Sauk Valley Community College

an institution of higher education that provides quality learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of its students and community

AmeriCorps Q&A

AmeriCorps Q&A

How do AmeriCorps members fit into the workforce of the host site?
AmeriCorps members are not employees of the school or agency. They have a special designation and are appointed by ABC AmeriCorps at SVCC into the position.
What can be expected from the AmeriCorps program office?
ABC AmeriCorps Administrative Assistant will coordinate with the business office for payment of your living allowance, direct deposit is encouraged. Appropriate taxes including Medicare, FICA will be withheld and Workers' Compensation insurance is provided. AmeriCorps will provide one (1) shirt and a member service kit for each member, as well as a handbook of program policies and guidelines for each member and host site.
What about additional training?
ABC AmeriCorps will provide an initial week of required orientation and training in early August (dates will be provided), and then weekly training outside of the host site. The weekly training will be held at SVCC on every Friday from 2:00-3:30 pm in room 1K4. (In-person attendance at the first meeting of the month is required for outlying members. The other weeks they will attend by distance learning.) Also, there will be two (2) additional MANDATORY FULL -DAY REFLECTION RETREATS on Saturdays in November and May (dates will be provided).
What kind of activities do AmeriCorps members do?
Academic, education, tutoring and mentoring activities of children, youth and families in the schools and communities are examples. AmeriCorps can also participate in environmental, public safety, homeland security, and other human service needs community service projects. An emphasis is put on service learning activities for youth.
AmeriCorps members cannot engage in the following activities during term of service.
  • Cannot participate in political activities, including lobbying and voter registration.
  • Cannot promote the ministry of a church, although they can participate in activities that serve the whole community which are held in a church, teaching academics in a religious school is permitted as along as members are not giving religious instruction.
  • Cannot assist in union activities, including the organizing of a Union.
  • Cannot assist a business that is for profit. There may be some exceptions to variations of these rules, for instance, painting over gang graffiti on downtown businesses is acceptable if it is part of a project fighting the influences of gang activity.
  • Cannot write grants.
  • Cannot spend more than 10% of their time throughout the program term on fund raising.
What activities were identified in the grant as possible service tasks?
ABC AmeriCorps encourages the sites to incorporate the following tasks into the service plan, although the list is not inclusive.
  • Tutor teacher-identified children, Pre-K through High School, on literacy and academic skills, including phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension.
  • Recruiting and/or training youth volunteers for service activities that encourage giving back to their community through service-learning projects, such as helping younger children, picking up trash at a park, visit a nursing home, rake leaves for the elderly, etc.
  • Work with community-based organizations to provide them the opportunity for them to expand their tutoring, mentoring, service learning and community education services.
  • Work with kids in summer programs, including summer school, SYP, teen centers, library reading programs, and summer lunch programs. (Summer minimum-time positions.)
Who will make a good AmeriCorps member?
Members will be chosen on a non-discriminatory basis, with potential members who speak both English and Spanish being encouraged to apply. Other diversity that will be sought in the team include age, gender, educational attainment, ethnicity, special needs, rural/urban geographic background, socioeconomic background, and a variety of experience, interests, and personality types. Persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply! Accommodations are available.
What is required to be an AmeriCorps member?
The members chosen will have:
  • A minimum of a GED or high school diploma,
  • Be at least 18 years of age (or 17, out of high school, and permission of parent),
  • Be able to read and write at a literate level,
  • Have reliable transportation, be a legal resident of the USA,
  • Be drug-free with a commitment to remain so throughout the service term, and
  • Be able to pass criminal and DCFS background checks.
Beyond these requirements, the program is looking for individuals who have a commitment to serve people and work with children, have good people skills and are tolerant of differences, are motivated self-starters, are flexible and able to prioritize and work with changes, and are able to work independently and as well as part of a team. These skills will also be taught and reinforced throughout the term of service.
Are members required to take a drug test?
Yes. AmeriCorps is a drug-free environment. All members are tested during the first week of reporting to the campus and randomly throughout the program year. Members who test positive for illegal drugs are dismissed from the program.
What do I do if I want to apply for this program?
Interested individuals need to fill out the application found on the Joining ABC AmeriCorps page, print it and send it to the address or fax number below. If you have questions, you can call 815/288-5511 x313.
What is the interview process? How do I choose my site?
After your application is received, you will receive an invite to one of AmeriCorps Informational Meetings at SVCC. After the meeting if you are still interested, you will fill out a form designating areas of your interest and special talents. After you attended the Information Meeting and have completed the interests/talents form, an interview time with set with the Program Director, Heather Gieseke.
Contingent upon acceptance into the program, you will be scheduled an interview with the program director/supervisor at one our host sites that ABC AmeriCorps determines fits best with your interest and talents. If the host site accepts you, you will be notified and membership processing will begin.
You will become an official ABC AmeriCorps member after you pass the criminal background checks, including fingerprint scanning. This is a competitive process, and not all who apply will make it into the ABC AmeriCorps Program.
How much does host site sponsorship cost?
LevelHoursCost
Part-time member 900 $2700.00
Quarter-time member 450 $1600.00
Minimum-time 300 $1100.00
Summer time 300 $1100.00
Who provides the funding for ABC AmeriCorps?
The AmeriCorps program is largely funded by a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (ICVCS) of the Department of Human Services (DHS) oversees ABC AmeriCorps, which is an AmeriCorps State program. Additional funds are supplied by Sauk Valley Community College, who is the fiscal agent, and community partners and host sites. The National Trust pays for the education award given to each member at the end of service.
Can I defer student loans during my service with AmeriCorps?
You may qualify for postponement, or forbearance, of the repayment of your loans during your service. The education award will help you pay off qualified student loans when you're finished. Contact your lender for more specific information or to confirm your loan status during AmeriCorps service.
Are there any loan forgiveness programs or repayment plans that I might qualify for as an AmeriCorps member?
On September 27, 2007, President Bush signed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 (“CCRAA”) into law. In addition to other amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965, the CCRAA created two new federal programs: a new Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and a new Income-Based Repayment plan (IBR) for the repayment of federal loans. The new Income-Based Repayment plan helps to make repaying education loans more affordable for low-income borrowers, such as an AmeriCorps member living on a stipend; AmeriCorps service is also recognized as equivalent to a public service job for the purposes of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
Is AmeriCorps like Peace Corps?
Yes. AmeriCorps is often referred to as "the domestic Peace Corps." Both agencies are committed to service, and both offer challenging and rewarding full-time opportunities. Peace Corps assignments are all overseas, and AmeriCorps members serve only in the US. While Peace Corps Volunteers serve for two years, a stint in AmeriCorps usually lasts 10 months to one year. (Some AmeriCorps projects also offer part-time opportunities, and some AmeriCorps members serve more than one term of service.)
How many terms can I serve?
Members can serve in AmeriCorps for two years. However they must reapply for the second year.