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AmeriCorps makes a difference at Youth Villages-Inner Harbour Campus

October 19, 2012

AmeriCorps Group at Inner Harbour

The Youth Villages-Inner Harbour Campus is welcoming 21 AmeriCorps volunteers to the campus who have started their year of volunteer service the first week of October. Twelve are new volunteers chosen from among more than 400 applicants, and nine are returning volunteers who have committed to an extra year of service at the campus.

This is the 13th year the campus has hosted AmeriCorps volunteers, mostly college students or recent graduates who commit to a year or two of full-time volunteer service in exchange for a modest stipend and education award. The program, which has grown over the years, has become one of Georgia’s largest AmeriCorps programs and makes a difference for both the children receiving help on the Youth Villages-Inner Harbour Campus for behavioral and mental health issues and the wider community by supporting school children, senior citizens, the homeless and nonprofit organizations in and around Douglasville and Atlanta.

“AmeriCorps members are an integral part of our campus life,” said Caroline Ledlie, manager of the Youth Villages AmeriCorps program at the Youth Villages-Inner Harbour Campus. “They truly support our children and our staff, and they also make a difference beyond our campus. We are proud to have a program that achieves wonderful things around our whole community.”

Over the past year, Youth Villages’ AmeriCorps team spent more than 2,000 hours tutoring 131 youth receiving help at Youth Villages, nearly 2,000 hours providing 99 Youth Villages students with individual life skills training and more than 450 hours of afterschool programming focusing on the arts, enrichment and outdoor activities. In addition, AmeriCorps members recruited more than 1,500 volunteers to spend time on the campus during the past year.

On campus, AmeriCorps members support Youth Villages’ teachers, teacher-counselors, and therapists throughout the day and evening, assisting students in class, lending an additional ear to children who need to talk things over, helping children complete tasks, leading life skills trainings, teaching children such special skills as playing an instrument, tutoring children who have fallen behind academically and more.

“The AmeriCorps program at our Youth Villages-Inner Harbour Campus makes a great difference for our children and our staff,” said Emily Acker, campus director. “Having 20 or more additional people helping our children and assisting our staff is huge, and it allows us to offer our children a wide variety of additional recreational, educational and fun learning experiences they enjoy and will benefit from for the rest of their lives.”

Youth Villages’ AmeriCorps volunteers have organized many opportunities for the children receiving help on the campus, including a blueberry fest, a harvest festival, soccer games, tennis lessons, P90X workouts, canoe excursions, West African drumming lessons and dance recitals, ropes course activities and Pilates.

During the past year, the AmeriCorps team also devised an on-campus anti-bullying campaign, initiated Global Youth Service Day activities incorporating Youth Villages youth in three states, held a campus-wide talent show and did ongoing campus beautification projects.

In Douglas County and the Atlanta area, Youth Villages’ AmeriCorps members have spent countless hours volunteering at a wide variety of organization and schools over the past year, including the Douglas County Boys and Girls Club, New Manchester High School, Youth Leadership Douglas, Furniture Bank, Wheat Street Community Garden, Seven Stages Theater, Sweetwater Creek State Park, the Global Soap Project, Project Open Hand, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Trees Atlanta, FurKids, the Atlanta Community Tool Bank, Partnership Against Domestic Violence, Sheltering Arms, the Atlanta Shakespeare Company, Good Samaritan Health Center, Piedmont Park Conservancy, WonderRoot, the Atlanta Marathon and Atlanta Track Club’s Peachtree Road Race. The Youth Villages AmeriCorps team also co-hosted Vanderbilt students on campus for an alternative spring break, as well as hosting the Kiwanis Club and Georgia PAS Corps.

Through a partnership with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and the Georgia Commission on Service and Volunteerism, Youth Villages’ AmeriCorps volunteers also act as first responders to national disasters in Georgia.

In addition, the AmeriCorps members have allowed children receiving help at Youth Villages to engage in meaningful service projects to support the following causes: the AIDS Memorial Quilt, Books for Africa, Sheltering Arms, Project Open Hand, Georgia Lighthouse Lions Foundation Eyeglass Recycling Program, Furniture Bank and 180 Degree Farms.

“I joined AmeriCorps for the opportunity to serve my country,” said Nicole Alexander, a Youth Villages AmeriCorps member and Team Leader. “Our youth deserve a chance, and I hope my efforts allow them to be successful and contributing members of the community.”

Youth Villages produces lasting success for children and families through its Evidentiary Family Restoration ™ approach, involving intensive work with the child and family, as well as a focus on measuring outcomes, keeping children in the community whenever safely possible and providing accountability to families and funders.

In Georgia, Youth Villages helps about 50 children and their families each day from an office in Atlanta and about 140 children at its Youth Villages-Inner Harbour Campus in Douglasville, using its EFR approach.

EFR consistently produces success rates twice that of traditional services at one-third the cost of traditional care. Named one of the Top 50 Nonprofits to Work For by Nonprofit Times and Best Companies Group in 2010 and 2011, Youth Villages has been recognized by Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report, and was identified by The White House as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations. For more information about Youth Villages, visit

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