BMAC operates a small team of AmeriCorps members in partnership with several local non-profits and schools. These members serve their communities full-time at these partner sites, in addition to doing frequent community service projects as a team. They are paid a living stipend and provided with childcare, health insurance, and other benefits to assist them during their term of service (September through July).
AmeriCorps has been defined as a domestic Peace Corps – improving community, changing lives.
Each year, AmeriCorps offers 75,000 opportunities for adults of all ages and backgrounds to serve through a network of partnerships with local and national nonprofit groups. Whether your service makes a community safer, gives a child a second chance, or helps protect the environment, you’ll be getting things done through AmeriCorps! AmeriCorps members address critical needs in communities all across America.
BMAC AmeriCorps works to address crucial needs throughout Walla Walla County. The local program is comprised of committed, talented individuals seeking to change community. We have several exciting projects to choose from: provide tutoring and behavioral support for academically and socially at-risk children and youth; youth and family advocacies; volunteer recruitment, and environmental education.
AmeriCorps members receive training, plan service projects, and recruit volunteers to help them carry out the projects. The service projects vary from picking up litter on an adopted section of highway to sorting food at the local food warehouse that later distributes it to the local emergency food pantries.
History of BMAC AmeriCorps:
BMAC’s history with AmeriCorps dates back to the 1970s. Back then, the national service program was called VISTA – Volunteers in Service to America. BMAC sponsored individual VISTA positions at various agencies in Walla Walla. It didn’t take long to discover the value of serving as a team of volunteers, training together and dispersing to various sites to provide their dedicated service.
Our own Steve Moss, CEO of BMAC until August 2014, was a VISTA in 1974, serving through BMAC at Walla Walla County’s Social Planning Department.
Over the years, national community service programs morphed, changed, and grew—always providing service to nonprofits, schools, and government agencies. Meanwhile, those who enrolled as volunteers had the opportunity to give back to the community while gaining invaluable experience, job training, and a deep understanding of community.
In 1994, the Clinton Administration combined many parallel service entities—National Civilian Community Corps, Senior Corps, Serve America, VISTA, and more—under the new umbrella of AmeriCorps.
That same year, BMAC officially began a local AmeriCorps team under jurisdiction of the Washington State Service Corps (WSSC). The director of WSSC, Bill Basl, had begun his career in community service as a VISTA through BMAC. Nowadays, Bill is director of AmeriCorps at the national level.
The WA State-funded, team-based BMAC AmeriCorps team of the 90’s focused on education, providing AmeriCorps members to elementary schools where they offered support in reading, writing, and math. By the end of the decade, a new branch called Reading Corps had taken the spotlight as the primary emphasis of Washington State Service. Our BMAC team had grown to over 40 members dedicated to improving literacy among elementary school students through Reading Corps.
In the last 15 years, the BMAC AmeriCorps program has supported both schools and nonprofits, emphasizing healthy futures through education, family services, veteran engagement, and more. The philosophy of the program has always been two-fold: provide service to the community through volunteers, and give volunteers job skills and first-hand knowledge of community activities and needs.