SF State's AmeriCorps garners record Students in Service
November 14, 2009 8:37 PM
Students in Service, an SF State AmeriCorps program, has placed first among 89 competing schools for the 2008-2009 academic year.
By enrolling 108 students, each earning up to $2,300 in scholarships, SIS made number one for the first time. The program has been in California and at SF State for eight years and is funded by the Corporation for National and Community service.
It provides students with alternative ways to receive class credit, give back to underserved communities, and earn money for their education.
"The SSI program is a blessing to me, because although I have six internships and one job, I know that all the experiences are going to benefit me later down the line, when I go for a job in my profession," nursing student Jennifer Darden, 26, said.
The SF State senior said the program is doubly helpful because it offers a program where students like herself can complete required service hours and get rewarded.
"I was going to volunteer my services regardless, but to know that I can get reimbursed in a way for it is wonderful," she said.
"I did a lot of classroom presentations, looked at class schedules, and looked at what departments I wanted to cover," said Adam Calmenson, program coordinator at the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, which oversees the program.
"The SIS program's objective is to integrate the resources of SF State to help various underserved communities," Calmenson said.
The program coordinator for three years, Calmenson said his approach this year was to do more outreach to as many classes as possible, especially those that require students to meet a large amount of volunteer hours.
Although he focused on such classes, Calmenson said the program is open to all majors, and students can volunteer even if it is not required for class credit.
Students in the program enroll in 300 to 900 volunteer hours, to be completed within two years. At the completion of their hours, they receive scholarship awards up to $2,300 based on how many hours they chose to complete.
Once enrolled, students are allowed to volunteer their services any place they choose, such as schools, counseling centers, hospitals and after-school programs.
According to Calmenson, students may only use the scholarship award on tuition, student loans or school supplies.
Mariya Taher, 26, a graduate student studying social work, has been in SIS for two years. She is completing her required internships through the program and said it's a wonderful experience because it teaches people values and compassion.
Last year, she enrolled in 300 service hours through the program. She served in Mentoring for Success, an after-school program at middle schools for at-risk youth.
"We met outside of the school and did a collage about things that we liked, which I felt gave us a better bonding," Taher said.
Taher's assurance of the positive impact she made on the sixth-grader came at the end of her volunteering, when the girl's mother called and informed her on how much of a difference Taher made in her daughter's life.
This year Taher is focusing on serving women suffering from domestic violence, immigrant women who need help adjusting and refugees.
On the other hand, Darden is currently volunteering at the OMI Family Resource Center, where she provides the community with information on asthma and how to control it.
Darden said the program has helped her with school tremendously. She recommends the program to her friends in the nursing departments of various schools.
"They get excited every time I tell them about the program," she said.
To learn more about the program, visit http://www.sfsu.edu/~cacc/programs/sis.
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