Celebrate AmeriCorps Members this Week

Beginning in October 2010, Wisconsin Early Childhood Association began the WECA AmeriCorps program in Milwaukee. This program seeks to improve the education of child care providers, offer skill development opportunities to Corps members, and boost the quality of Milwaukee area child care centers. Our current WECA AmeriCorps members provide consistent, affordable coverage for child care staff who must take time off of work to complete college courses. Corps members learn about early education through trainings, an accelerated college course, and direct experience. Additionally, Corps members complete projects related to early literacy, YoungStar, or nutrition to improve their host centers.

Everyday across the nation, many more AmeriCorps members are tackling America’s toughest problems in:
• Disaster Services
• Economic Opportunity
• Education
• Environmental Stewardship
• Healthy Futures
• Veterans and Military Families

To commemorate this service, join us as we celebrate the fifth annual AmeriCorps Week from May 14-21, 2011. Thank you to our WECA AmeriCorps members and to all AmeriCorps members across the nation!

New WECA AmeriCorps partnership offers child care staffing

Through AmeriCorps, Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) was awarded $260,000 to implement a program that supports existing child care providers as they earn college credits while Corps members become knowledgeable and skilled in the early education field through direct experience, training, and credit-based opportunities. The Celebrate Children Foundation and The Greater Milwaukee Foundation each contributed $25,000 to the project as well.

WECA is now accepting applications from centers who wish to participate in this new program! Greater Milwaukee Area child care centers with 2 or more T.E.A.C.H. scholars are eligible to apply for an AmeriCorps staff volunteer. A maximum of 20 centers in the Greater Milwaukee Area will be chosen to participate.

HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS
Applications can be mailed to you or downloaded from the WECA website. If your site is chosen, an AmeriCorps member will serve on-site approximately 32 hours per week for 10 months –  providing release time for T.E.A.C.H. recipients. Corps members may also provide non-release time staffing and will complete five quality improvement projects for your center.

Corps members will be recruited, screened, trained and mentored by WECA AmeriCorps staff. Corps members will complete ECE coursework before and during their service on-site. Participating sites will pay a total of $7,000 per Corps member.

For more information contact Autumn Gehri or Pam McQuin at WECA. Or call 1-800-783-9322, extension 7240.

New AmeriCorps Program to Benefit Early Education in Milwaukee Area

Through AmeriCorps, Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) was awarded $260,000 to develop a program that supports existing child care providers as they earn college credits while AmeriCorps members become knowledgeable and skilled in the early education field through direct experience, training, and credit-based opportunities.

The WECA AmeriCorps program addresses three community needs: supporting the current child care workforce, building a new and qualified future child care workforce, and improving literacy and other quality measures within Greater Milwaukee child care centers. The Celebrate Children Foundation and The Greater Milwaukee Foundation each contributed $25,000 to the project as well.

In keeping with the AmeriCorps mission of promoting service and volunteerism that enriches lives and communities, each AmeriCorps member will be required to recruit a total of four volunteers from the community. Together, the AmeriCorps members and the community volunteers will partake in a variety of community service projects that encourage parent participation within child care facilities and draw the attention of the larger community to the needs of early childhood centers, professionals and the families they serve.

“Studies continue to draw a direct connection between the quality of care that children receive and the education and skill level of the adults providing care,” says Ruth Schmidt, Executive Director of WECA. “The AmeriCorps project creates the ‘time away’ providers need to advance their education while teaching a new generation about the rewards of working with very young children.”

WECA was one of several applicants funded through “Serve Wisconsin” – a 22-member citizen body appointed by the Governor who award AmeriCorps funds through the Corporation for National and Community Service.

For more information, please contact Autumn Gehri, WECA AmeriCorps Project Director at agehri@wisconsinearlychildhood.org or (608) 240-9880 ext. 7229.