SALISBURY, MD---The Corporation for Community and National Service and Maryland Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism recently funded ShoreCorps/PALS (Partnership for Adolescents on the Lower Shore), the AmeriCorps chapter at Salisbury University, for the 19th consecutive year.
The $133,000 in funding represents some 40 percent of the program’s annual budget. The additional 60 percent comes from matching funds provided by AmeriCorps service sites and in-kind contributions from SU, said Lynn Rising, program coordinator.
ShoreCorps/PALS members serve with non-profit, education-based organizations working with area youth. Sites requesting assistance pay between $3,100 and $8,500 per year, depending on how many hours the member is scheduled. SU’s AmeriCorps program is expected to place up to 20 members this year.
In exchange for their service, members receive stipends of up to $12,200 annually, in addition to six undergraduate college credits. Following their service, members receive an additional benefit of up to $5,550 that may be applied toward college tuition or reducing qualified student loans. According to Dr. George Whitehead, project director, the program often helps its members as much as its members assist area youth.
At service sites, members assist children with education and social needs and help recruit and facilitate volunteers. Last year, members helped some 12,000 children and recruited over 1,200 volunteers.
Members of ShoreCorps/PALS must be at least 18, but some have been over 60, Rising said. They must have a high school diploma or GED, but do not need to be enrolled in college to participate.
“That’s one misconception people sometimes have because we’re based at SU,” said Whitehead. “You don’t have to be pursuing a degree to be a member.”