Who Participates in Service Programs?
Anyone can benefit from a Year of Service program and should be able to find one that is appropriate for their needs and interests. Some service programs will have specific requirements or pre-requisites including: college experience or degree, specific skills or experience, particular faith background, etc. However, most programs are open to anyone over the age of 18 who has the interest and commitment to serve.
College students and recent college graduates tend to be a large percentage of the participants in these programs. Students will often take a year off from their studies to take part in one of these programs or will participate after completing their degree. These programs are popular with students upon graduation since they can provide a great entry-level experience in a variety of fields or provide a transitional year before continuing further studies.
What Types of Programs are Out There?
Year of Service programs vary greatly. Some programs address a single community issue or need and are located in a specific community or geographic region. Other programs offer placements addressing a range of issues throughout a broad geographic area. Some programs select one or two participants each year, while others select large groups or corps that typically train and in some cases work and even live together. Whether you want an individual placement in a rural town or a group service and learning experience in a major city, you should be able to find a program that fits your interests.
A large percentage of Year of Service programs receive some funding from the federal government through the Corporation for National Service and carry the AmeriCorps name. These opportunities are available throughout the country serving in many different capacities and addressing numerous community issues. For more information on the range of opportunities available through and sponsored by AmeriCorps, see the web resources provided. In addition, a significant number of Year of Service programs are sponsored by faith-based organizations. There are hundreds of these programs with placement sites throughout the world. Some require a specific faith background while others are ecumenical in nature. For a list of some of the larger faith-based programs see the web resources provided.
Note: Many of the above resources were adapted from an article written by Jon McConnell, Student Development Programs Director, Haas Center for Public Service, Stanford University and Alice Bergman, Former Director, Reed College Career Center.