Energy Express, West Virginia University Extension’s award-winning program, is returning this summer to bring reading and nutrition education to children across West Virginia. The program is currently seeking individuals to serve as community coordinators and mentors for approximately 60 sites across the state.
AmeriCorps members are needed to serve as community coordinators and caring mentors for children in the program. These volunteers will serve for six weeks during the summer, from June 20 to July 29 for the Energy Express program, plus additional time for training and set up before the program begins. Training will be on June 9 and 10 in Morgantown, and the week of June 13 to 17 will give members and volunteers time to set up, plan and meet children before the program begins.
It takes a community to make Energy Express a beneficial part of children’s summers. Youths, AmeriCorps members and other volunteers work together with site supervisors to create a meaningful experience for children entering first through sixth grade—particularly in rural and low-income communities.
Chelsea Wood, a teacher and Energy Express site coordinator in Lewis County, loves working with the program each year. As a child, Wood participated in the program and later went on to serve as an AmeriCorps member. Now, she’s back in the classroom sharing her love of the program with local children.
“Reading and being able to tie in the activities really meant a lot to me, and it always stuck with me,” Wood said. “It honestly means the world to know that we have little ones that are going to develop their love of reading too.”
Along with being a rewarding personal experience, AmeriCorps members earn an education award, living allowance and service hours. College students who serve as mentors are eligible to receive a $1,374.60 educational award, $2,350 living allowance and 300 service hours.
More than that, being a mentor offers the chance to gain leadership skills and experience, as well as create meaningful relationships within your community.
Delcie McCord has been an AmeriCorps mentor for three years, and she cherishes her experience with Energy Express. “The relationships that I’ve made, not only with the people I work with and the community, but the bond I’ve made with these children is amazing,” she said.
To be eligible to serve as an AmeriCorps volunteer, you must be at least 18 years old before June 9, 2022. Applications are available now and will stay open until all positions are filled. Contact your local WVU Extension office to find out if the program is offered in your area.
If you want to learn about WVU Extension, visit extension.wvu.edu or follow @WVUExtension on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.
CONTACT: Sydney Keener