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VISTA members to support summer STEM efforts

Sandy Adams (CCED), left; Linda N. Stringfellow (director); Cierra Triplett (CCC); Brittany Neal (GCVAC); Lisa Watkins (GCVAC); and Samuel Miller (CCC).

Sandy Adams (CCED), left; Linda N. Stringfellow (director); Cierra Triplett (CCC); Brittany Neal (GCVAC); Lisa Watkins (GCVAC); and Samuel Miller (CCC).

The Center for Community and Economic Development at Delta State recently announced the start of its “Summer of SERVICE,” with 40 VISTA summer associates participating through July. The center has received five AmeriCorps*VISTA members from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to support summer programs designed to engage students in science, technology, engineering and math activities — commonly known as STEM.

The AmeriCorps*VISTA members placed at the CCED will join hundreds across the country as part of an expansion of STEM AmeriCorps, a CNCS initiative announced in 2013.

The five CNCS members include: Sandy Adams, Cierra Triplett, Brittany Neal, Lisa Watkins and Samuel Miller.

Their primary goals include: increase involvement in STEM education for economically disadvantaged youth in grades K-12 and undergraduate college students; increase involvement of veterans and military families in college access programs in STEM, and decrease education financial barriers; recruit veterans, military families and individuals from low-income and economically disadvantaged communities to participate in STEM education sessions; and assist with research of funding opportunities for STEM education initiatives in Bolivar, Coahoma and Washington counties.

“VISTA is an indispensable resource to help strengthen STEM education in our communities,” said Linda N. Stringfellow, director of AmeriCorps*VISTA at CCED. “We’re thrilled that the Corporation for National and Community Service has recognized the value of the work that the Center for Community and Economic Development is doing in this field and are honored to be a part of STEM AmeriCorps.”

Building on President Obama’s launch of STEM AmeriCorps at the White House Science Fair last year, this major expansion will place more than 250 VISTA members in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and West Virginia. These AmeriCorps members will connect more than 18,000 at-risk students in low-performing schools to STEM opportunities.

“AmeriCorps members are improving the lives of millions of citizens and having a positive and lasting impact on the toughest challenges facing our communities,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. “By strengthening STEM education for students, especially those from low-income backgrounds, STEM AmeriCorps will spark greater interest in math and science and build ladders of opportunity these students might otherwise never have.”

AmeriCorps engages more than 75,000 members in intensive service annually to serve through nonprofit, faith-based and community organizations at 25,000 locations across the country. These members help communities tackle pressing problems while mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve.

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the AmeriCorps program. Since 1994, more than 830,000 Americans have provided more than one billion hours of service addressing critical challenges from poverty and hunger to disasters and the dropout crisis.

The newest VISTA Summer Associates are serving in: Coahoma Community College, Coahoma County; Gulf Coast Veterans Advocacy Council, Inc., Bolivar and Washington counties; and the Delta State University Center for Community and Economic Development, Bolivar County.

For more information, visit www.cns.gov or contact the VISTA staff at the CCED at 662-846-4358.

AmeriCorps VISTA is administered CNCS, a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, the Social Innovation Fund and the Volunteer Generation Fund, and leads the president’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For 50 years, AmeriCorps VISTA has engaged Americans in a year-long, full-time intensive commitment to service designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty. For more information, visit www.NationalService.gov.

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