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County Executive's Office

County Executive Falk Announces Partnership Bringing Americorps Volunteers to Dane County After-School Programs

September 13, 2004
Sharyn Wisniewski, (608) 267-8823
County Executive

This fall, middle and high schools students in Dane County after-school programs will have additional help doing their homework, finding jobs, and organizing community volunteer projects thanks to the funding of 20 AmeriCorps workers, County Executive Kathleen Falk announced today. The $248,000 in funding was approved by the Wisconsin National and Community Services Board. “Quality after-school activities make such a wonderful difference in kids’ lives,” said Falk. “These Americorps workers will be fabulous mentors to young kids.” “AmeriCorps is about teaching citizens how they can be engaged in their communities, solve problems and create a better place to live,” said Tom Devine, Executive Director of the Wisconsin National and Community Services Board which oversees the national AmeriCorps service program in Wisconsin. “This partnership in Dane County will allow our AmeriCorps workers to not only gain these experiences themselves, but help pass on positive experiences and examples to hundreds of other young people.” The grant was made to a collaboration called Partners for After School Success (PASS) comprised of nine organizations that operate after-school programs. The PASS collaboration was developed through the efforts of the Dane County Youth Resource Network, a consortium of more than 75 providers of youth services, which was organized and continues to be supported by the Dane County Youth Commission. The University of Wisconsin Extension-Dane County was instrumental in bringing focus to the efforts through their 4-H/Youth development program educator, Sally Bowers. The UW-Extension-Dane County helped develop the PASS funding application and will act as the fiscal agency and provide training and assistance to the 20 AmeriCorps workers who will be involved with the youth programs during the coming year. “We are pleased to be part of this collaboration and we congratulate the host site partners on making this a reality,” said Arlen Leholm, Dean and Director of Cooperative Extension. Bowers said, “The efforts of these PASS organizers are what made this grant possible. We are excited about the opportunity for this collaboration and positive effects these AmeriCorps members will have on the lives of youth in Dane County.” The Wexford Ridge Neighborhood Center across South Gammon Road from Jefferson Middle School and Memorial High School in Madison, which was the site of today’s announcement, will benefit from two AmeriCorps workers it has secured through the grant. “These two individuals will really help our middle school program and high school leadership programs,” said Paul Terranova, Wexford’s Executive Director. The other members of PASS who will be receiving AmeriCorps workers are: Atwood Community Center, Commonwealth Development, Deerfield Community, Mt. Horeb Youth Center, Girl Neighborhood Power Project, Girl Scouts of Blackhawk Council, Madison School Community Recreation and the Vera Court Neighborhood Center. Participating agencies provide matching funds of approximately $3,700 per member. The AmeriCorp workers will provide tutoring and mentoring to middle and high school age students through their various after school programs. These programs will support the students in academic achievement, community service projects, and youth employment initiatives. “In a time of tight budgets, these funds to promote and enhance youth programs in Dane County give us reason for celebration,” said Falk. Created in 1993, AmeriCorps is a network of national service programs that engage more than 50,000 Americans each year in intensive service to meet critical needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment. # # #