National report showcases 3 Maine AmeriCorps projects as model programs

Nathan McIvor

Decorative graphic featuring text that reads Expanding Service Years in States and Local Communities overlaid on a photo of a group of people taking an oath in a large room.A recently updated report highlights the AmeriCorps Resilience Corps, Maine Energy AmeriCorps Program (MEAP) and the new Lifelong Maine AmeriCorps Program as part of a set of programs that are “an inspiration and guide for state and local leaders” across the country.  

AmeriCorps, America’s Service Commissions (ASC), and Service Year included these Maine-based projects their report “Expanding Service Years in States and Local Communities.” The report compiles information and stratagems from successful AmeriCorps service projects throughout the United States to guide public sector and community leaders who want to expand and improve their AmeriCorps service projects.

One of the three programs, AmeriCorps Resilience Corps, focuses on helping the greater Portland area rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. The service project’s members help local public and nonprofit agencies take action on mitigating climate change, racial equity, and digital equity so that communities can provide a safe and equitable future for all of their inhabitants. The program is sponsored by the Greater Portland Council of Governments.

"I am so proud to see the GPCOG Resilience Corps program included in this report. Given that our program is still in its first year, the positive attention, feedback, and recognition we have received has been incredibly gratifying and affirming," said Julia Breul, who serves as the Program Manager for Resiliency Corps. She also noted that  "In its first year, the Resilience Corps boosted capacity and accelerated pandemic recovery and regional resilience through projects aiding small business support, broadband expansion, housing equity and land use planning, transportation accessibility, sustainability, and climate action planning."

AmeriCorps service members in MEAP build window inserts, provide green energy education to community members and conduct green energy assessments. Their work improves energy efficiency throughout the State of Maine, with special emphasis on economically disadvantaged households that might not otherwise access MEAP’s valuable service, training and resources.  

AmeriCorps Resilience Corps members serve at a local food bank

The report emphasized how service in programs such as MEAP can revitalize communities and counter growing unemployment among young adults, as service members in MEAP learn valuable skills in community outreach and green energy that have a future in America’s (and Maine’s) booming green energy sector. Maine Campus Compact sponsors MEAP.

The new Lifelong Maine AmeriCorps Program, sponsored by the UMaine Center on Aging, will help older citizen’s in Maine’s rural communities and improve the resources available to them. Five AmeriCorps members and 25 volunteers will directly serve seniors through transportation, companionship and other social services. Additionally, these members and volunteers will work with public and nonprofit groups to improve services available to the elderly at the local level throughout Maine. The program was mapped out through an AmeriCorps planning grant and will roll out in the second half of 2021. The service project is headquartered in Orono, ME on the University of Maine campus and will begin its operations in five of the following potential areas: Blue Hill Peninsula, Deer Isle/Stonington, Machias, Millinocket, Danforth, Jackman, Madison, Caribou, Bucksport, Waldo County and Presque Isle.

All three AmeriCorps programs reflect the report’s interest in cultivating a local and state talent pipeline for corps members to learn valuable skills while improving local communities. Members receive exposure and training in various career paths that can lead to professional flourishing later in life, all while making the world a better place.

The report notes that individuals tackle countless national problems by serving one year with AmeriCorps. Service projects range from tutoring centers in disadvantaged communities, conservation work, emergency response efforts, and alleviating hunger and homelessness, and much more. Maine’s successful projects reveal an enormous groundswell of talent and service that will improve countless lives throughout the state.

Use the embedded link below to download a copy of the report. The report can also be accessed on the Service Year website -- click here.