help restore the nation's parks, revitalize the economy, and support their families and themselves. CCC workers constructing road, 1933 Source: Franklin D. Roosevelet Library and Museum; Wikipedia
History of National Service – Senior Corps Another example can be found in the 1960’s when older Americans were engaged in a range of service activities through the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), the Foster Grandparent Program, and the Senior Companion Program (which together are known today as Senior Corps).
History of National Service In 1964 Lyndon B. Johnson wanted to do what he could to address the problem of poverty in America and established Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), a National Teacher Corps, the Job Corps, and University Year of Action.
History of National Service In 1990 President Bush signed the National and Community Service Act of 1990 into law which authorized among other things, grants to schools to support service-learning through Serve America (now known as Learn and Serve America). And in 1992 a bipartisan group of Senators drafted legislation to create the National Civilian Community Corps as a way to explore how to use post-Cold War military resources to help solve problems here at home.
History of National Service There are many examples of national service organizations and initiatives, but all serve to point out the goal of “getting things done” for our fellow American citizens, our community, and our nation. You are the MEMBER who performs this service! It can take a while for people to understand your unique role as a MEMBER of national service as opposed to an employee of a host agency.
The Language of National Service Instead of:Use: HireEnroll JobService PaycheckLiving Allowance Pay PeriodDisbursement Period SalaryLiving Allowance WageLiving Allowance VolunteerMember EmployeeMember WorkerMember WorkServe Work SiteService Site Job SiteService Site
The Language of National Service AMERICORPS Pronounced AH-MARE-I-CORE NOT AMERI-CORPSE
Formation of AmeriCorps So how did AmeriCorps take on its current form?
Formation of AmeriCorps In 1961 President John F. Kennedy, when he spearheaded the establishment of the Peace Corps, said "The wisdom of this idea is that someday we'll bring it home to America."
Formation of AmeriCorps In September 1993 President Bill Clinton signed the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993, which created AmeriCorps as we know it today, and the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees it in order to better organize and expand opportunities for Americans to serve their communities.
Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) and the National Civilian Community Corps become part of AmeriCorps. In addition Senior Corps was created by combining the Foster Grandparent Program, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (changed to Retired AND Senior Volunteer Program to recognize not all volunteers are retired), and the Senior Companion Program. Formation of AmeriCorps
As a part of this organizing effort governor- appointed state service commissions were created to administer AmeriCorps funding at the state level. The Kansas Volunteer Commission, housed at the Kansas State Department of Education in Topeka, Kansas, fulfills this role.
History of National Service Helpful Links: National Service Timeline: meline.asp History and Legislation: meline.asp
Administrative Structure The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) The Kansas Volunteer Commission (KVC) The Host Agency The Service Site The AmeriCorps National Service State Members There are ELEVEN AmeriCorps State programs with members like you in Kansas.
The National Service AmeriCorps State Members - Overview The Host Agency recruits, trains and enrolls AmeriCorps national service members, and places them at their sites. Members contract with the host agency for a required number of hours of service (1700 for full time) in period of time not to exceed 12 months. Every hour must be fulfilled.
The National Service AmeriCorps State Members - Overview The members must perform the full number of hours and the service must be satisfactory. After successful completion of the national service term members can access an Education Award which can be used toward a Title IV school, or Title IV educational loan. (All benefits will be covered later in this presentation.)
Our “Idealist” Goals for YOU Rewarding national service = Life Long Civic Leader Knowledge of community issues and strong connection to community Seek multiple terms of national service Seek careers in public service such as teaching, public safety, social work, non-profit careers, etc. Become more of an idealist, who will then go on to take a leading role in nonprofits and government agencies.
Our “Idealist” Goal for YOU “All I can say is, it’s worth the struggle to discover who you really are and how you, in your own way, can put life together as a something that means a lot to you. It’s a miracle when you finally discover whom you’re best equipped to serve - and we’re all equipped to serve in some way.” - Mr. Fred Rogers, Life’s Journeys According to Mister Rogers
“Streams” of Service 3 “Streams” of Service in AmeriCorps itself AmeriCorps State and National VISTA - Volunteers in Service to America NCCC - National Civilian Community Corps
“Streams” of Service – AmeriCorps State Primarily in direct service (along with some capacity-building) ; to address unmet community needs. Examples: tutoring and mentoring youth, medical services outreach and facilitation, building home, disaster response, etc. AmeriCorps members also recruit and mobilize community volunteers. Not clerical/secretary role, not administrative assistant role Never replace existing employee positions or existing volunteers AmeriCorps State Administration: In Kansas AmeriCorps State is administered by the Governor appointed body, the Kansas Volunteer Commission. Contact information is located at the beginning of this handbook. Helpful Link:
“Streams” of Service – National Direct Direct service across 2 or more states AmeriCorps National provides grants directly to national public and nonprofit organizations that sponsor service programs formed across two or more states typically nationally based host programs Similar to AmeriCorps State Administration: CNCS Office / Host Program Central Office Helpful Link:
“Streams” of Service - VISTA Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) is primarily capacity building (See “AmeriCorps State Versus AmeriCorps VISTA Handout) Initially designed specifically to fight poverty Founded as Volunteers in Service to America in 1965 and incorporated into AmeriCorps network of programs in 1993 VISTA members focus their efforts on building the organizational, administrative, and financial capacity of organizations that fight illiteracy, improve health services, foster economic develop, and otherwise assist low-income communities Examples: develop programs to meet a need, write grants, and recruit and train volunteers
“Streams” of Service - VISTA 365 DAY 24/7 Commitment (not hourly 1,700, 900, etc. term) No positions under full time Can be placed at a site with AmeriCorps State members to do capacity building role while State members do direct service receive a modest living allowance health benefits during their service (arranged by CNCS State office), and have the option of receiving a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award or post-service stipend after completing their service. VISTA Administration: In Kansas VISTA is administered by the CNCS federal state office which maintains offices in Kansas and Missouri. Contact information is provided at the beginning of this handbook. Helpful Link:
“Streams” of Service - NCCC National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) – Regional campus based full-time, team-based residential program for men and women age 18–24. assigned to one of five campuses, located in Denver, Colorado; Sacramento, California; Perry Point, Maryland; Vicksburg, Mississippi; and Vinton, Iowa and travel to complete service projects throughout their regions. 10-month commitment ; serve in teams of eight to twelve trained in CPR, first aid, public safety, and other skills before beginning their first service project. sponsoring organizations submit a project application to the regional campus that covers that organization’s state to get services of a team living allowance of approximately $4,000 during the 10 months of service, housing, meals, limited medical benefits, up to $400 a month for childcare, if necessary, member uniforms, and a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award upon successful completion of the program. Helpful Link:
Other Avenues of Service – Learn and Serve America Not a “member based” service Grant support to K-12 schools, community groups and higher education institutions to facilitate service-learning projects by: Collecting and disseminating research, effective practices, curricula, and program models. Service-learning offers a unique opportunity for kindergartners to college students Facilitated integrating community service projects with classroom learning. Students not only learn about democracy and citizenship, they become actively contributing citizens and community members through the service they perform. Administration: Kansas Volunteer Commission Helpful Link:
Other Avenues of Service – Senior Corps 55+ The Foster Grandparent Program connects volunteers age 55 and over with children and young people with exceptional needs. The Senior Companion Program brings together volunteers age 55 and over with adults in their community who have difficulty with the simple tasks of day-to-day living. The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program connects volunteers age 55 and over with service opportunities in their communities that match their skills and availability. From building houses to immunizing children, from enhancing the capacity of non-profit organizations to improving and protecting the environment, RSVP volunteers put their unique talents to work to make a difference. Senior Corps Administration: In Kansas Senior Corps is administered by the CNCS federal state office which maintains offices in Kansas and Missouri. Contact information is provided at the beginning of this handbook. Helpful Link:
Review - The AmeriCorps Member: the hands of national service You’ve heard about the “big” picture of national service How are you not an employee? How are you not a volunteer? What are you?
The AmeriCorps Member: the hands of national service – The Pledge The AmeriCorps members’ intent of making a positive change and being committed to national service is reflected in their pledge. (See handout) The AmeriCorps Pledge I will get things done for America - to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier. I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities. Faced with apathy, I will take action. Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground. Faced with adversity, I will persevere. I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond. I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done.
Pre-Service Requirements - Citizenship Prove you are an American citizen, U.S. national or permanent alien resident of the United States (birth certificate, unexpired passport, etc., there is a specific list of allowed documents). Discussion Question: What would be the rationale behind requiring this?
Pre-Service Requirements – Education Required that you either have a high school diploma or GED or state that they will obtain one before they draw their Education Award. Discussion Question: Why would CNCS be concerned about this?
Pre-Service Requirements - Age must, in general, be age 17 or above (there are a couple of exceptions where a member can be age 16)
Pre-Service Requirements – Background Checks A. must sign a written agreement to run checks B. checks run through a CNCS approved state criminal history registry check for the State of Kansas, and for the state in which they resided at the time of application, this check must at least be initiated before enrollment;
Pre-Service Requirements – Background Checks must sign a written agreement to a national FBI Fingerprint check if their service will involve recurring access (the ability on more than one occasion to approach, observe or communicate with an individual either through physical proximity, including electronic or telephonic communication) to a vulnerable population (age 60 or over ; the disabled; those 17 age of years or younger); this check, if applicable, must at least be initiated before enrollment; must have a National Sex Offender Public Registry website check run on them before enrollment;
Pre-Service Requirements – Background Checks all members, regardless of access to a vulnerable population, must have a National Sex Offender Public Registry website check run on them before enrollment; no consent is required
Pre-Service Requirements – Eligible for Employment must be eligible for employment (I-9) while not considered an employee certain paperwork must still be completed
Enrollment Contingency Your enrollment is contingent upon the requirements listed above and upon the supporting documentation being provided; enrollment, or continued enrollment, is contingent upon the findings of the criminal history background check results. Members will always be given the right to review and contest findings. If you are enrolled before the criminal history results have been returned you must always be accompanied by a cleared legal representative of your host program whenever you have access to a vulnerable population.
Your Rights - Notice of Nondiscrimination Recognizing that the fabric of our society is strengthened by the diversity of its citizens, the policy of the Corporation for National and Community Service is to ensure a mutual respect for all differences among us. Participation in the Corporation and its programs and projects will be based on merit and equal opportunity for all, without regard to factors such as race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, political affiliation, marital or parental status, military service, or religious, community, or social affiliations. By adhering to this policy, the Corporation will be able to foster civic responsibility, strengthen ties that bind us together as a people, and provide educational opportunity for those who make a substantial commitment to service.
Your Rights - Notice of Nondiscrimination It is unlawful to retaliate against any person or organization that files a complaint about discrimination. Discrimination complaints may be raised through the AmeriCorps program grievance procedure. If you believe your rights have been violated, you may report such violations to the Director of your program, who has a procedure for filing and adjudicating certain grievances (see Member Contract). Or members can file complaints with local and state agencies that are responsible for resolving discrimination complaints. If you believe that you or others have been discriminated against, or if you want more information, contact either of these organizations:
Your Rights - Notice of Nondiscrimination Equal Opportunity Office Office of Civil Rights and Inclusiveness Corporation for National and Community Service 1201 New York Avenue, NW Washington, D.C (202) (voice); (202) (TTY) (202) (FAX); ( ) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (816) (816) () TDD
Your Rights – Reasonable Accommodation You have a right to reasonable accommodation for disabilities. Programs must furnish reasonable accommodations for the known physical and mental limitations of qualified AmeriCorps members.
Member Responsibilities To earn an Education Award you must… must satisfactorily complete your program requirements: attendance compliance with applicable rules, may also indicate positive behavioral elements such as a positive attitude, respect toward others and quality of service. and your full term of service (not 1 hour short).
Member Responsibilities - Contract You will be asked to sign a contract stating your rights and responsibilities while in AmeriCorps. You must abide by this contract and follow the rules of your program. You may be suspended or terminated if you violate the stated rules of behavior.
Member Contract You will be signing a contract which will provide you with: a. AmeriCorps Member Position Description Please make sure you understand what it is you are being asked to do in your role as a national service AmeriCorps member; b. Start/End Dates Your contract will give the specific start and end dates of your term. You should always be aware of how long you have to complete your number of hours. Members may not serve beyond 12 months. If you are enrolling late in our program year you can only serve till the end of our current program year.
Member Contract c. Service Hours Exact number of required service hours; can’t be 1 hour short – 80% of your hours be direct service; – Up to 20% may be training; – Only 10% may be fundraising. – It’s very important that timesheets be accurately completed and that they be signed and dated by you, the member, and the site supervisor and/or program director (depending on the host agency’s policy). d. Member Living Allowance/Stipend You will be informed in the contract the stipend disbursement you will receive. You will also be informed when you will receive your stipend (however this may not be in the contract but provided under separate cover).
Member Contract e. Education Award Amount amount of the Education Award you will be able to access upon successful completion of your term different depending on the type of term/slot you have. (Some members are full time, some half time and some lower.) You will not receive the cash, but instead after your term you will indicate to the National Service Trust (via My AmeriCorps) where to send the money: to a Title IV education loan holder, or a Title IV school for current cost of attendance.
Member Contract e. Education Award Amount Members age 55+ at time of enrollment may transfer their award to certain qualified relatives. Be sure that you understand how you can use your Education Award before signing the contract. We don’t want you to be frustrated if it turns out you can’t use it for what you intended.
Member Contract f. Standards of Conduct; g. List of Prohibited Activities, including those specified in the regulations at 45 CFR (we’ll go over this later) h. Requirements under the Drug-Free Workplace Act (41 U.S.C. 701 et seq.)
Member Contract AmeriCorps national service members are considered representatives of the national service movement any time they are in service (and any time they wear service gear). This is why it is vital you understand what you can and cannot do while serving. You want to, at all times, avoid engaging in prohibited activities and also the appearance of doing so. Please be sure to fully review the standards of conduct, the list of Prohibited Activities and the requirements of the Drug-Free Workplace Act. It is especially important that you never claim service hours for activities that are not allowed as this could lead to the revoking of your Education Award.
Member Contract i. Compelling Personal Circumstances The contract will explain the specific circumstances under which you may be released early for compelling circumstances. AmeriCorps provides the flexibility of giving a prorated Education Award if the circumstance merits it. Be sure you understand what qualifies as compelling. j. Suspension and Termination k. Release for Cause The contract will spell out for you the situations in which you may be suspended or terminated or released for cause from your term of service. Before signing the contract be sure you understand the conditions that might trigger suspension
Member Contract l. Grievance Procedures (Alternative Dispute Resolution, Hearing Process, Binding Arbitration, Other Issues) Your contract will refer to grievance procedures. We trust that these will not have to be used but please review them and understand that you will have these procedures at your disposal if they are ever needed. SEE HANDOUT “Grievance Procedures” m. Civil Rights You will be provided a notice of Civil Rights and procedures for filing complaints. It may be you will even be supplied a separate document detailing your host agency’s Civil Rights Notice. However there is also an avenue for Civil Rights complaints via a CNCS office see “Notice of Nondiscrimination”(as previously discussed)
Member Contract n. Reasonable Accommodation Policy All host sites for AmeriCorps programs have a Reasonable Accommodation Policy. The contract will ensure you are informed of this policy (or refer to it in this Handbook). o. Signatures/Dates In order to be considered legally valid your contract must have your signature and the signature of the Program Director (or authorized legal representative). It is also important that the signature dates precede, or are no later than, the first day of enrollment.
Enrollment Form Once you have provided the required documentation and, if the Program Director decides to enroll you, you will need to complete your portion of the AmeriCorps Enrollment Form within 30 days of your start date. Formats: paper and/or electronic in My AmeriCorps/eGrants; Must be some form of member initiated enrollment form KVC requires paper unless program has a waiver
Service Hours / Schedule AmeriCorps Members are responsible for providing regular service in their assigned role until the end of their term of service. You will arrange a regular schedule for your site activities with the Site Supervisor based on the site’s needs. In addition to these hours, there may be periodic mandatory evening and weekend AmeriCorps activities. All service hours must be verified by the Program Director.
Service Hours/ Schedule Service Hours – Outside of regular service site There may be times in which you will provide service hours outside of your regular service site. ANY service hours you wish to claim outside of your regular service site, and not under the purview of your regular site supervisor must be pre-approved and appropriately documented. (PROGRAMS SHOULD CREATE A FORM FOR SITUATIONS SUCH AS THIS.) Never provide service hours outside of your regular schedule and site on your own initiative without first making sure that those hours will be acceptable to the Program Director. Should never be left to “find your own hours”, program is to supply opportunity
Individual Program Policies Make sure to find out these, and all other, program policies which you must abide by Weekly Time Sheets/Reports (can you get your stipend without turning in your time sheet for example?) Absences Sick Days Personal Days Other Service Leave Making up hours Holiday Policy Injury or Accident Disciplinary Procedures for noncompliance, such as not wearing gear Children/Guests
Armed Forces Reserves/National Guard Leave Armed Forces Reserves/National Guard Note: This policy does reflect regulation requirements regarding the Reserves. To the extent that it is possible, AmeriCorps Members should seek to minimize the disruption in service as a result of discharging responsibilities related to their reservist duties. If Members have a choice of when to fulfill their annual two-week active duty requirement, they should do so when it will not disrupt their AmeriCorps service. In instances where the dates of active duty are inflexible and conflict with AmeriCorps service, Members will be granted leave of absence for the two-week period of active duty service in the Reserves. Members may not receive time off for additional Reserves-related service beyond the two-week active duty service. AmeriCorps Members will receive credit for their regularly scheduled service hours during their two-week active duty requirement. No AmeriCorps service credit is earned for the once-a-month weekend service in the Reserves. There will be no interruption in Members’ benefits while serving their two-week active duty.
Jury Duty Leave AmeriCorps Members may serve on a jury and will not be penalized for doing so. During the time AmeriCorps Members serve as jurors, they will continue to receive credit for their normal service hours with no interruption to their benefits. Members must provide a copy of the jury duty summons to be excused.
Voting/Registration to Vote AmeriCorps Members must be encouraged to register and vote by every AmeriCorps program. Most programs will allow time to do this. Your Site Supervisor or Program Director will determine the appropriate length of absence.
AmeriCorps Sign / Logo A sign with the AmeriCorps logo must be prominently displayed at every service site, stating that an AmeriCorps member serves there. The AmeriCorps logo must be displayed on the web site of every host agency which has an AmeriCorps program.
AmeriCorps Publicity If you are interviewed by the media please always mention you are an AmeriCorps member, part of a national service program hosted by your host agency.
AmeriCorps Gear How can you tell this person is an AmeriCorps member and not an employee of the host agency?
AmeriCorps Gear AmeriCorps Members shall always wear a piece of AmeriCorps gear identifying them as an AmeriCorps member while performing service. The National Logo cannot be altered or defaced in any way. The Program Director may have you wear specific types of gear at their discretion Members must also adhere to site policies on professional attire. Some sites require students and staff to wear uniforms (e.g. khaki pants and white shirts). Members must adhere to site uniform policy.
AmeriCorps Gear What is the benefit to the public knowing you are a national service member, and that there is an agency that hosts a national service program in their community?
Member Evaluations Each Full time and Half Time AmeriCorps member is required to have at least a mid-term and end term performance evaluation; less than Half Time must have at least an End Term evaluation. This evaluation will be geared towards helping each AmeriCorps Member achieve personal and professional goals as well as affirm that they have: successfully completed assignments; met the general performance criteria established for the community and specific performance criteria established with his/her Site Supervisor; completed the required number of days and hours.
Program Performance Measures / Demographics The program must also evaluate progress toward its own project goals. The AmeriCorps program receives input from AmeriCorps Members and site staff. Documentation of non-stipend volunteers and hours need to be a part of this information. This is why we must ask your cooperation in collecting certain demographic information during the program year.
Leadership Team You may serve with other members or be placed at a site by yourself, but you are always part of a team. Who is a part of your leadership team? Program Director Site Supervisor(s)? Who are they? Other members, their roles? (Find out before you begin service) How often will there be team gatherings, and events to build camaraderie?
Member Development – Your Term is also about YOU! Programs are to have an impact on the local community. Programs are to have impact on YOU!
Member Development – Basic Required Understanding First and foremost, make sure you understand the basics: rights and responsibilities, the Program's code of conduct, prohibited activities (including those specified in the regulations), requirements under the Drug-Free Workplace Act suspension and termination from service, grievance procedures, sexual harassment, other non-discrimination issues, and other topics as necessary. training on the community being served
Member Development – Basic Required Understanding If you don’t understand… ASK If you forget… ASK (or look it up) Keep the rules and procedures handy
Member Development Other Core Topics: Overview of national service and its history Civic Engagement / Community Involvement AmeriCorps Benefits Life After AmeriCorps ; Continued Service
Member Development – Position Duties Duties should be delineated (especially at a service site) Specific skills training should be given to enable you to do those duties (such as tutoring, mentoring, giving immunizations, etc.) All programs must recruit and manage volunteers therefore you should receive training on recruiting and working with volunteers Specific needed program progress reporting Specific needed demographic data collection
Member Development – Service Site You should be oriented to your specific service site Introduced to site staff Oriented on rules for the site itself, if applicable Building hours How you check in ; who to check in with Site supervisors need to be oriented as well about AmeriCorps
Member Development – Year Long Plan Programs should have a plan for member development through the whole year. This may include times you will be asked to come to meetings or may include other methods of training (YouTube videos, webinars courses, etc.)http://www.nationalserviceresources.org/online- courses Up to 20% of your term hours can be devoted to member development/training.
Member Development – Possible Topics team building conflict resolution cross-cultural sensitivity diversity training civic engagement / citizenship training (Resource: Roadmap to Civic Engagement) communication skills curriculum development tutoring/mentoring skill development accommodation of persons with disabilities
Member Development CPR/first aid disaster response personal goal setting appearance and presentation skills personal wellness / safety personal budget planning computer and Internet literacy
Member Development life after AmeriCorps resume writing
Member Development – Your Plan Why talk about RESUMES at the beginning of your term?
Member Development – Your Plan Because you can keep track of all your service activities with an eye toward your future career or job If you know what you want to do, you could perhaps serve on projects, and perform tasks, and assignments throughout the year that allow the you to develop and exercise the skills you want to build, and put on your resume
Member Development – Your Plan Assess your current skills set See what skills you want to develop See handouts “Translating Your Service into Job Speak “ and “Career Development Self-Assessment”
Member Development – Your Plan Your goals: Improve areas that can be improved Consider a “Functional” Resume (see handout) and what you want on it
Member Development – Your Plan Create a file/journal all year long, where you record the activities that prove the skills/experience you will claim on resume
Member Development – Your Goals WHAT ARE YOUR… Service-related goals (not limited to project-related goals) to be achieved during the AmeriCorps term of service. Are there specific service activities you’d like to perform; Educational goals to be achieved during the AmeriCorps term of service; Professional goals (to be accomplished within the next five years). Are there any activities you can do during this year that will contribute toward these professional goals; Aspirations of becoming a better person which you hope to accomplish through reflection during the AmeriCorps term of service; TALK WITH YOUR PROGRAM DIRECTOR and SITE SUPERVISOR ABOUT THESE GOALS
National Days of Service There are several opportunities throughout the year when AmeriCorps members and volunteers honor their commitment to service and our nation. Observance activities may be outside the normal program design of your program. Examples: Martin Luther King, Jr (MLK) Day of Service (1/16/12), National Volunteer Week (04/15/12-04/21/12), September 11 National Day of Service & Remembrance (Strongly encouraged to observe), Make a Difference Day, (10/22/11), and
AmeriCorps Week AmeriCorps Week is in May; was 05/14/11- 05/21/11 this year). All programs required to observe See how excited Roger Hill members were?
Prohibited Activities PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES / RULES OF CONDUCT Therefore we need to make sure you understand activities that are prohibited while you serve. Note that we require you to not only avoid doing these activities while you are actually “on the clock” but also avoid giving the “appearance” of performing these activities. This means whenever you happen to have on service gear, or when you publically identify yourself as an AmeriCorps member.
Prohibited Activities While charging time to the AmeriCorps program, accumulating service or training hours, or otherwise performing activities supported by the AmeriCorps program or the Corporation, staff and members may not engage in the following activities(see 45 CFR § ): a. Attempting to influence legislation; b. Organizing or engaging in protests, petitions, boycotts, or strikes; c. Assisting, promoting, or deterring union organizing; d. Impairing existing contracts for services or collective bargaining agreements; e. Engaging in partisan political activities, or other activities designed to influence the outcome of an election to any public office;
Prohibited Activities f. Participating in, or endorsing, events or activities that are likely to include advocacy or or against political parties, political platforms, political candidates, proposed legislation, or elected officials; g. Engaging in religious instruction, conducting worship services, providing instruction as part of a program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship, constructing or operating facilities devoted to religious instruction or worship, maintaining facilities primarily or inherently devoted to religious instruction or worship, or engaging in any form of religious proselytization;
Prohibited Activities h. Providing a direct benefit to— i. A business organized for profit; ii. A labor union; iii. A partisan political organization; iv. A nonprofit organization that fails to comply with the restrictions contained in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 except that nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent participants from engaging in advocacy activities undertaken at their own initiative; and v. An organization engaged in the religious activities described in paragraph (g) of this section, unless Corporation assistance is not used to support those religious activities;
Prohibited Activities i. Conducting a voter registration drive or using Corporation funds to conduct a voter registration drive; j. Providing abortion services or referrals for receipt of such services; and k. Such other activities as the Corporation may prohibit. AmeriCorps members may not engage in the above activities directly or indirectly by recruiting, training, or managing others for the primary purpose of engaging in one of the activities listed above. Individuals may exercise their rights as private citizens and may participate in the activities listed above on their initiative, on non- AmeriCorps time, and using non-Corporation funds. Individuals should not wear the AmeriCorps logo while doing so.
Prohibited Activities Also, an AmeriCorps State member’s service activities may not include: Raising funds for his or her living allowance; Raising funds for an organization’s operating expenses or endowment; Writing grant applications for AmeriCorps funding or for any other funding provided by the Corporation for National and Community Service; or by any other federal agency.
Prohibited Activities There are also several types of activities that your programs may not assign to you, such as: – activities that pose a significant risk to you or other participants; – assignments that displace employees; – internships with for-profit businesses as part of the education and training component of the program; and any of the prohibited activities mentioned above.
Prohibited Activities Like other private citizens, you may participate in the above-listed activities on your own time, at your own expense, and at your own initiative. However, you may not wear your AmeriCorps t-shirt or other service gear in such instances. You are expected to maintain a code of conduct and professional behavior at all times. Violations of this expectation could result in early termination or suspension.
Drug Free Workplace Act This AmeriCorps program, its host fiscal agent, and its service sites and projects are a drug free workplace and service site. Any AmeriCorps member or employee of the fiscal agent shall notify the program director of any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace no later than 5 days after such conviction.
AmeriCorps Member Benefits How many members, or potential members, here will be full time? How many half time? How many less than half time?
AmeriCorps Member Benefits - FT All AmeriCorps members receive some form of benefits, depending upon the type of slot/term they occupy and the program design. Full Time Member Benefits All full time members are entitled, if eligible, to receive the following benefits/coverage: Stipend / Living Allowance Health Insurance Coverage Child Care Worker’s Compensation Coverage/ Liability Coverage* *Not an actual benefit but one or the other is required Member Development Training Education Award Loan Forbearance Interest Accrual Payments
AmeriCorps Member Benefits – Not FT Less Than Full Time Benefits Less than full time members are entitled, if eligible, to Possible stipend (not required less than full time) Worker’s Compensation Coverage / Liability Coverage* *Not an actual benefit but one or the other is required Member Development Training Education Award Loan Forbearance Interest Accrual Payments Health Insurance/Child Care benefits not offered to less than full time members. (It should also be noted that there may be programs that have less than full time members operating in a full time capacity and therefore may be allowed to provide health care/child care benefits. )
Living Stipend All full time AmeriCorps members must receive a stipend during the program year. There is a set annual minimum determined by CNCS. If you receive a stipend the amount for each disbursement period will be given in your AmeriCorps member contract. Stipends are not pay checks. You are not earning a salary with your hours. You are performing national service. You are not an employee nor do you work for your host agency.
Living Stipend Make sure you understand what your program requires to be “actively serving” (as in minimum number of hours per stipend period) Also, programs may require adequate progress toward your 1,700, 900 or other term hour requirements In addition, once a member is terminated from active service for any reason, the stipend shall be discontinued as of that disbursement period.
Living Stipend Make sure you understand what your disbursement periods are (bi-weekly, monthly?) Make sure you understand when you will receive your disbursement check and how you will receive it. Make sure you understand the requirements in order to get the check (for example do they require you turn in your time sheets, complete and on time?)
Living Stipend Taxable the living stipend is taxable income. Deductions Your host agency will have to make all standard deductions from your stipend check and will inform you of these deductions.
Living Stipend – Unemployment Unemployment Ineligibility Since AmeriCorps members are not considered employees they are not eligible for unemployment in Kansas based on their AmeriCorps service when they complete their term. The U.S. Department of Labor ruled on April 20th, 1995 that the federal unemployment compensation law does not require coverage for AmeriCorps members because there is no employer-employee relationship. The receipt of the living stipend will not be counted towards time as being employed. Members are participants in a national service program and not considered employees. Please do not file for unemployment based on your AmeriCorps service once you have completed your term.
Time Sheets / Service Logs Even though your service is not considered employment time sheets will still need to be completed for every disbursement period. This time and attendance record is used to document your eligibility for in-service and post-service benefits. Time and attendance records must be signed and dated both by you and your Site Supervisor (and/or Program Director depending upon your program’s policy).
Time Sheets / Service Logs You should place a high priority on timely and accurate completion of your time sheets. Time and attendance records of members’ service should: Note location of service performed As mentioned, separate out and track time for direct service (must be 80% or more), training (no more than 20%), and fundraising (no more than 10%) Separate out lunch hours (lunch hours cannot be counted towards hours required for completion of the program)
Time Sheets / Service Logs Be signed and dated in ink by both the AmeriCorps Member and their direct supervisor within a reasonable amount of time from the date of the service performed. You are responsible for ensuring that all service activities for which service hours are claimed are within the program design and can be attested to by yourself, your Site Supervisor and/or Program Director. Note: Some programs utilize an appropriate pre- approved system with electronic “signatures”. The method of time tracking will be explained to you during orientation if applicable.
Time Sheets / Service Logs Who signs the time sheet/service log? Members must sign and date their completed service logs. Depending upon program policy the site supervisor and/or the program director will verify the accuracy of and sign and date the service logs. Every program should have a written policy in this regard and follow it.
Time Sheets / Service Logs What constitutes a COMPLETED time sheet/service log? A service log is considered complete when it has all of the following components: Indicates clearly which days are being reported (i.e. the 1st through the 15th or the 16th through the end of the month); Includes as "Direct Service” only those hours members spend actually serving and NOT lunch, training, vacation, holiday, sick days or other time off; Has all “Training” hours listed separately but included in the total hours of service; Has all “Fundraising” hours listed separately but included in the total hours of service;
Time Sheets / Service Logs It is advisable to somehow note all holiday, sick, vacation and other time off, such as in an "Other" column, and of course they should not be included in the service hours total; Is checked for accuracy and is signed by the Site Supervisor (and/or Program Director depending on program policy) and the member.
SSI, SSDI, TANF, Food Stamp Eligibility and Lowering Your Stipend Your stipend might impact some form of benefits you are receiving or plan on receiving, as follows: Supplemental Social Security: Your stipend will not be considered income in relationship to Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Social Security Disability Insurance: It WILL be considered income in relationship to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Food Stamps: It will NOT impact your eligibility for Food Stamps (but that is different for VISTA members). Temporary Assistance to Needy Families: It COULD impact (TANF) benefits.
SSI, SSDI, TANF, Food Stamp Eligibility and Lowering Your Stipend You may request to lower your stipend rate if you feel it will impact your eligibility for certain benefits. You will need to complete a form to this effect. You may have your full stipend re-instated at any time during the program year; however this will not be retroactive.
Quick overview – Health Insurance/Child Care For the sake of those less than full time members not receiving Health Insurance or Child Care Benefits we will simply give a quick overview of these 2 items and can discuss afterwards if needed.
Health Insurance Health Care (Full Time Members / Less than Full Time in Full Time Capacity) Basic health care coverage is provided at no charge to full-time Members who do not have existing coverage (but not their families). Your host agency will inform you of the insurance carrier. The program may obtain healthcare from any provider as long as the coverage provides certain required benefits spelled out in the AmeriCorps Provisions. (See page 23 in the Member Handbook)
Health Insurance Health Care (Full Time Members / Less than Full Time in Full Time Capacity) Basic health care coverage is provided at no charge to full-time Members who do not have existing coverage (but not their families). Your host agency will inform you of the insurance carrier. See your member handbook for minimum coverage requirements If you, as a full time member, elect not to accept coverage, you must have a signed wavier on file with the program, and you should provide proof of alternate insurance. The program must also provide, or make available, healthcare insurance to members serving a 1700-hour full-time term who lose coverage during their term of service as a result of service or through no deliberate act of their own.
Health Insurance Health Care Providers The programs must facilitate the process of selecting a health care provider and enrolling the full time members for the health care insurance. Consult with your Program Director as to the details of the health insurance that will be offered.
Child Care Benefits Child Care Benefit Enrollment Documents or Waiver of Benefit (Full Time Members / Less Than Full Time in Full Time Capacity) CNCS will pay child care costs for full-time Members who are income-eligible and who utilize a pre- approved child care provider. Reimbursement rates will be based on local rates established under the Child Care Development Block Grant. Specific details and arrangements need to be negotiated between you, your child care provider, and First Financial Associates (FFA) m. m
Child Care Benefits Full-time AmeriCorps Members have the opportunity to apply for Child Care Coverage, and if found eligible by the provider will have this benefit provided by the Corporation. Your host agency will not be paying your child care provider but rather payments will be arranged between the provider and FFA. Your host agency will help to facilitate this process but they are not the determining agency for this benefit. If you decide to utilize this benefit, your host agency must maintain all documentation in your file. All eligible full- time AmeriCorps Members must sign a waiver of this benefit if they decide not to utilize this benefit. The waiver must also be maintained in your file.
Child Care Benefits In general, eligibility is based upon family income, age of dependents (up to 13 years), and whether or not the member is currently receiving childcare support from another source. See handbook for fuller description of eligibility requirements
Child Care Benefits The contracted provider for child care benefits is: First Financial Associates (FFA) FFA AmeriCorps Brochure: First Financial Associates AmeriCorps CCBP 7079 Hayden Quarry RD Lithonia, GA Toll-Free: (800) Phone: (770) Fax: (770)
Child Care Benefits Qualified Child Care Providers To qualify for reimbursement, a child care provider must be legally qualified under the state’s Child Care and Development Fund guidelines. Each state has its own qualification criteria. Reimbursements will not be made to ineligible providers.
Change of Status Child Care / Health Insurance Member Change of Status Your host agency is required to notify the Corporation’s designated agents in writing, immediately, when your status changes that affects eligibility for childcare or healthcare. Examples of changes in status include: changes to your scheduled service so that you are no longer serving on a full-time basis; terminating or releasing you from service; or suspending you for a lengthy or indefinite time period.
Education Award Pay the current cost of attendance at qualified Title IV institutions of higher learning (Title IV relates to administration of the federal funds for student financial aid) Pay the current cost of attendance at qualified Title IV vocational schools and for non degree courses at Title IV schools Repay qualified Title IV educational student loans (Title IV loans are loans backed by the federal government under Title IV of the Higher Education Act; except PLUS Loans to parents of students, or under Titles VII or VIII of the Public Health Service Act.)
Education Award Cost of attendance could include Tuition, Books, Supplies, Transportation, Room, Board, and other expenses (may include computer). Each school's financial aid office determines a student's cost of attendance (COA) based upon standard U.S. Department of Education guidance. Please check with your financial aid office if you have questions. Never assume something is covered in the COA.
Education Award Qualified loans include: Stafford Loans Perkins Loans William D. Ford Direct Loans Federal Consolidated Loans Supplemental Loans for Students Primary Care Loans Nursing Student Loans Health Education Assistance Loans Loans issued to AmeriCorps members by the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education
Education Award Consolidate loans? You may consolidate your loans but the resulting consolidated loan must be a Title IV loan.
Education Award To qualify for an education award, you must successfully complete the required "term of service" for your program and you will have had to have earned your high school diploma or its equivalent before you can draw the award. What does “successfully complete” mean based on prior discussion????
Education Award NO CASH Goes directly to school or loan holder (Note: VISTA’s have option for smaller cash award)
Education Award The amount of our education award varies depending upon the number of hours served and the program year in which you enrolled (as the amount is tied to the PELL grant):
Education Award Number of Education Awards You can earn up to the equivalent of 2 Full Time education awards (no matter what stream of service) over the course of up to 4 terms in AmeriCorps State and National. Recent legislative changes did not change the number of terms you may serve in VISTA (3 terms) or NCCC (2 terms).
Education Award Accessing Your Award The National Service Trust contacts you by mail notifying you of the availability of your award and how to access it. (If they don’t, go into My AmeriCorps and look.) Available within 14 days in My AmeriCorps.
Education Award Accessing your award https://my.americorps.gov Will cover “My AmeriCorps” features later in this presentation
Education Award Time Limit You have up to seven years from the completion date of your term of service to claim the award. Reminder will be sent toward the end of the window. Can apply for extension in My AmeriCorps.
Education Award Awards are Taxable Education Awards are taxable income, as determined by the IRS. They are subject to federal tax in the year the Trust pays the school or loan holder (see 1099). Remember about the other taxable income as well: Living Allowances – Taxable (see W-2) Interest Payments – Taxable (see 1099) No Deductions Made – Education Award, Interest Payments The Trust DOES NOT deduct taxes from education award or interest payments.
Education Award Matching Funds or Other Benefits Some schools provide a % of matching funds for your Education Award. See highered/ed_award_match.asp highered/ed_award_match.asp Even if a school does not match ask them if they give any type of benefit due to your AmeriCorps service OR national service. Some schools may provide scholarships or even credit hours based on your service (if your degree is in a relevant area).
Transfer Is there anyone here today who will be age 55 or over when they enroll?
Transfer Who can transfer an Education Award? Any member who enrolls at age 55+ (if they enrolled after Oct. 1, 2009). MUST be 55+ at time of enrollment
Transfer Who can an award be transferred to? the child, foster child, or grandchild of the transferring individual; must be a US citizen, National, or lawful permanent resident alien;
Transfer Transferee may not receive more than the aggregate value of two full time awards, including the transferred amount; Must use the transferred award within 10 years from the date the transferring individual completed the term of service upon which the award is based; and comply with all the legal provisions and CNCS policies respecting the use of an Education Award.
Transfer The transfer will be effective the date the transferee accepts it; however, CNCS must establish an account for you, if you are not already enrolled, at which point you can register online and request payments electronically to qualified schools and loan holders. If for some reason you do not have access to the web you may request a printed copy of the voucher and the interest payment form by contacting the Helpdesk at
Transfer How can it be transferred? Via the My AmeriCorps Portal as of December 16, 2010, eligible members may transfer the Segal Education Award If you have questions, please contact the National Service Hotline at or you can The Hotline is staffed by customer service representatives from 8:00-8:00 EST. Helpful Link:
Loan Forbearance AmeriCorps Members may have payments on certain qualified Title IV educational loans put into forbearance during their term of service.
Loan Forbearance You can request forbearance from the school or loan company that holds your loan through your My AmeriCorps account. If you're enrolled in service and don't have a My AmeriCorps account, you can sign up here: https://my.americorps.gov (If you are already enrolled in an AmeriCorps program, the creation of your My AmeriCorps account may not be immediate.) https://my.americorps.gov You can find the form by clicking on the "forbearance request" link on the left side of the screen.
Loan Forbearance When you log on, here's the information you'll need to fill in the forbearance request form: The name of the lending school or institution, the city, state, and zip code. If you have more than one lender, fill out the form for each of them. You should receive notification of your forbearance within a few weeks from your lender(s) and that you do not need to make payments while you remain in service.
Loan Forbearance Already in Forbearance On August 20 th, 2007 the CNCS help line informed the KVC that loans that are already in forbearance cannot be switched to forbearance due to AmeriCorps service and further are not eligible for the interest accrual payment option. However, please contact the Trust directly with questions for specific situations such as this.
Interest Accrual Payments If a Member successfully completes his/her term of service, the Corporation will pay for the interest accumulated on a loan put into forbearance during the Member's term of service. This interest payment is considered income and is taxed. Over your term, the interest on your loan will continue to grow. The National Service Trust will pay off the interest that accumulated once you complete all phases of your service.
Interest Accrual Payments After you are exited you can access this feature in My AmeriCorps Enter in the loan information (number, type, principal outstanding). Enter either the amount of interest accrued or the daily interest amount. (If the alum benefited from a grace period during which the interest was paid by the US Department of Education, this should also be entered into the request). Within a few weeks, CNCS will send funds to your lender to cover all or part of the interest that gathered while you were serving.
Interest Accrual Payments Will the National Service Trust pay off ALL the interest that accumulates? In most cases, following a full time service term, the Trust will pay 100 percent of the interest after successful completion of service. If you serve in a part- time position or receive a pro-rated education award, the total might be less than 100 percent. Check out our accrued interest formula resource: formula formula Helpful Link: forbearance-process forbearance-process
Benefits Access – My AmeriCorps https://my.americorps.gov
Benefits Access – My AmeriCorps My AmeriCorps (my.americorps.gov) is an online space designed to help members manage their AmeriCorps experience and it helps programs manage their program’s recruitment and enrolled members. It provides an easy way for individuals to get and give important information. This site makes it easy to search and apply for AmeriCorps service opportunities in all three AmeriCorps programs. After registering and creating a profile, potential applicants can apply and allow programs to offer service opportunities to them.
Benefits Access – My AmeriCorps For those who apply to a program, My AmeriCorps makes frequently used and requested forms available online at any time. This site allows members to: Modify contact information (address, address) View and print 1099 forms Complete Loan Forbearance forms Complete Interest Accrual Benefit requests Request Education Award Payments Access to Service Certification forms Transfer Award (for those 55 or above at time of enrollment) Request an extension of the 7 years to draw Education Award
Benefits Access – My AmeriCorps In addition, My AmeriCorps includes comprehensive online help, frequently asked questions, and an enhanced customer service feature, “Contact My AmeriCorps,” to get the answers you need about the programs or the system. For more information on My AmeriCorps, go to /members/index.asp. /members/index.asp
Benefits Access – My AmeriCorps Payment Status You can set up an option to receive notifications in My AmeriCorps when a payment has been made, and you can always log in to view the status of pending requests.
Benefits Access – My AmeriCorps Trust Contact Information For questions about My AmeriCorps online payment system: Call: Please contact the National Service Hotline at The Hotline is staffed by customer service representatives from 8:00-8:00 EST. Changes of address may reported in the My AmeriCorps portal, or by ing Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri 8:00-8:00EST (formerly 6) And to read more FAQ’s and other information about the online system, check out our website at
Education Award Strategy As you begin your AmeriCorps service it is not too early to contemplate the strategy that you will use in applying your education award.
Education Award Strategy To what and how much: You can apply a portion or all (as mentioned) to an existing qualified loan, to current college expenses at a qualified school.
Education Award Strategy Decide when to apply it… All at once at beginning of semester Divide it over semesters/quarters Divide it over years Consider limitations of aid at graduate level, no Perkins for example, so may want to use your Education Award at that time Don’t pay during school at all (and repay loans afterwards)
Education Award Strategy Issues to consider: Tax burden How it impacts your possible aid package How to fill out FAFSA correctly regarding AmeriCorps
Education Award Strategy Understand the financial aid process and how your Education Award fits in… it can supplement what you might get, but it could also REPLACE it!
Financial Aid Process
Your Financial Aid Package One of the major keys to effectively using your Education Award is to CORRECTLY complete the “Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and complete it early The FAFSA "is used to apply for federal student financial aid, including grants, loans, and work-study”; in addition, it is used by most states and schools to award non-federal student financial aid" “The Effective Education Award” by Brandon Rogers (2001) states that in the past there has been a major problem with AmeriCorps members under-reporting their AmeriCorps benefits in the income exclusion category of the FAFSA which prevents them from getting as much aid as they could.
FAFSA Report any redeemed education award, living allowance, and CNCS interest payments. This was “Worksheet C” in the FAFSA now under “Student Additional Financial Information”. (Question 43D in 2011 and was 44D in It is 91D for parents.). This is what some have neglected to complete and lost their exclusion.
Your Financial Aid Package ALWAYS complete your financial aid paperwork BEFORE you submit a voucher to the financial aid office. 1. Find out what your financial aid package would look like without the Education Award. 2. Exclude the Education Award (and living allowance, and interest paid) from being included in the Effective Family Contribution in relationship to Need Based Aid (PELL, Subsidized Stafford Loans) by filling out the FAFSA correctly.
Financial Aid Can the financial aid officer consider the Education Award a resource for need based aid if not drawn yet? Based on a phone conversation with a Trust officer, no, except... Cannot get an “over-award” An over-award is financial aid that exceeds a student’s financial need and/or cost of attendance So, for example even though an Ed Award shouldn’t impact a Pell grant you might not get the full Pell if you draw your Award too. Helpful Link for Financial Aid Officer: its_ed_award_use.asp
Education Award Strategy Summary First find out if you qualify for other aid!! Decide when will you draw the education award Decide to divide it up or use it all at once Decide to apply it to a loan, or current expenses, or both Whatever you do, EXCLUDE a drawn Ed Award on FAFSA!!! Helpful Education Award Links _award_faq.asp
Tax Relief Explore Tax Relief The American Opportunity Credit provides a refundable tax credit of up to $2,500 for undergraduate education. The American Opportunity Credit is scheduled to expire at the end of 2012 (reverts to the Hope Scholarship Credit). The Lifetime Learning Credit provides a tax credit of up to $2,000 for any level of college education (even graduate school), and doesn't require a minimum level of enrollment. However, the Lifetime Learning Credit has a narrower income range compared to the tuition deduction. You should be thinking about these education tax credits and student loan interest deductions when you decide how and when to use the Education Award. To find out the best options for your situation, consult a tax professional or the Internal Revenue Service. Note - Can’t use Form 1040EZ and still reduce federal taxes
College Cost Reduction &Access Act of 2007 The College Cost Reduction & Access Act of 2007 The College Cost Reduction Act includes 2 programs that may help you: Public Service Loan Forgiveness for recipients of William D. Ford Direct and Direct Consolidation Loans Income-Based Repayment Plan (See Appendix in member Handbook)