COVID Containment Response Corps
AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers made up the heart of Colorado’s COVID Containment Response Corps (CRCC) in 2020.
In the spring of 2020, a statewide collaboration formed the CCRC to increase capacity for Local Public Health Authorities to respond to rising COVID-19 cases.
Members’ activities included case investigation, contact tracing, resource coordination, test-result notification, and isolation and quarantine monitoring.
This impactful partnership has garnered national attention and served as a model for other states looking to strengthen their COVID-19 response.
- AmeriCorps NCCC
- AmeriCorps State and National
- AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP
- AmeriCorps VISTA
- Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
- Community Resource Center
- Conservation Legacy
- Gary Community Investments
- Volunteers of America Colorado
“I love to hear students excitedly talk about their futures, despite adversities. I love to see their faces when they choose to turn their cameras on. I love when they utilize our brave space to share some of their story with me. I love that I am a familiar (virtual) face to students this year.” - Gabriella (left), Corps for a Change Member
Alpine Achievers Initiative
25 AmeriCorps members served students in rural south-central Colorado, offering math tutoring, literacy tutoring, and one-on-one time with students.
Photo: An Alpine Achievers Initiative member facilitates a science lesson.
Members also provided behavioral support to help students focus longer and reduce disruptive behaviors during class.
When schools switched to remote learning in March, members got creative to provide virtual out-of-school time programming and created videos on art, geography, history, and more to share with their students.
Members worked with local agencies to distribute 20 gallons of hand sanitizer, 200 masks, and more than 1,000 meals.
City Year Denver
City Year Denver partnered with Denver Public Schools to place young adults in schools to provide individual support to students in need of extra attention.
Photo: City Year members send a virtual message to their students.
The program placed 82 AmeriCorps members in nine Denver Public Schools.
When school went remote, City Year Denver AmeriCorps members held virtual office hours with students, made attendance calls, and hosted virtual clubs and events to maintain social connection. Members became fully integrated into remote learning, supporting partner teachers by monitoring chats, facilitating break-out sessions, and recording literacy and math learning materials.
Corps for a Change
A program of Colorado Youth for a Change
Corps for a Change engaged off-track or disengaged high school students to prevent them from dropping out.
Photo: A Corps for A Change AmeriCorps member shared her "why" in this photo from summer 2020.
27 AmeriCorps members assisted students in 2020 through case management, home visits, phone calls, tutoring, and resource referral.
An additional 34 AmeriCorps members served as student engagement specialists in school districts along the Front Range, serving elementary through high school students.
Since mid-September, more than 1,500 students struggling with remote learning have been served.
288 supportive service plans were created to refer families to various resources, including mental health counseling and food assistance.
Following safety guidelines, members have conducted home visits to help students and families navigate technical challenges. Members have also helped families overcome language barriers by bringing translated handouts and recording instructional videos in Spanish, ensuring families have the information needed for their students' success in the virtual environment.
Colorado Reading Corps
A program of Colorado Youth for a Change
Colorado Reading Corps focused on improving literacy of students in kindergarten through third grade.
Photo: A Reading Corps Member tutoring behind plexiglass.
This program placed 72 AmeriCorps members to deliver one-on-one reading interventions to students who were below grade level with additional before- and after-school enrichment.
999 students received literacy support through Colorado Reading Corps in 2020.
When the pandemic forced schools to shift to remote learning, Reading Corps AmeriCorps members provided online reading interventions and tutoring for grades K-3. Reading Corps also has AmeriCorps members serving in two preschools. When in person, members were embedded in preschool classrooms working individually with students.
Colorado State University Extension 4-H STEM Initiative
13 AmeriCorps members provided after-school science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programming to underserved and at-risk youth.
Photo: Take-home STEM kits called "Birdfeeder in a Bag" were delivered to students to provide engaging activities during remote learning.
These programs help youth develop 21st-century workforce skills, stay on track to graduate from high school, and consider STEM academic and career choices.
Members found creative ways to continue reaching students during the pandemic, from delivering at-home STEM kits and creating live videos of experiments that students can do at home to 3D-printing personal protective equipment.
"Garfield county has really benefited from the AmeriCorps members. The members stuck with it during the pandemic transition and what they accomplished was awesome!" – Kaycee Manuppella, Site Supervisor, Garfield County Extension
A program of Parent Possible
Colorado HIPPYCorps delivers the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) curriculum.
Photo: A HIPPYCorps member delivers materials to a family.
Through the program, 49 AmeriCorps members made weekly visits to families with children ages 2-5 years to ensure school readiness. During each visit, the member role-played an activity packet with the parent, so the parent could then complete the activity with their child throughout the week.
When COVID-19 made it impossible to continue in-person visits, AmeriCorps members continued to meet with families virtually, delivering books and other materials for parents to use with their children.
796 children received education support through this program in 2020.
In June, one HIPPY Service Site — the Focus Points Family Resource Center — provided a year-end drive-through celebration for families that had completed the program.
Mountain Roots Healthy Futures
A program of Mountain Roots Food Project and Trailhead Institute
Mountain Roots Healthy Futures placed 15 AmeriCorps members that provided nutrition and environmental education, community and school gardens, and increased access to healthy food.
Photo: Trisha, an AmeriCorps member with Mountain Roots Healthy Futures, prepares food as part of the program's COVID-19 response.
When the pandemic hit, Mountain Roots became an integral part of the food relief system.
AmeriCorps members provided logistics to grow more fresh food in the community, gathering community volunteers, local gardeners and local food producers. Members also partnered with restaurants to rescue food and distribute it through a new free-market model.
3,909 pounds of food were distributed and 9,946 pounds of meals were provided through the program in 2020.
AmeriCorps members funneled information to their communities on COVID-19 testing, symptoms, contact tracing and public health measures. They also created seed starter kits to foster learning from home and continued to connect 100 families to the outdoors/nature.
AmeriCorps members also broke ground on a new farm near Crested Butte and revived victory gardens in dozens of backyards across the valley to increase the local fresh food supply.
Rural Alliance for Dignity
A program of La Puente Home
Rural Alliance for Dignity (RAD) is a consortium of community-based organizations serving severely under-resourced, geographically diverse, rural communities in the San Luis Valley.
Photo: AmeriCorps member Elaina Alzaibak hands out Thanksgiving Turkeys for La Puente's Food Bank Network at a food bank in Alamosa.
59 AmeriCorps members adapted their service to safely continue serving the area’s most vulnerable populations throughout the pandemic.
Members addressed unmet needs such as housing, emergency food assistance, garden science, nutrition education, and social, emotional, and academic support services.
AmeriCorps members at Mt. Carmel Wellness and Community Center helped quickly transition their health and wellness classes to the virtual environment. The class offerings included physical activity, healthy cooking, and creative arts for kids and adults. Classes were often full and participants were grateful to have avenues to stay healthy and connected during the pandemic.
Photo: Rural Alliance for Dignity AmeriCorps members Hazen Roe and Sophia Butler provided Cooking for Seniors classes virtually at their service site at Mt. Carmel.
"This year, Valley Educational Gardens Initiative (VEGI) member Sabine Meyer-Hill made a graceful transition from educational gardening activities to preparing sacked lunches and dinners to be distributed to the homeless population in Alamosa. She was a huge help at our local Food Bank." -Local Supervisor
Hugh Poland, an AmeriCorps member serving with the volunteer coordination program, effortlessly worked with the food bank program to adjust programming to incorporate social distancing practices while still providing clients access to healthy food.
"Emma's availability for tutoring during the shutdown was the only reason any learning took place for my kiddo." - Parent from the Boys and Girls Club of the High Rockies in Bailey
A program of United Way of Southwest Colorado
TeamUP AmeriCorps placed 11 members to improve child and family wellbeing. Members coached families on early literacy, provided food to those who needed it, and mentored children after school.
Photo: TeamUP AmeriCorps member Sam Lewarchick led an online Lava Lamp workshop for the Boys and Girls Club in La Plata County.
Each member pitched in to support families remotely when possible or by staffing food pantries. In addition, many members piloted creative programs that engaged students and families in extracurricular activities and support, despite restrictions.
One AmeriCorps member was responsible for implementing LENA Home, a word-tracking program that helps families increase interactive talk with their young children. The member continued to serve families remotely when the pandemic hit by safely dropping off equipment and providing support virtually.
Another member organized a safe, outdoor art show for the local Boys & Girls Club. Family and friends supported the young artists' work displayed on the walls of a local coffee shop, and students got to experience how to be showcased artists and good patrons of the arts.
Still other members provided critical mental health support, curriculum development, and other supports that contributed to students' academic performance, safety, and social and emotional well-being.
Youth Corps for Colorado
A program of the Colorado Youth Corps Association
AmeriCorps members in Youth Corps for Colorado performed disaster relief and mitigation activities, protected and strengthened outdoor recreation infrastructure, and installed energy efficiency measures in the homes of low-income families.
295 members served in five conservation corps across 48 counties.
Photo: Cody, a Youth Corps AmeriCorps member, removes an invasive thistle during a clean up project.
During COVID-19, many Youth Corps for Colorado members continued their regular service with some adaptations. Others changed direction, serving at local food banks.
During March and April, Youth Corps for Colorado members served 13,344 meals, collected or distributed 120,000 pounds of food, and sorted 96,000 pounds of donations.
Mile High Youth Corps created a video highlighting the vital activities AmeriCorps members performed to help communities facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The crew was excellent! They worked every day in near 100 degree weather and never gave up and impressed our staff greatly.” – Lee Carstensen, Parks Supervisor, Pueblo Parks and Recreation
Environmental Education Corps
A program of the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education
The Environmental Education Corps (eeCorps) program launched in 2020, placing 12 AmeriCorps members at nonprofits and schools around the state to provide equitable environmental education experiences.
Photo: An AmeriCorps member leads students on an educational hike.
Members focused on increasing environmental literacy for PreK-12 students and implementing the goals outlined in the Colorado Environmental Education Plan.
Story From Environmental Education Corps
"The children of Garnet Mesa lined up and screamed as they jumped on their bikes. Blue, yellow, and orange frames glistened in the dull November sun...
Then, silence. Before them, I raised my arms to the clouds, as big as a Juniper, reigning their attention. "Ride!" I dropped my arms violently as dust filled the air. Bikes shot forward, leaving but a few students behind. Lydia couldn't ride and was left behind.
Minutes pass. Lydia felt discouraged. The rest of the students pedaled away towards the obstacle course as she finally accepted my help.
"I can't do it, Andrew," she softly admitted. "Yes, you can," I said encouragingly.
I showed her the proper starting position of the pedals and then the basics of movement and balance. I told her "the hardest part is getting going, then you just have to believe in yourself and keep on pedaling!" I gave her a push and there she went, riding carefully across the schoolyard.
This moment defines my AmeriCorps service because a student went from immense frustration to total confidence in one moment. That light went off signaling a new skill learned. The Nature Connection exists for this reason: to create a spark that ignites a lifetime of positive life experiences. I know that this moment changed Lydia, and even though I won't be around to see it, I believe that it will shape her relationship to the challenging, the unknown, and the next tier of growth."
-Andrew (pictured), AmeriCorps member serving at The Nature Connection in Hotchkiss, Colo.
Launch Colorado Climate Corps
Following a year of record-breaking wildfires, Serve Colorado and 32 climate staff from 15 agencies will launch a Colorado Climate Corps program. The Corps will:
- Empower local governments and organizations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create clean energy jobs, and support the transition of workers into clean energy roles.
- Develop the next generation of climate action leaders.
Expand Diversity and Inclusion
In 2020, we provided opportunities for Serve Colorado staff, program staff, and AmeriCorps members to expand their knowledge of diversity and inclusion practices. These efforts included:
- Creating the Member Advisory Committee to increase member perspectives in the development of training and engagement activities.
- Hosting a workshop on intersectionality, privilege, and marginalization and a panel discussion on supporting people with disabilities during the regional AmeriCorps member conferences.
- Organizing the “Inclusive Excellence” workshop for AmeriCorps program staff during their annual AmeriCorps grants management training.
- Joining America’s Service Commission’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Cohort which provided further opportunities for staff to learn and grow in this space.
In 2021, we will prioritize this work by reviewing our policies with a diversity and inclusion lens, exploring ways to help state AmeriCorps programs become more inclusive, and providing educational opportunities to our staff, AmeriCorps staff, and members.
Increase Volunteer Engagement
Serve Colorado will expand its engagement of community volunteers across the state through the Volunteer Generation Fund and participation in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, Cesar Chavez Day, and September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance.
In 2020, Spark the Change Colorado used the Volunteer Generation Fund, a national program to help boost the impact of volunteers, to increase access to mental health services and train organizations to strategically leverage volunteers. Spark the Change Colorado expanded access to free mental health services in Pueblo, Broomfield, and surrounding counties by engaging 32 additional licensed mental health professionals.
In addition, mental wellness volunteers provided counseling and case management services to more than 200 women experiencing homelessness who were living in the auxiliary shelters at the Denver Coliseum because of COVID-19. Spark the Change also used these funds to train organizations to be Service Enterprises, organizations that strategically leverage volunteers to achieve operational efficiency, and greater social impact.
Serve Colorado funds these AmeriCorps programs:
- Alpine Achievers Initiative
- City Year Denver
- Colorado State University Extension 4-H STEM Initiative
- Colorado HIPPYCorps
- Colorado Reading Corps
- Corps for a Change
- COVID Containment Response Corps
- Environmental Education Corps
- ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability (Planning Grant)
- Mountain Roots Healthy Futures
- Rural Alliance for Dignity
- Spark the Change Colorado (Volunteer Generation Fund)
- TeamUP AmeriCorps
- Youth Corps for Colorado
Do you want to make an impact in your community?
AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers serve with organizations to strengthen communities across our nation.
Do you need people power to create change in your community?
AmeriCorps is here to work with you. Every year, Serve Colorado and AmeriCorps provide funding to place AmeriCorps members with nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations.
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