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Heart of Oregon Corps receives AmeriCorps grant

Heart of Oregon Corps announced Tuesday that it will receive $329,000 in AmeriCorps funding over the year from the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency responsible for AmeriCorps and other national service programs.

This funding will support Heart of Oregon AmeriCorps service on public lands throughout Central Oregon. The grant is renewable for two subsequent years, for almost $1 million of total support.

As members of HOC AmeriCorps, crews of local young people ages 17-24 serve on natural resource conservation projects such as fire fuels reduction, trail maintenance, and invasive species reduction–providing essential support to public land agencies and local parks.

Crews are based out of HOC’s Bend and Prineville offices. Members earn an AmeriCorps living allowance as they tackle life goals and gain work experience and soft skills.

At the completion of their service terms, young people also earn a Segal Education Award from AmeriCorps to put toward future college or to pay off student loans. HOC is accepting applications for their 53 AmeriCorps positions now.

“Building on our nation’s strong tradition of neighbor helping neighbor, AmeriCorps members will change lives, improve communities, and build a safer, stronger, and more united America,” said Chester Spellman, director of AmeriCorps.

“For 25 years, the AmeriCorps members who pledge to ‘get things done’ have represented the best of America while demonstrating the great promise and ideals of our country. I salute all the AmeriCorps members who will join them and congratulate Heart of Oregon on their 2019 AmeriCorps grant.”

Heart of Oregon is one of just four organizations in Oregon to receive AmeriCorps funding through CNCS this cycle and is the only Central Oregon organization to receive this state competitive grant.

Heart of Oregon leverages this funding with additional support from project partners, including but not limited to the Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service, Deschutes County, Bend Park and Recreation District, Crook County Parks and Recreation District, and state grants from Oregon Youth Conservation Corps.

“Before AmeriCorps, I dreaded even ordering food because I didn’t want to speak to the cashier,” shared recent AmeriCorps graduate Elijah, of Bend. “Now, I teach new corpsmembers skills and go out of my way to start a conversation–just because I want to. Joining Heart of Oregon was probably the best decision of my life, and I wouldn’t be the same without it.”

Including AmeriCorps, Heart of Oregon Corps runs six programs that provide job skills training, education, and leadership development to over 300 local young people each year ages 16-24 who face major barriers to success. Heart of Oregon empowers a generation of young people to believe in themselves and achieve self-sufficiency–youth can apply at heartoforegon.org.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of AmeriCorps. Since the program’s inception in 1994, more than 1 million Americans have served their country through the national service program. Organizations are currently recruiting for AmeriCorps members to begin service this fall. Those interested in serving can learn more at AmeriCorps.gov/Join.

KTVZ News Team

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