Delta Regional Authority’s DeltaCorps adds 21 new sites including Lowndes

Published 1:36 pm Friday, July 14, 2017

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Delta Regional Authority’s DeltaCorps adds 21 new sites including Lowndes

By Fred Guarino

The Delta Regional Authority’s DeltaCorps has added 52 new members at 21 new sites, including Lowndes County, across the Mississippi River Delta Region and the Black Belt of Alabama as the program celebrates its one-year anniversary.

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DeltaCorps is adding four new sites in Alabama; four in Arkansas; one in Ilinois; six in Louisiana; one in Missouri; four in Mississippi; and one in Tennessee.

DeltaCorps provides boots-on-the-ground members who are dedicated to serving the Delta by building communities and changing lives.

The program has members serving local communities and organizations in all eight states covered by the Delta Regional Authority (DRA). DeltaCorps, supported by a DRA investment of $1.2 million, focuses on education, environmental stewardship, disaster recovery, economic opportunity, veterans and military families, and healthy futures.

DeltaCorps members have recruited and managed over 2,000 volunteers and supported 300 displaced residents throughout the Delta as they returned to safe, stable housing during the inaugural first year.

“The enthusiastic response from communities and organizations has reaffirmed the importance of national community service,” DRA Chairman Chris Masingill said. “DRA launched DeltaCorps one year ago today (Friday, July 14), and this effort is serving under-resourced communities across the Delta region. DeltaCorps members are making a difference every day to enhance community capacity and improve the quality of life in our region.”

The sites in Alabama are:
• Black Belt Treasures Cultural Arts Center, Camden; •Impact America, Birmingham; Southeast Alabama Area Health Education Center, Lowndes County; and West Central Alabama Area Health Education Center, Greensboro.

According to Andrew Moreau, “DRA is placing one DeltaCorps member with the Southeast Alabama Area Health Education Center (AHEC). The DeltaCorps member will be responsible for reaching 10 students in the 11th and 12th grade, who attend the Lowndes County Health Professions Academy.”

He said, “The goal is to improve academic performance in core subjects other than literacy and math. The DeltaCorps member also will leverage an additional three volunteers who will be engaged in raising awareness for the project and recruiting students to attend the academy.”

Martha Davis Vignes, MA, executive director of Southeast Alabama AHEC (SEAAHEC). She said the Health Professions Academy will be an “after school program in Lowndes County to recruit 11th and 12 grade students into healthcare careers.”

She said a location has yet to be determined. She said, “We will get someone onboard in September” to run it, to get a location, build a curriculum and recruit students. And she said the program would probably kickoff in January.

DeltaCorps is a program of AmeriCorps and DRA that engages individuals and organizations in intensive service in the DRA footprint. DeltaCorps is modeled after the highly successful AmeriCorps program, which since 1994 has attracted 1 million members who have contributed more than 1.2 billion service hours to communities across the nation.

DeltaCorps is a partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service, which is providing $302,380 in education awards to the 52 new members. This is an addition to the $386,925 in education awards already committed to the 67 DeltaCorps members in 2016-2017.

In 2017-2018, DRA plans to contribute $17,500 per DeltaCorps member placed at an organization, with a total of 52 positions in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. Participating organizations must provide a $2,000 match per DeltaCorps member that is applied toward a living allowance.