AmeriCorps is part of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages more than 5 million Americans to serve in a variety of capacities throughout the United States and its territories. The program is the Peace Corps of America.

For more than a decade, United Way of Porter County has been heading up this initiative to provide support services to schools and nonprofits in Lake, Porter, LaPorte and Marshall counties.

AmeriCorps members serve a variety of capacities including K-12 tutors, high school career advisers and nonprofit volunteer coordinators.

AmeriCorps is a great way to gain new skills and experiences while meeting critical needs in Northwest Indiana.

Most recently, Maddie Grimm has joined our team to spearhead the program. Grimm will lead a team of 46 members annually throughout the Region. AmeriCorps members work at local organizations such as Art Barn School of Art, Center for Workforce Innovations and Valparaiso Community Schools.

Maddie’s work experience includes tenure at Schererville Parks and Recreation, Taltree Arboretum & Gardens, Dunes Learning Center and Sheridan School Mountain Campus. She holds a bachelor’s degree in natural resources from the University of the South and a master’s degree in environmental education from Goshen College. She is an AmeriCorps alumni and is a certified EMT-basic.

As an alumna of the United Way AmeriCorps program, her wealth of knowledge and know-how will provide a wonderful and innovative experience for program members and host sites. Maddie served in education and volunteer recruitment at Taltree Arboretum & Gardens.

During her service time there she led and produced life-changing experiences for the volunteers and the visitors they served. Under her guidance volunteers learned new skills and developed friendships, which made them passionate about they’re work. And, the visitors noticed.

Taltree hosts many school groups a year. For some of those students, it was their first time in a true outdoor setting, hiking in the woods and more. Maddie and the volunteers opened their eyes to the world of nature, which makes a lasting impression.

For Maddie, service is her passion and to support community programs that could not be done without the help of AmeriCorps members is her true calling.

Interested in serving? Applicants must be 18 years or older and either a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or lawful permanent resident alien of the U.S.

Are you a school or nonprofit interested in hosting an AmeriCorps member? Full-time and part-time positions are available. Sites are required to provide a job description and share placement costs.

To apply to become a member or host site, contact Maddie Grimm at (219) 464-3583 or maddie@unitedwaypc.org. To learn more, visit unitedwaypc.org/americorps.

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Maddie Grimm is spearheading AmeriCorps with United Way of Porter County. The opinions are the writer's.

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