Beginning in October 2001, Project CHANGE Montgomery is the collaboration of leading educational and community service agencies at work in Montgomery County, Maryland who share a common mission of improving the quality of life for county residents with a particular emphasis on those in southern Silver Spring. Project CHANGE uses the services of AmeriCorps members to enhance the programs and services provided by participating organizations. Project CHANGE members enable organizations to expand service offerings, improve delivery of resources, run programs more efficiently, and reach a larger segment of the target population. CHANGE, which stands for “Collaboratively Helping America’s Next Generation Emerge.” captures the spirit of the program.
Often called America’s “Domestic Peace Corps,” AmeriCorps was founded in 1993. Federal funds are administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and come to us through our Governor’s Office of Service and Volunteerism. (GOSV) AmeriCorps members serve one-year assignments working for nonprofit organizations and receive a living stipend, health insurance, an education scholarship, training, and a life-changing experience.
Last year, AmeriCorps provided more than 1,700 individuals the opportunity to provide intensive, results-driven service to meet education, environmental, health, economic, and other pressing needs in communities across Maryland. Most AmeriCorps grant funding goes to the Maryland Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism, which in turn awards grants to non-profit groups to respond to local needs. Most of the remainder of the grant funding is distributed by CNCS directly to multi-state and national organizations through a competitive grants process. Other individuals serve through AmeriCorps VISTA, whose members help bring individuals and communities out of poverty by serving full-time to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create businesses, and increase housing opportunities, and AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps), a 10-month, full time residential program for men and women between the ages of 18 and 24. In exchange for their service, AmeriCorps members earn an education award that can be used to pay for college or to pay back qualified student loans. Since 1994, more than 22,000 Maryland residents have served more than 30 million hours and have qualified for Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards totaling more than $67,480,000
Each year, AmeriCorps offers a broad range of opportunities for approximately 75,000 adults of all ages and backgrounds. AmeriCorps members serve through a network of partnerships with local and national nonprofit groups. Some opportunities include:
- Tutoring and mentoring disadvantaged youth
- Building Social and Emotional Learning skills for life success
- Facilitating school group dialogues on race and ethnicity
- Conducting after-school enrichment programs for students K-12
AmeriCorps allows anyone that has the desire to serve, to serve, whether they be young or old, experienced or learners. Everyone can serve.
Project CHANGE Montgomery has been operating for 18 years and every year we have had 15 members serving 1700 each. In 19 years of its existence, Project CHANGE has provided over 500,000 hours of Volunteer service to the neediest members of the county.
Project CHANGE Montgomery’s core partner is with Montgomery County Public Schools.