PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE: Coalition honors impact of AmeriCorps

LAWRENCEVILLE — The Gwinnett Coalition for Health & Human Services honors the national celebration of AmeriCorps Week, March 9-17, spotlighting the vital work done by AmeriCorps members in communities across Georgia since the national service program began 19 years ago.

Since 1994, more than 800,000 Americans have given more than 1 billion hours of service through AmeriCorps. Every year, more than 75,000 AmeriCorps members meet pressing community needs across the country – strengthening education, assisting veterans and military families, providing disaster services, fostering economic opportunity, expanding health services and preserving the environment. Serving at more 15,000 locations, AmeriCorps members recruited and managed more than four million volunteers last year, boosting the impact of the nonprofit and faith-based organizations they serve.

Currently, The Gwinnett Coalition for Health & Human Services is hosting an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) to facilitate an initiative focusing on the needs of Veteran Military Families. Gwinnett CADCA VetCorps is in the beginning stages and being very well received. Task Force meetings are monthly and invite those interested to attend the next meeting, March 22. For more info, contact Jeri Diehl at dava.jeri@gmail.com.

AmeriCorps members typically remain actively engaged in their communities long after their service is complete. An AmeriCorps longitudinal study found that AmeriCorps alums are more attached to their communities, aware of community challenges, and significantly more likely to go into public service careers.

AmeriCorps Week is an annual event designed to salute AmeriCorps members and alums for their service, thank AmeriCorps’ community partners, and recognize AmeriCorps’ impact on communities including the lives of those served. Events are taking place across the United States – service projects, recruitment fairs, school presentations, alumni gatherings, awards ceremonies, and more. For more information: AmeriCorps.gov.

The Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services is a non profit agency who manages our very successful community Helpline, and coordination of a Strategic Plan for children and families. Major strategic focus areas include Positive Child and Youth Development, The Gwinnett Neighborhood Leadership Institute, Gwinnett Great Days of Service and other community programs strengthen individual families, thereby strengthening our community. For more information contact the Gwinnett Helpline 770-995-3339 or www.gwinnettcoalition.org.

It is with great honor and anticipation that the Coalition is participating in the long overdue focused support of our existing veterans along with those returning to civilian life. Established veteran organizations are offering resources, encouragement & support. Our first major accomplishment is the placement of Disabled American Veteran Service Officers in the Coalition building centrally located in Lawrenceville.

Future plans include establishing the GWINNETT VETERAN MILITARY FAMILY RESOURCE CENTER giving transitioning Gwinnett veterans a place to "start." Resources will also be sensitive to our aging veterans that are unaware of VA services & benefits.

People Helping People is a publication of the Gwinnett Coalition for Health & Human Services. For more information contact Ellen Gerstein at ellen@gwinnettcoalition.org.