Colinne McCann, Americorps

March 5-12, the nation is celebrating AmeriCorps Week. It is a time to acknowledge and commemorate the commitment of AmeriCorps members, to thank community partners and to recognize the value of the life-changing impact this powerful service offers.

Since 1994, 9,300 Iowa residents have served as AmeriCorps members, totaling 12 million hours of service to their communities. As one of those proud AmeriCorps members, I am writing to share my thanks for this opportunity to be part of this national effort and to emphasize the astonishing influence of AmeriCorps in this area.

I am serving at Helping Services for Northeast Iowa as the Iowa Department of Public Health Youth Mentoring AmeriCorps member. My role is to assist with capacity building, recruiting volunteer mentors, hosting three substance abuse prevention trainings, and creating a sustainability plan. By the end, I will have served 900 hours with Youth Mentoring.

Youth Mentoring serves children ages 5-16 in Delaware County. We currently have 56 matches between our school based and community based Youth Mentoring. Our present waiting list has approximately 33 eager youth who are waiting for a mentor.

Youth Mentoring supports the next generation in being triumphant in their lives. The fall 2015 surveys of mentoring participants show 94 percent of youth grades K–11 can say “no” to using drugs, alcohol and tobacco. This is only one of the many great outcomes Youth Mentoring provides.

I am excited to work in a community that cares so much for the future of its youth.

Youth Mentoring connects many adult role models with local youth. I am eager to continue helping the youth and these communities thrive through the power of AmeriCorps service and Youth Mentoring at Helping Services.