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United Way hosting AmeriCorps Vista aides

Photo by Barry Levine

Photo by Barry Levine

ALBANY -- A new crop of volunteers have just began their service in Albany.

United Way of Southwest Georgia has partnered with AmeriCorps VISTA to bring additional volunteers into the Albany community.

The three volunteers, Stanley Joseph, Shanila Williams and Alesia Jackson, have committed to working a full calendar year at area non-profits. Joseph will be at The Anchorage, while Williams and Jackson will be with Strive 2 Thrive and Phoebe Network of Trust, respectively.

"Having AmeriCorps volunteers here through United Way is going to have an impact on the community," said Angie Barber, director of Phoebe Network of Trust. "It's all about teamwork and allowing the community to be the best it can be.

"This is such a gift to the community."

Their service officially began Monday with a formal introduction to leaders from the three non-profit organizations currently involved with the partnership.

The volunteers will be working in areas such as capacity building, volunteer resources, fundraising and grant writing as well as marketing. Some specific duties might include mentoring disadvantaged youth, improving health services, building affordable housing, teaching computer skills, cleaning parks or streams, managing or operating after-school programs, disaster assistance and building organizational capacity.

"United Way is seeking to be a community leader by hitting on areas that need to be worked on," said Lorraine Alexander, community impact director with United Way. "We are bringing in new blood to go into the organization and be an added resource to the staff."

This is the first group to come to the Albany area under this partnership. United Way has plans to add six more volunteers in two cycles of three. The next cycle is expected to come on board late this year, with the third starting service next year.

"This fits into United Way's mission and strategy, and it gets resources into the community," Alexander said. "The end result should be stronger programs."

Volunteers are drawn into the program by an advertisement placed on the AmeriCorps website, allowing people from throughout the nation to apply. For their service, volunteers receive a modest living allowance, health care and other benefits.