EngageAR AmeriCorps awarded a grant to SAU+VISTA to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. as a National Day of Service. SAU+VISTA Fellows purchased food items for the Magnolia Junior Charity League Backpack Program. The Backpack Program currently services 80 children in K-6th grade at Magnolia School District and Emerson School District through their partnership with Harvest Food Bank. They also provide a food pantry, located on the campuses of the Middle and High Schools in Columbia County. Through COVID, the Backpack Program was able to pass out almost 1,000 bags of food to children in need. Additionally, SAU+VISTA Fellows will be building libraries at the Boys and Girls Club of Magnolia. They will purchase books to supply the libraries for the K-6th grade students attending the Boys and Girls Club after school. SAU+VISTA Fellows join AmeriCorps members across the country to serve the citizens of their communities.
Each year, community members, along with AmeriCorps members across the country, join with local organizations to serve their communities. Whether that is by grabbing a paintbrush, mentoring a young person, or helping to clean up a public space, engaging in volunteerism makes a world of difference. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges for many communities and community members. AmeriCorps members have been working throughout the year to ensure the health and safety of our communities.
Community members are encouraged to join the thousands of Americans serving their communities this year in safe and socially distanced ways on MLK day of service by volunteering their “day on” to honor the legacy of Dr. King. The day of service project is sponsored by EngageAR. EngageAR has invested $11,650 in 10 service projects across the state for this year’s day of service. Project focus areas range from educating youth about civic engagement and getting communities involved in serving their neighbors, to addressing food insecurity and homelessness. For more information on EngageAR days of service, visit www.volunteerar.org/DaysofService.
SAU+VISTA is a federally funded anti-poverty project in its second year at SAU. The program currently hosts 17 full-time, year-long Fellows in retention-related campus service. The Fellows assist with developing sustainable, capacity building programs to help more students persist in higher education until the completion of their college degree. This past summer, an additional 24 Summer Associates provided direct service to SAU. For more information, visit www.saumag.edu/VISTA.