BLOOMFIELD, Conn. (AP) - A new statewide program, known as ConnectiCorps, is being launched on Aug. 1 to help match nonprofit agencies who’ve struggled during the coronavirus pandemic with an influx of young volunteers.
The initiative will involve 80 members of AmeriCorps, the federal national service program, who will provide about 90,000 hours of volunteer help to 10 nonprofit agencies. Recruiting is currently underway. No state money is involved in the $800,000 program. Rather, it will be funded with $450,000 from the federal government and $200,000 from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. The remaining $150,000 will come from other charitable sources.
“I’m excited because many of those members are probably college graduates who were wondering, ‘Now what will I do? What my plans were supposed to be were changed quite a bit because of COVID,’” said Jacqueline Johnson, Executive Director of Serve Connecticut, which helps to oversee AmeriCorps projects in the state. The volunteers receive both a small stipend and up to $6,000 to help pay for college tuition or college loans.
Governor Ned Lamont noted that many people who volunteer, such as at Foodshare in Bloomfield where Thursday’s announcement was made, tend to be older and have been cutting back on their hours to reduce potential exposure to COVID-19.
“We’ve got some young people who need the work, who have the heart to get this going,” Lamont said. “We have the real need here.”