Submitted by Alaya Battalia
Strengthening local food security on Lopez Island is a multifaceted operation with many community partners and an active volunteer base that strives improve the availability, access, utilization and stability of food resources with a strong emphasis and commitment localized food systems, sustainable agriculture, and nutrition. The current pandemic has shown us just how vital and strong this work and partnerships are!
Want to join the team?
You could be a valuable addition to this network of support by serving at the Lopez Island Family Resource Center (LIFRC) and the Lopez Island School District (LISD) in various food security projects through the Washing Service Corp (WSC) program. The paid internship lasts for 10.5 months and will start on October 1st, 2020.
A typical day at the school will include planting, tending, harvesting and processing of vegetables in the school garden, educating K-12 grade students on nutrition, land stewardship and sustainable agricultural practices and assessing students on changes in healthy eating behaviors. You will also develop garden projects that students can engage in during recess, plans for a student summer agriculture program and water catchment system.
At the LIFRC you will assist staff to coordinate, develop, publicize and engage volunteers in food security projects that include, but are not limited to, the Lopez Fresh Food Bank, Grow a Row, Gleaning, Thanksgiving Meals, Summer Lunch, Fresh Bucks and Veggie Rx programs. In addition, the WSC member will help with community outreach and administer surveys to determine the effectiveness of these programs and prioritize changes for the future.
So, what do you get in return?
The benefits of the program are: A monthly living stipend of $1,450 (before taxes) that is paid out in two halves, one on the 5th and one on the 20th of each month. It isn’t much, but that’s why WSC members are considered full time volunteers. The Washington Service Corps also offers Health Insurance to the member at no extra cost (it only covers the member though, not others in the household). If you have qualifying student loans, you can put them on forbearance and WSC will pay the interest that accrues on them over the 10.5 months. At the successful completion of your term, WSC will give you a $6,095 Education Award that you can use towards previous student loans or use it towards taking college classes. If you are over 55 years of age you can gift the Education Award to a family member.
The most important benefit of the program is that you are able to gain experience, build up great references, and help Lopezians to feel more empowered and secure in the world. Many WSC members find full time employment after they leave the program. You can do AmeriCorps up to 4 years (gaining the ED Award up to 2 times) however it is a year by year basis, so you only commit to one year at a time.
To be an AmeriCorps Member you only need to: be 18 years old and have your GED/High School Diploma, be a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident and pass a background check. There is no experience required for the position.
If you are still interested, or have questions, please contact the Lopez Island Family Resource Center at (360)468-4117 or by email to Alaya Battalia, email@example.com, and Barbara Schultheiss, firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also apply for the position directly on the Americorps website by going to americorps.gov and searching by location or following this link: https://my.americorps.gov/mp/listing/viewListing.do?id=51193&fromSearch=true.
We will hold interviews in July, 2020.