This fall, 16 University of Central Arkansas students join over 300 AmeriCorps service members committed to a year of service throughout Arkansas.

Arkansas Service Commission-EngageAR announced earlier this month that the state received over $2 million in AmeriCorps funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service. UCA is one of 16 organizations in the state to host an AmeriCorps program in 2019-20.

The students selected for UCA’s AmeriCorps program, called BearsServe Leaders, will each devote 450 hours to serve with community partner host sites, participating in tutoring and mentoring services, financial empowerment initiatives and hunger alleviation. Service members will also recruit and manage other volunteers for a variety of programs and service days. UCA’s Division of Outreach and Community Engagement will provide supervision, training and placement for the cohort of students, in partnership with other campus offices and community nonprofits.

“I am elated that I have been granted this opportunity,” said Lyric Lacy, a senior from Blytheville who is studying health services administration. “Not only has AmeriCorps taught me career development, but it has also introduced me to long-lasting friendships. For that, I am forever grateful for UCA choosing me and others to represent our campus and community.”

“Service and volunteering are both significant components of civic engagement, the means by which a culture of service is created,” said Shana Chaplin, director Arkansas Service Commission-EnageAR. “Civic engagement encompasses the guiding principles of our office to put needs of communities first, strengthen public-private partnerships, build sustainable community partnerships and put service-learning principles into practice stimulating life-long civic engagement. Funding AmeriCorps programs is step one in strengthening local communities.”

Now in its 25th year, AmeriCorps has engaged over one million Americans in over 1.5 billion hours of service. Service members who successfully complete a term of service are eligible to receive an education award to pay for future education or to repay student loans. More information about AmeriCorps in Arkansas is available at volunteerar.org/americorps.

The AmeriCorps program at UCA is administered through the Division of Outreach and Community Engagement Service-Learning and Volunteerism Program. Lesley Graybeal is the director of the program.