AmeriCorps Mobilizes 300 for Bay Area Intergenerational Vaccine Corps
California Volunteers, Encore.org forge new partnerships with AmeriCorps
WASHINGTON, D.C. – AmeriCorps today announced that nearly 300 AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers will join California’s vaccine distribution efforts in the Bay Area. The two new projects, both supported by Encore.org and California Volunteers, will increase the capacity of Federally Qualified Health Centers to serve California’s most vulnerable community members.
“As the pandemic has interrupted all our lives, we’ve seen Americans respond in extraordinary ways. This includes our AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers, who have tapped into the innovation, dedication, and passion we’ve come to count on them for,” said Atalaya Sergi, director of AmeriCorps Seniors. “I’m proud that with our new partnership with Encore.org, we’ll be able to do even more, for more people. By uniting both older and younger volunteers behind a common goal, we’ll create a more united America through service.”
Through the Encore Intergenerational Vaccine Corps, AmeriCorps and Encore.org will mobilize retired medical professionals as AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP volunteers and recruit volunteers of all ages to vaccinate those in high-need areas and clinics. Retired medical professionals will administer vaccinations, provide follow-up care, and counsel patients on the safety of the vaccines. Non-medical volunteers of all ages will support vaccination efforts at the clinics and conduct outreach in the community – identifying, scheduling, and facilitating vaccine access for those who need assistance.
"The Intergenerational Vaccine Corps meets the urgency of the moment, helping to vaccinate more Americans, bridge generational divides, and rebuild the nation’s social fabric," says Encore.org CEO Marc Freedman. "It’s a corps aimed not just at surviving the pandemic, but at thriving beyond it. I think it could improve all kinds of health outcomes and produce a windfall of talent and understanding at the same time."
“Older Americans are a crucial part of COVID-19 response and recovery. They are making sure their neighbors have food to eat, driving them to doctor appointments, and checking in on them to make sure they are not alone during this extremely isolating time,” said Karen Dahl, Senior Advisor for COVID-19 at AmeriCorps. “The partnership between Encore.org and AmeriCorps Seniors will increase community health centers' capacity to serve our most vulnerable community members and will be a model for others to follow.”
Also in partnership with Encore.org, California Volunteers announced a new AmeriCorps program, the Health Action Response Team. Working with the Napa County of Education, HART will continue to ensure that local health agencies and food banks have the people power they need to respond to COVID-19. Through this partnership, California Volunteers will place 38 AmeriCorps members at local agencies throughout the Bay Area to support vaccine outreach and education efforts, as well as food security initiatives.
The announcement was made today by Josh Fryday, Chief Service Officer for California Volunteers, during a visit to La Clinica in Vallejo, one of the nine Federally Qualified Health Centers being served by Encore.org’s new Intergenerational Vaccine Corps. Fryday was joined by Nancy Peterson, Vice President, Encore.org, Dr. Gerald Bourne, director of Encore Physicians and co-creator of the Encore Intergenerational Vaccine Corps, and Yasmeen Shaheen-McConnell, Senior Advisor for Strategic Partnerships at AmeriCorps.
“We continue to increase capacity to serve California’s most vulnerable communities in our fight against COVID-19,” said California Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday. “Our AmeriCorps members have stepped up to provide critical resources during the pandemic, and today we are announcing more opportunities to help meet the needs for vaccinations and food security for all Californians. Join the vaccine and food security efforts and you will receive money to pay for college or to pay off student loans, visit CaliforniansForAll.ca.gov today.”
Both the Encore Intergenerational Vaccine Corps and the Health Action Response Team build on existing COVID-19 response activities by AmeriCorps and its partners. With existing programs in more than 40,000 locations across the country, AmeriCorps is uniquely positioned to bolster community response efforts. For the past year, thousands of AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors members across all 50 states and U.S. territories have continued their service, quickly adapting to meet the changing needs caused by the pandemic. Currently, AmeriCorps members are supporting more than 100 vaccination centers and have cumulatively assisted 6 million people.
The recently passed American Rescue Plan included an additional $1 billion for AmeriCorps. The agency will use this investment to expand national service programs into new communities and increase the opportunity for all Americans to serve their country.