Program Spotlight: Building Communities, Bettering Lives
Host Orgaanization Name: YWCA Central Alabama
AmeriCorps Program Name: Building Communities, Bettering Lives
Number of Members Serving: 40 AmeriCorps Members (full-time)
Counties of Service: Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair, and Blount Counties
Program Staff: Joan Witherspoon-Norris, Social Justice Director; Angela Abdur-Rasheed, Program Director, Serra Craig, AmeriCorps Coordinator
AmeriCorps Program: The YWCA’s Building Communities, Bettering Lives AmeriCorps program is dedicated to addressing the needs of the greater Birmingham area. Members in our program serve in all of the YWCA program areas as well as partnering nonprofits in the greater Birmingham area whose work aligns with the YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Members serve in varying roles to help better the lives of people throughout the city of Birmingham through service in social justice, poverty, homelessness, childcare, community development, healthy families, youth empowerment, and environmental stewardship.
Goals and Objectives of the Program: The YWCA’s Building Communities, Bettering Lives programs has three key goals: 1) Recruit and manage volunteers, 2) Add to the capacity of nonprofits, and 3) Provide economically disadvantaged individuals with housing services.
Responsibilities of the AmeriCorps Members: Our program places members with the YWCA and partnering nonprofits agencies who have different missions that work towards addressing the needs of the greater Birmingham area. This diversity allows our members to have varied responsibilities which can include: assisting victims of domestic violence, facilitating curriculum-based programs in high schools aimed at domestic violence awareness, recruiting and managing volunteers, providing shelter and resources to families experiencing homelessness, assisting volunteer lawyers as they provide free legal service to individuals, teaching STEM curriculum to young girls, and assisting with after-school programs.