CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) - AmeriCorps in partnership with Energy Express welcomed over 500 volunteers earlier today with a swear-in ceremony.
This partnership celebrates their 25th consecutive year by providing children of rural and low-income areas summer education resources and meals.
Eighty-two units have been established across 32 counties and the eight-week program is set to begin on June 18th.
According to Heather Foster, Executive Director of Volunteer West Virginia said, the program is successful in terms of turnaround.
"Many of the children that participate in the program come back as volunteers, as teens, and then they go to college and become AmeriCorps members and serve again, so there's really a continuous cycle in building that culture of service and culture of helping each other, and commitment to children is really important for the program."
Energy Express, a program of West Virginia University Extension, is the largest summer AmeriCorps program in the country, and has a larger agenda for this year - to serve over 3,000 kids across West Virginia.
In exchange, mentors receive a living allowance and relief to accumulated student debt, but most say that's not why they're in it.
Nik Walker, a four-year volunteer explained, "people are getting behind this because we want to see the young people of West Virginia thrive. I don't know about Northern West Virginia, but Southern West Virginia's been hit hard economically, and so giving back to the young kids here is something that will really go a long way in the future."
There are two Energy Express sites in Kanawha County (Harambee and Pratt), for all other locations, visit: https://extension.wvu.edu/youth-family/youth-education/energy-express#eelocations
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