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Maine VolunteerFare

Above the Fold

Published January 19, 2006

Portland Non-Profit Receives $1.5 Million AmeriCorps Grant

AUGUSTA, Maine ? Today, the Maine Commission for Community Service announced that the Training Resource Center (TRC) of Portland has been awarded a $1.5 million AmeriCorps grant over the next three years from the Corporation for National and Community Service. The funding, provided in $500,000 annual increments, will support the statewide expansion of the Center?s already existing Community Response Corps. Read more...

New Service Curriculum Empowers Youth to Make a Difference

Marshall, Mich. ? Doing good deeds is always a big part of the holidays, but how do you make today?s canned food drive a learning experience, and not a chore? That?s a question the new service learning curriculum from the National 4-H Cooperative Curriculum System helps youth explore.

The ?Agents of Change? guide uses a ?special agent? motif to help middle school students plan and conduct their very own service learning projects. In addition to doing research and sketching out their project, activities help youth reflect on a service experience, deliver a speech, write a newsletter to involve others, create medals to recognize contributors and involve news media.

High school students are empowered through the ?Raise my Voice? guide to investigate problems and potential solutions through a community survey and public forum. They also learn risk management techniques, ponder ethics, develop career skills and create presentations.

Adult ?helpers,? teachers and group leaders who support youth along their journey into service will find the ?Service Learning Helper?s Guide? loaded with group activities and advice. Activities include community mapping, journal exploration, creating a video diary, building a website, and preparing a time capsule.

Organizers say the curriculum engages youth and helps them developmentally. ?This curriculum empowers young people to confront issues in their own communities and to devise solutions,? said Ami Neiberger-Miller, coordinator for the design team. ?Service learning doesn?t just change communities ? it profoundly affects young people too.?

Research shows that service learning can offer many benefits to youth. Service learning helps youth:

-cognitively engage. A 2003 study found that students in grades 7-12 who participated in service learning reported more cognitive engagement in English/language arts (paying more attention to schoolwork, putting forth effort) than non-participants.

-have a positive attitude toward school and do better academically. A 2002 study of California service learning programs found that students participating in service learning had a better attitude toward school and scored higher on academic measures.

-develop civic and social responsibility. Students engaged in service learning programs are more likely to consider how to cause social change, increase their awareness of government and see a connection between politics and morality.

-avoid engaging in risk behavior. Studies show students involved in service learning are less alienated, exhibit fewer behavioral problems, and are less likely to engage in behaviors that lead to arrest or pregnancy.

-be seen as partners by adults and contributors to society. Studies show that community members who participate in service learning alongside youth view them as valued resources and contributing positively to the community.

A youth-centered focus makes this curriculum unique. Rather than having an adult dictate a service project ? youth investigate problems and assets in their community. Based on research and personal interest, the young person designs a service learning project. Reflective questions and the journaling CD encourage youth to think through their experiences.

?This is not just another sugar-coated book about teaching kids how to do good deeds,? said Neiberger-Miller. ?The guides take them step by step through the service learning process and give them tools to help along the way. We are helping youth build a service ethic that sticks for life.?

The curriculum also includes a CD with journaling tools. Up-to-date links for activities and purchasing information are available online at

The materials can be used by students working on their own, or in school classrooms, home school groups or 4-H clubs.

It took two years to produce the curriculum. The materials were designed by a multidisciplinary design team that included youth, professional educators and professors. Then it was pilot-tested with more than one hundred youth around the nation. The guides carry the seal of approval from the National 4-H Collection, signifying they meet 4-H?s standards for use in hands-on and experiential educational programs.

Design team coordination and graphic design were provided by Steppingstone LLC, a public relations and graphic design firm in northern Virginia near the nation?s capital that specializes in serving the needs of education and nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit

The National 4-H Cooperative Curriculum System (4-HCCS) is a leading curriculum publishing agency for the 4-H youth movement and produces more than 200 titles annually used by youth, teachers, extension educators and club leaders. As a collaborative publishing nonprofit organization, 4-HCCS works with youth, volunteers, and cooperative extension staff throughout the United States to produce quality experiential educational curricula. For more information, go to


Ami Neiberger-Miller



Mayor Chuluda Drives Westbrook Seniors

Westbrook Mayor Bruce Chuluda volunteered to drive Westbrook resident Simone Gagne to Hannaford at 17 Wayside Dr. in Westbrook for ITNPortland?. With his ride, Mayor Chuluda brought together three key ITN programs: Look Who?s Driving Now, Ride & Shop, and the Community Road Scholarship Program.

In the Look Who?s Driving Now program, prominent community members highlight volunteer driving for ITN. ITN uses volunteer drivers to provide 25-40 percent of 16,000 rides they provide annually to seniors and the visually impaired. Volunteer Drivers help keep the costs of providing transportation to ITN members in Greater Portland as low as possible.

Mayor Chuluda drove Mrs. Gagne to the Hannaford in Westbrook and back to her home. ?I also use ITN services for pharmacy and doctor visits, ITN has been a big help to me? Gagne said of ITN.

The Westbrook Hannaford is also a supporter of ITN through the Ride and Shop program. Through this program around Greater Portland, $1.50 is donated to help defray the cost of rides each time a person uses ITN to shop at Hannaford. Over a dozen other businesses, including all major supermarkets, support ITN under the Ride and Shop Program. Medical offices support ITN in a similarly with the related Healthy Miles program by donating $1.50 per medical visit for ITN members.

Mayor Chuluda?s also donated all of the miles he earned to the Westbrook Community Road Scholarship Program to support riders who cannot afford the service. A fund is set up to cover the costs to ITN members in several towns across Greater Portland including Gorham, Portland, South Portland, Scarborough, Falmouth, Cumberland, and Westbrook. Thanks to the generosity of people who volunteer to drive for ITN, the Community Road Scholarship Program has raised hundreds of dollars for those in need around Greater Portland.

Other ITN programs include gift certificates from adult children of members and car trade or car donation to help pay for a loved ones rides or as a donation to help maintain ITN?s valuable service.

To volunteer to drive or if someone you know needs the service, please call Rus Willette at 854-0505 or visit the website at ITN is located in the Dana Warp Mill at 90 Bridge St. Westbrook.

For more information:

Rus Willette


Study Shows Shows More Americans Are Volunteering


Alyssa J. McClenning

(202) 456-7345

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of USA Freedom Corps Desiree T. Sayle welcomed today?s new study released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showing that an increased number of Americans participated in volunteer service in the past year.

BLS, part of the U.S. Department of Labor, reported that the number of volunteers rose from September 2004 to September 2005. About 65.4 million people participated in volunteer work at least once during the study period, up from 64.5 million for the similar period ended in September 2004. This marks an increase of more than 6.5 million volunteers since President Bush made his Call to Service in 2002, the first year of the study. The percentage of the American population who volunteered during the past year remained at the same level as in 2004 at 28.8 percent.

?We?ve seen a tremendous increase in volunteer service among Americans over the past four years,? Sayle said. ?Today?s numbers show that our Nation?s commitment to volunteer service remains strong.?

?President Bush created USA Freedom Corps to encourage more Americans to volunteer and make a difference in the lives of others. When Americans volunteer, our Nation is strengthened one person, one neighborhood, one community at a time. As today?s BLS study reveals, a significant portion of the population is committed to service, but there is still more work to do, and USA Freedom Corps remains committed to helping all Americans answer the President?s Call to Service,? Sayle said.

One fourth of men and about one third of women participated in volunteer work in the year ended September 2005, about the same proportions as in the two prior years. Women volunteered at a higher rate than men across age groups, educational levels, and other major characteristics. Persons age 35 to 44 were the most likely to volunteer (34.5 percent), closely followed by 45 to 54 year olds (32.7 percent). Married persons volunteered at a higher rate (34.1 percent) than never married persons (23.0 percent).

The volunteer service indicator is an annual national measurement of volunteer behavior developed by the Census Bureau and BLS with USA Freedom Corps and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

The data was collected through a supplement to the September 2005 Current Population Survey, a monthly survey of 60,000 households. For more information, visit:

USA Freedom Corps, an Office of the White House office, was created by President Bush in his 2002 State of the Union Address to strengthen and expand volunteer service by Americans. For more information about getting involved in the President?s Call to Service, please visit or call 1-877-USA-CORPS.

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