Become an AmeriCorps Member!
Find the Right Program for You
In any given year, there are thousands of AmeriCorps service opportunities available in California.
To find your perfect match, look through the list of the 2016-17 CaliforniaVolunteers AmeriCorps Programs, or visit the Corporation for National and Community Service, pick your area of interest and state from the pull-down menu on the right side of the page.
Which Program is Right for You?
There are a number of ways you can serve as an AmeriCorps member. Depending if you want to serve full-time or part-time or what type of service you want to provide, there is an AmeriCorps program that is right for you!
Each year, more than 11,000 AmeriCorps members serve throughout California. In California, AmeriCorps programs are run by local nonprofit organizations/public agencies with support and oversight provided by CaliforniaVolunteers. In addition, there are a number of programs in California that are run by national nonprofit organizations.
In either case, AmeriCorps members provide direct service in one of four issue areas: education, public safety, health/other human needs, or the environment. In addition, AmeriCorps members assist with volunteer recruitment and management.
Examples of member service activities include tutoring, providing services to the homeless, and recruiting other community volunteers. Placement sites include schools, nonprofits, afterschool programs, environmental organizations and a host of others.
AmeriCorps members serve full-time or part-time over a period of 10-12 months depending on their program model. On average, full-time members will serve 40 hours a week during the course of the program year, and part-time members will serve between 10-20 hours depending on the parameters of their program.
Approximately 80 percent of a member's time is spent providing service and the remaining 20 percent is spent in training with fellow corps members. Typically, in full-time programs one day a week is set aside for member training.
AmeriCorps*VISTAs serve in low-income communities to assist impoverished individuals and communities attain self-sufficiency. Each year, more than 300 VISTAs serve throughout California.
VISTAs serve full-time for a year with nonprofit groups, public agencies, and faith-based organizations throughout California, working to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create and expand businesses, increase housing opportunities, and bridge the digital divide.
Unlike AmeriCorps members who provide direct service, AmeriCorps*VISTAs are engaged in capacity building activities such as fundraising/grant-writing, developing systems, creating training programs, etc.
AmeriCorps*NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) is a 10-month, team-based, full-time residential program for men and women between the ages of 18 and 24.
NCCC combines the best practices of civilian service with the best aspects of military service, including leadership training and team building. Members serve in diverse teams of 10 to 14 individuals. Priority is given to projects in homeland security and disaster relief.
Teams are based at four campuses across the country. The 14 western states and the Pacific Territories (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming).
AmeriCorps members must be at least 17 years of age (AmeriCorps*VISTA and AmeriCorps*NCCC require that you are at least 18 years of age).
In addition, prospective members must be U.S. citizens, nationals, or lawful permanent resident aliens.
Members that will serve with children and youth or other vulnerable populations such as the elderly will be required to go through a criminal history background check.
Each program has its own selection process. After identifying programs of interest to you, you should contact the program to determine its selection process and obtain a copy of the member position description which will include minimum and desirable qualifications. The selection process typically includes an application (either on-line or paper) and an interview.
Disability Inclusion Efforts
CaliforniaVolunteers strives to ensure that all Californians, including persons with disabilities, are empowered to serve.
- CaliforniaVolunteers’ disability inclusion efforts aim to increase the number of people with disabilities serving as AmeriCorps members and volunteers across the state. CaliforniaVolunteers encourages partnerships between the disability and service/volunteering fields to broker service and volunteer placements for people with disabilities across California. Through this collaboration, AmeriCorps programs, volunteer centers, and the disability inclusion field continue to build relationships and strategies that will result in the integration of inclusion into service and volunteer recruitment and management.
Need Addressed through Program
- Increase the number of people with disabilities participating in service and volunteering activities;
- Identify and address barriers for people with disabilities in service and volunteer positions;
- Identify and address barriers for service and volunteer programs to recruit and place people with disabilities; and,
- Provide AmeriCorps programs with strategies to continue to build inclusive environments and opportunities for people of all abilities.
- Outreach, training, and technical assistance:
- Maintain and develop new partnerships with disability organizations to recruit, place, and support people with disabilities in AmeriCorps programs, and to raise awareness of service and volunteering as a valuable opportunity for people with disabilities
- Secure or provide reasonable accommodations for AmeriCorps members
- Address needs and gaps in program capacity related to inclusion through trainings and workshops
- Generate accessible outreach material in multiple formats, including print, web, and other media
Key Lessons about the Disability Inclusion Program
- Partners have engaged a variety of AmeriCorps programs and volunteer centers in rural and urban areas to provide diverse service and volunteering opportunities to people with disabilities.
- Collaboration with partners and disability organizations has resulted in plans to develop innovative outreach material to communicate service and volunteering as meaningful opportunities for people with disabilities, and to assist disability organizations and AmeriCorps programs in recognizing the value of service and hosting people with disabilities as volunteers (i.e., development of a transition toolkit for youth with disabilities in collaboration with the California Health Incentives Improvement Project, outreach material targeted to AmeriCorps programs and disability organizations to overcome knowledge barriers).
What the Disability Inclusion Program could have improved on:
- Target outreach to disability organizations to raise awareness of AmeriCorps programming as an opportunity for service delivery (i.e., encouraging disability organizations to apply for AmeriCorps funding).
- Support programs in the development of new service and volunteer opportunities that are a strong match for people with disabilities through continued training and technical assistance.
For More Information
Need some inspiration to serve or volunteer? Please check out our brochures and testimonials and get a few ideas on how and why you should volunteer today!
For persons with visual impairments, we invite you to listen to our testimonials:
If your organization is interested an opening doors to persons with disabilities, gain some tips and insights by clicking on the brochure below:
For an additional resource that empowers persons with disabilities to serve, please visit our partners at the UCLA Tarjan Center.
If you are interested in serving as an AmeriCorps member, please visit our National Service Directory to find an AmeriCorps programs by county. Other national service programs are accessible through the National Service Directory as well.
During their term of service, full-time members receive a modest living allowance. For the 2013-14 program year, the minimum living allowance for full-time members is $12,100. Depending on the program, part-time members may receive a living allowance.
In addition to the living allowance, all members who complete a term of service receive a Segal Education Award (valued at $5,550 for full-time members). The education award can be used pay for college, graduate school, or to pay back qualified student loans. Further, members with qualifying student loans are eligible for student loan deferment during their term of service. For more information regarding the Segal Education Award, please click here.
Full-time members also receive health insurance and child care (if eligible).
What Will You Do as an AmeriCorps Member?
The service activities of AmeriCorps members will depend on the program. However, here is a sampling of member service activities by issue area:
* Providing targeted tutoring in language arts and math to students in high priority schools who tested below grade level;
* Improving the quality and availability of child development programs by serving in day care, Head Start centers and preschool programs.
* Eliminating environmental risks, especially those that affect children and youth, such as lead poisoning and radon exposure;
* Engaging community volunteers in ongoing environmental monitoring, such as water quality testing; and,
* Assessing, restoring and stewarding local watersheds.
Health and Other Human Needs
* Providing nutrition education and engaging children and adults in physical activity;
* Improving health of low-income communities by conducting outreach and offering preventive health services, including immunization, through community health clinics; and,
* Helping individuals who are homeless, particularly families, by providing shelter support, assisting in moving into permanent housing and related services.
* Enhancing community policing efforts by working with local law enforcement to develop specific crime prevention strategies targeted at key locations such as playgrounds and other public gathering places for children, youth and other potentially vulnerable populations;
* Providing community disaster/emergency preparedness education and training to individuals, families, and community organizations (secular and faith-based); and,
* Serving as outreach specialists as a means to deter domestic violence and child abuse.
The AmeriCorps Pledge
I will get things done for America – to make our people safer, smarter and healthier.
I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities.
Faced with apathy, I will take action.
Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground.
Faced with adversity, I will persevere.
I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond.
I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done.