Charlestown-based green interns get AmeriCorps funding
CHARLESTOWN — The Student Conservation Association is receiving $1.3 million in AmeriCorps funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service.
The association was founded in Charlestown in 1957 as a national student volunteer movement to save America’s national parks. Today the SCA members range in age from 15 to young adults, and are high school and college students or recent graduates interested in green careers.
SCA provides an educational and career experience for its interns who work across the country on conservation and environmental projects, Vice President of Communication Kevin Hamilton said Wednesday.
“We’re obviously very pleased. We just celebrated 20 years of partnership with AmeriCorps,” Hamilton said.
The continued support from AmeriCorps will affect about 1,500 SCA interns, he said. About 90 to 95 percent of the SCA AmeriCorps interns are eligible to receive the funds.
“This is an added incentive on top of their service, and depending upon the length of time they are in an SCA position, they can receive up to $5,000 from AmeriCorps to put toward their college education or to retire existing college loans,” Hamilton said.
SCA interns can spend up to 12 months working in the field.
However, even taking a three- or six-month position as an SCA intern can be difficult for young people with limited funds.
“For many people, it may come down to the choice of, ‘I would like to serve, but I need to make money.’ This helps to even the playing field in situations like that,” Hamilton said.
AmeriCorps also recently joined SCA in funding its Veterans Fire Corps. The program is based in California and the Southwest and was started to help military veterans assimilate into civilian life through wildfire response and prevention and forestry service.
“We’re helping them to restart their careers, restart their lives and ease into that transition,” Hamilton said.
The 2014 AmeriCorps grant competition prioritized investments in economic opportunity, education, veterans and military families, and disaster services, U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., said in a statement Tuesday.
“AmeriCorps members are a critical resource for nonprofits, communities and the individuals they serve,” Kuster said in the statement. “Public engagement and service is an essential part of the solutions to many of our nation’s environmental challenges, and AmeriCorps members strive to help by uniting individuals behind a common goal. I congratulate the Student Conservation Association for receiving these grants, and thank all those who have answered the call to service by joining AmeriCorps.”