PRATT: And finally tonight, applications to Americorps have almost doubled since 2009, as many young people turn to the nonprofit sector for jobs. Jamela Simon graduated from Penn State in December and found work with the community service program in Washington, DC. In our ongoing series “You`re Hired,” Simon tells us why working for Americorps works for her.
JAMELA SIMON, AMERICORPS MEMBER: My name is Jamela Simon and I am a site coordinator at Lift DC. I work one on one with clients to meet their needs by helping them find housing, employment, apply for public benefits. I always had this obligation, this urge to work in the community one on one with people, whether it be for a community organization, a nonprofit or just any organization. This job, working with Americorps, gave me a way out. It gave me a chance to do what I want to do and at the same time, gain financial stability and independence.
JAMELA SIMON, AMERICORPS MEMBER: Through the Americorps program, they allow you to not only defer your loans until after you have finished your term, but they also give you the Eli Siegel award, which is approximately $5,000 to use either towards repaying loans or to further your education. So I think that that, along with the sense of community-based scholarship and service. It encourages people to want to join the Americorps program. It`s a great experience. Why sit around and wait for someone else to step in and intervene and meet the needs, the domestic needs of the people when you can do it yourself? It makes you feel like you`re actually, actually making a difference.