Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

October 7, 2010

SKC launches AmeriCorps scholarship program

By Lailani Upham

PABLO Salish Kootenai College has launched a scholarship program through AmeriCorps, a network of national service programs that engage Americans in intensive service to meet the nation's critical needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment that provides financial support for students who engage in service learning.

The Montana Campus Corps, a new AmeriCorps program that is based at SKC, is designed to promote active citizenship through community service among college students.

Jenny Wilson, SKC Campus Corps leader this year, is a Mississippi native who was invited to serve at SKC after visiting the campus last April for the statewide ASPIRE Conference.

"I am so honored to have been invited to come here," says Wilson, who is currently serving her second term as an AmeriCorps leader. "At so many schools that I have visited, you say the word 'community service' and students quickly run the other direction. What I notice as I walk around the SKC campus is that students are already involved in their local community in so many ways. Ways that they may not even realize," Wilson said.

The program will provide scholarships for up to 55 SKC students.

Scholarships are available for students who are willing to commit 300 to 450 hours of their time and energy to service projects over the course of the school year.

Currently the slots for the 450 hours scholarships are filled, however there are still 30 positions out of the 50 offered for the 300 hour service slot at SKC that still remain to be filled.

Students who complete the 450 hours of community service this school year will be eligible for a scholarship award at the end of the school year, along with a modest stipend through the school year. The award will be available at the end of the 2010-2011 school year, which can be used for tuition the following year, graduate school, or loan repayments.

According to Wilson, the 450 hour SKC corps members for 2010-2011 are: Rodney Firststrike, a pscychology major whose service activities will include performing at local schools and serving as a mentor to middle school and high school students; Jacob Bessette, a liberal arts major whose service will include launching a recycling program among faculty and students on campus; Tyrell Smith, whose service activities will include tutoring and mentoring at the Boys and Girls Club of Ronan and Ronan Middle School; and Annie McDonald, whose service activities will also include tutoring and mentoring at local schools. "When I show up to their classes or their orientation sessions and start talking about service to the community in terms of the bigger picture, they're ready to get involved," Wilson raved about the students in the program.

The Montana Campus Corps program is sponsored by the Montana Campus Compact, a network of 19 college and university campuses located throughout Montana that is committed to renewing the public purposes of higher education.

The SKC AmeriCorps office is located in the Career Center on campus. Students who are interested in the Montana Campus Corps or other AmeriCorps programs can check out www.mtcampuscorps.org or www.americorps.gov for further information about the program, or can contact Jenny directly at: 406) 275-4745 or email her at: jennifer_wilson@skc.edu.

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