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About AmeriCorps

What is AmeriCorps? What is a service year exactly?

AmeriCorps is a network of hundreds of programs across the nation, connecting over 70,000 Americans to meet local community needs annually. There are three branches of AmeriCorps: NCCC, VISTA, and AmeriCorps*State. Literacy First is an AmeriCorps*State program, operating at the local level to meet critical early literacy needs in the Austin, Texas community. AmeriCorps members participate in a paid service year that gives them both a monthly living stipend and an education award to use toward paying back federal loans or for future education expenses. Furthermore, a service year gives people the opportunity to develop real-world skills through a transformative experience serving the community in a tangible and impactful way. Read more about AmeriCorps and Service Year Alliance.

What are the benefits of a service year?

Serving one or more terms of national service as an AmeriCorps member has a rich variety of benefits. Many people choose to serve as a gap year after college or graduate school, or as a mid-career transition to try a new profession or trade before making a long-term commitment. AmeriCorps alumni are a community of engaged citizens who carry their commitment to strengthen America into their careers. A 2014 longitudinal impact study concluded that AmeriCorps alumni have these top five interpersonal skills that are highly marketable and sought-after in the professional world: initiative, interpersonal and intercultural communication, adaptability, collaboration, and accountability. Read more about this study here.

A year of service teaches the participant soft skills and provides a pathway to a new profession.  The skills and experience associated with a service year are recognized and highly-valued by employers; in fact, over 500 private, public and nonprofit sector employers are recognized as Employers of National Service and are dedicated to hiring AmeriCorps alums. Read more and see a list of Employers of National Service here.

Is Literacy First connected to other local AmeriCorps programs?

Literacy First is proud to be a member AmeriCorps Central Texas, a collaborative of 9 organizations engaging more than 500 AmeriCorps members annually in direct service. Founded in part by Literacy First Director Mary Ellen Isaacs, AmeriCorps Central Texas is working to build a more local, more diverse service corps whose members will shape their own futures while strengthening their local community. Learn more about the benefits when you ACT for your community and visit the AmeriCorps Central Texas website.

What is the relationship between AmeriCorps, Literacy First, and The University of Texas at Austin?

Literacy First is an outreach program housed at the University of Texas at Austin’s Charles A. Dana Center. Our program was founded by Dr. Uri Treisman (Dana Center Director) and colleagues in 1994, and was one of the first AmeriCorps programs to be funded in the state of Texas. Since its inception, over 1,700 Literacy First AmeriCorps members have tutored more than 23,000 children, teaching them the fundamental skills they need to be successful in school and life.