Age Minimum (with Adult): 17+, Minimum Age:17+
BearsServe Leaders Program, Quarter-Time AmeriCorps 450 Hours
The BearsServe Leaders Program provides tutoring and mentoring programs, food recovery and gardening programs, and financial literacy programs at nonprofit community partner sites throughout Conway, Arkansas, including the Faulkner County Juvenile Court, United Way of Central Arkansas, City of Hope Outreach, and others. At the end of the first program year, AmeriCorps members will be responsible for improved academic performance among at-risk and low-income youth involved in tutoring and mentoring programs, increased health knowledge among populations involved in garden programming, and improved financial knowledge among participants in financial literacy programs. This program will focus on the CNCS focus areas of education, healthy futures, and economic opportunity.
Service Site Locations:
- UCA Center for Writing and Communication
- United Way of Central Arkansas
- UCA Bear Essentials Food Pantry & Food Recovery Network
- Faulkner County Juvenile Court
- City of Hope Outreach
- Conway Cradle Care
Service Position Summary:
BearsServe Leaders is an AmeriCorps program through the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Arkansas Service Commission. As an AmeriCorps service member you will serve alongside the University of Central Arkansas Service-Learning Program to provide volunteer recruitment and management as well as direct support for programs related to education, health, and economic opportunity. The Aspire Arkansas report--produced by the Arkansas Community Foundation to quantify needs for the Arkansas population-- recognizes family, economic vitality, health, and education as top priorities for both the state overall and our home county of Faulkner County. Statewide, only 37% of third grade students are reading at their grade level, and programs such as UCA’s mentoring partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County and other education- focused partners are poised to address the issue. Furthermore, 80% of Arkansas children are overweight or obese, and UCA already partners with local agencies to support programming related to health and wellness, including gardening programs and recovery of fresh, healthy foods from restaurants and supermarkets to low-income communities.
Essential Functions of Position:
BearsServe Leaders will be assigned to one of six AmeriCorps service areas:
- Providing tutoring and mentoring services with partner agencies such as Faulkner County Juvenile Court, City of Hope Outreach, and other nonprofits providing educational enrichment services for youth. These service members will offer educational enrichment services for approximately 15 hours per week for two 15-week semesters, working with low-income youth and court-involved youth.
- Leading food recovery efforts, food pantry expansion, community garden development and educational outreach, and/or programming for youth and families related to health and wellness, with partner agencies such as the Food Recovery Network, UCA Bear Essentials Food Pantry, and nonprofits seeking to develop or expand programs related to increasing access to fresh, healthy foods. These service members will recover fresh foods for approximately 5 hours per week and support pantry and garden services and related programming for approximately 10 hours per week for two 15-week semesters, working with low-income youth and families.
- Providing financial empowerment services such as resume and job search coaching through a Community Writing Center on UCA campus and Volunteer Income Tax assistance programs (seasonal), financial literacy classes, and other initiatives seeking to help low-to moderate-income families build wealth, with partner agencies such as United Way of Central Arkansas. These service members will provide financial empowerment services for approximately 15 hours per week for two 15-week semesters, working with low-to moderate- income families.
- Service members will complete 450 hours over fall and spring semesters (September 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021)
- Planning and participating in service days
- Recruiting additional volunteers for service days and nonprofit partners
- Additional group service projects, as approved by the program director
- Access to Vulnerable Populations: “The Arkansas Service Commission has determined that the probability of access to vulnerable populations is so great that all members will undergo all required criminal history checks: NSOPW, FBI, and Arkansas State Police, as well as other states, as necessary.”
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Required:
- Service members will be required to carry or lift equipment and supplies 20-50 lbs (if assigned to food recovery).
- Service members must have access to transportation (if assigned to service sites off campus).
Academic and Experience Qualifications:
Service members must have a high school diploma, experience with Microsoft Office Suite and Google Drive, strong verbal and written communication skills, good customer service skills, volunteer experience, and a strong desire to serve their community. Experience working with youth is preferred for service members placed with tutoring and mentoring programs.
- Service will be performed both indoors and outdoors depending on the task that needs to be fulfilled. Some site locations are on campus, but others are within Conway, AR. Travel on campus may be required for some service projects and volunteer opportunities that align with the service members’ duties.
- Must be at least 17 years of age
- Must be a US Citizen, US National, or Lawful Permanent Resident
- Must be able to pass National Service Criminal History Checks
Service members will be required to complete 450 documented service hours starting September 1, 2020 and ending April 30, 2021 (fall and spring semesters). They will serve approximately 15 hours per week for two 15-week semesters.
Orientation and Training (Required):
- BearsServe Leaders Orientation
- AmeriCorps Opening Ceremony
- AmeriCorps Member Retreat
- Monthly training
AmeriCorps Program Benefits:
- Annual living allowance of $3,520, distributed twice monthly through UCA payroll
- Eligibility for an education award of $1,638.89 after completion of service term
- Living allowance does NOT count as income when determining eligibility for some federal aid programs
Evaluations and Reporting:
Service members will be evaluated on a monthly, mid-term, and end-of-term basis with the program director(s) and site leader(s). Service members must be sure to follow the time reporting procedure of their assigned site leader to be sure their hours are reported correctly.
UCA EEO Statement:
The University of Central Arkansas is an affirmative action/equal opportunity institution dedicated to attracting and supporting a diverse student, faculty and staff population through enhanced multicultural learning environments and opportunities. In keeping with its nondiscrimination policy in employment, admissions and other functions and programs, the university considers employees and students on the basis of individual merit and will not discriminate against a person on the basis of gender, race or color, ethnicity, religion, spiritual beliefs, national origin, age, familial status, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, disability, political beliefs, intellectual perspective, genetic information, military status or other factors irrelevant to participation in its programs.
For more information:
Victoria Mays, Volunteer Coordinator
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