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Monday, September 14, 2015

ShoreCorps/PALS Receives Funding for 21st Year

AmericorpsSALISBURY, MD---Tutoring and mentoring youth, advocating for seniors and growing the capacity of local nonprofits. For over two decades, members of ShoreCorps/PALS (Partnership for Adolescents on the Lower Shore), the AmeriCorps program at Salisbury University, have done all this and more.

The Corporation for National and Community Service and Maryland Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism recently funded the program for the 21st consecutive year.

The $130,000 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 Dr. George Whitehead, founder and project director. Last year, the program expanded to assist not only youth, but seniors, as well.

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Sites requesting assistance pay between $3,200 and $8,500 per year, depending on how many hours the member is scheduled. The program is expected to place up to 20 members this year, part of a tradition that has included some 500 since 1995.

In exchange for their service, members receive stipends of up to $12,530 annually, in addition to six undergraduate college credits. Following their service, members receive an additional benefit of up to $5,730 that may be applied toward college tuition or reducing qualified student loans. According to Whitehead, the program often helps its members as much as its members assist area youth and seniors.

“That’s the part that you don’t see as much, but it’s just as important,” he said, adding that service in ShoreCorps/PALS has helped some decide on career paths and given others skills to pursue their degrees.

At service sites, members assist children with education and social needs and help recruit and facilitate volunteers. Last year, they reached some 16,000 children and 7,000 aging adults, and recruited over 1,600 volunteers.

Members of ShoreCorps/PALS must be at least 18, but some have been over 60, Whitehead 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.”

Applications are available for the 2015-16 service year. For more information call 410-543-6137, e-mail ssheim@salisbury.edu or visit the ShoreCorps/PALS website at www.salisbury.edu/americorps.


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