AmeriCorps Impact

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City of Dubuque AmeriCorps Program 

The City of Dubuque has sponsored its AmeriCorps  Program since 2007. Since the program’s inception in 2000, the AmeriCorps Program has two program prongs: Partners in Learning and Creating Opportunities and has provided the Dubuque Community with over 450,000 hours of volunteer service from over 800 AmeriCorps Alumni. In 2014, the Partners in Learning program was revamped to create a laser focus on the Dubuque Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, using AmeriCorps members as Academic Reading Tutors in the Dubuque Community School District’s Elementary Schools to help students to go from learning to read to reading to learn by 3rd grade.  In 2017, the Creating Opportunities program was implemented to support community engagement, mentoring, and skill development with underserved teenaged-youth. 

 

The City of Dubuque’s AmeriCorps Program: Partners in Learning  makes measurable impacts on Dubuque’s children. Data from the 2019-2020 school year shows that prior to COVID-19's impacts, 78% (189 out of 243) Dubuque Community School District K- 3rd grade students tutored by our AmeriCorps members improved their reading score from Fall 2019 – Winter 2020. Data from the 2018-2019 school year shows that 97% (462 out of 477) Dubuque Community School District K- 3rd grade students tutored by our AmeriCorps members improved their reading score from Fall 2018 – Spring 2019. This data shows the positive impact of that our program has on students, as AmeriCorps Members are able to provide positive one-on-one and small group feedback directly to students in each and every tutoring session. Teachers, school staff and instructional coaches regard our AmeriCorps Program because of the academic, social and emotional impact AmeriCorps tutors have on the students they work with.   

 

During the summer, AmeriCorps members support community organizations who serve K-3rd grade students to curb the summer slide. These organizations include the Carnegie-Stout Public Library, Dubuque Community Schools Summer Academy, Dubuque Dream Center, Leisure Services and St. Marks Youth Empowerment, all of which impact our youth whose families are from a lower-income and neighborhoods needing assistance.  

 

The involvement of AmeriCorps members is critical to efforts of the city, schools and non-profits. The City of Dubuque AmeriCorps Program: Creating Opportunities was awarded an opportunity to provide AmeriCorps support to the Multicultural Family Center and the City of Dubuque Leisure Services Department to facilitate and increase Teen Programming during the summer. During Summer 2020, 18 of the 21 teens graduated from the Multicultural Family Center’s AmeriCorps Supported Program: STEP (Summer Teen Empowerment Program),  earning independent high school credit from the Dubuque Community School District and learning college/career readiness skills, workplace readiness, communication, financial literacy, team building as well as diversity, equity and inclusion skills. Additionally, AmeriCorps members facilitated free activities and meals for community teens through a summer teen program at the Multicultural Family Center and throughout the Dubuque community through the Leisure Services Department. 

 

Our AmeriCorps program provides personal and professional growth opportunities to the members. Dubuque Community members join our program for many different reasons, including: networking, on-the job experience, career experience or changes, community impact after retirement, among other reasons. AmeriCorps Alumni who are looking to enter the workforce after their term of service often have more experience and better educated, which leads to the opportunity of a higher earning potential. Many employers consider AmeriCorps Alumni to be highly valuable employees due to their time in the program.  AmeriCorps members learn civic engagement skills and connect directly with citizens, as well as build quality volunteer base in the community. Our AmeriCorps members are trained monthly on Equity topics: including Intercultural Competencies, Diversity and Inclusion, among others- leading to a deeper understanding of the community members and youth being served.   


Other AmeriCorps Programs in Dubuque: 

AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) members are also used by the City of Dubuque and Dubuque County to combat poverty. Currently, the City has an Economic Opportunity VISTA member serving with the Human Rights Department in collaboration with Iowa Campus Compact. Two VISTA members serving non-profit partners through the Volunteer Iowa Rural Development and Opioid VISTA Project. In the past, VISTA members have served with the community-wide Dubuque Campaign for Grade Level Reading Initiative in the areas of school readiness, attendance and summer learning. Other departments within the City have looked into leveraging VISTA members to greater impact the community. The capacity building efforts of VISTA members are very important to these community initiatives. 

Dubuque also hosts Green Iowa AmeriCorps and Sustainable Schools AmeriCorps Programs. Operated through the University of Northern Iowa's Center for Energy and Environmental Education, Green Iowa AmeriCorps is a state-wide community service program. Green Iowa AmeriCorps Members are trained as energy auditors and contribute to a comprehensive home energy program through Operation: New View Community Action Agency. Sustainable Schools AmeriCorps, a diversification of the Green Iowa AmeriCorps Program, works to reduce district-wide energy costs and assist teachers and staff in implementing environmental project-based learning initiatives. Sustainable Schools AmeriCorps Members are hosted by the Dubuque Metro Area Solid Waste Agency and support the Dubuque Community School District and Holy Family Catholic Schools. 

 

AmeriCorps Seniors in Dubuque: 

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program is a nationwide program through AmeriCorps Seniors which exists to match volunteers age 55 and better with volunteer positions that use their life experience and skills to meet community needs.  The program is funded by a federal grant from the AmeriCorps, as well as funding from the city, county, state and in-kind contributions from UnityPoint Health Finley Hospital. The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program(RSVP) has 6 focus areas where volunteers serve Dubuque County. The primary focus area of RSVP is Healthy Futures. RSVP volunteers also serve in the areas of Disaster Services, Economic Opportunity, Education, Environmental Stewardship, Non-Profit Capacity Building and General Community Priorities. 

 

National Service Partnership: 

Dubuque is home to the nation’s first National Service Partnership, a partnership between local government, higher education, local non-profits, and state government that draws on multiple AmeriCorps and  AmeriCorps Seniors resources to collectively impact poverty in Dubuque. The Dubuque National Service Partnership (DNSP) uses Days of Service and other events to educate the public about community needs and opportunities to serve, while simultaneously focusing on improved business processes within organizations and improved outcomes for families served.  In 2013, Governor Terry Branstad recognized the DNSP with the Iowa Non-Profit Collaboration Award for outstanding efforts to engage volunteers to impact complex social and economic needs. On September 16, 2015, the Corporation for National and Community Service recognized the Dubuque National Service Partnership with an award in honor of retired Senator Tom Harkin.  The collective impact of DNSP is very important in the community.   

 

AmeriCorps Service Impacts in Dubuque 

2019-2020 Program Year 

AmeriCorps  State &National 

City of Dubuque AmeriCorps Program 

·                     Provided tutoring to over 700 children during the 2019-2020 school year. 

·                     Provided summer enrichment programming to over 1000 children during the summer of 2020. 

·                     78% (189 out of 243) Dubuque Community School District K- 3rd grade students tutored by our AmeriCorps members improved their reading score from Fall 2019 – Spring Winter 2020, prior to the impacts of COVID-19 

·                     18 of the 21 teens graduated from the MultiCultural Family Center’s AmeriCorps Supported Program: Summer Teen Empowerment Program (STEP), earning independent learning credit from the Dubuque Community School District. 

·                     Program was impacted significantly due to COVID-19 

 

Green Iowa AmeriCorps Program 

·                     Program was not operational in Dubuque during 2019-2020 due to COVID-19 impacts. 

Sustainable Schools AmeriCorps Program 

·                     Conducted 37 education events (both in and out of the classroom) engaging over 600 K-12 students within the Dubuque Community School District and Holy Family Catholic Schools. 

·                     Program was impacted significantly due to COVID-19 

Iowa Campus Compact AmeriCorps Program 

·                      31 leveraged volunteers who served 140 hours 

·                     7 members

·                     Program was impacted significantly due to COVID-19 

 

Iowa Legal Aid AmeriCorps Program 

·         1 FT AmeriCorps Member Serving 1700 hours of service. 

·         Helped vulnerable Iowans receive civil legal advice, information, or referral needed to resolve issues involving fundamental needs during the 2019-20 project year. 

·         Program was impacted significantly due to COVID-19. 

Course to College AmeriCorps College Access 

·         1 AmeriCorps Member served 129 students. 

·         Conducted 20 college access workshops for students. 

·         Assisted in Chaperoning 3 college visits. 

·         Complete 305 interactions with students. 

·         Program was impacted significantly due to COVID-19. 

 

 


AmeriCorps  VISTA 

Volunteer Iowa Rural Development and Opioid VISTA Project 

·                      6 community volunteers that were managed by VISTA Members and/or their host site organization providing 24 hours of service to the Dubuque Community.  

·          1 organizations received capacity building services.  

·         1 organizations completed a community assessment identifying goals.  

·         1 organizations reported that their VISTA support made them more efficient.  

·         1 organizations reported that their VISTA support made them more effective.  

·         Program was impacted significantly due to COVID-19 

 

14 community volunteers/staff received training as a result of capacity building services provided by the VISTA Member and/or the host site organization. 

Iowa Campus Compact VISTA Program 

·                     Program focuses on program enhancements and research on racial equity programming. 

 

AmeriCorps 

Seniors  

Dubuque RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) 

·                     267 enrolled volunteers served approximately 24,944 hours.  

·         Focus Area: Healthy Futures – 3,594 hours served by 41 volunteers with 3 organizations.  

·         Focus Area: Disaster Services - 0 hours served by 11 volunteers with 2 organizations.  

·         Focus Area: Economic Opportunity - 17 hours served by 4 volunteers with 2 organizations.  

·         Focus Area: Environmental Stewardship – 5,954 hours served by 75 volunteers with 2 organizations.  

·         Focus Area: Other  Community Priorities – 15,379 hours served by 136 volunteers with 18 organizations. 

 

It is important to note that this was the first year of a new grant cycle and several of the past focus areas have been combined based on the outcomes reporting requirements in the grant to measure the program. 

It is also important to note that Retired and Senior Volunteer Program(RSVP) has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  This report reflects the grant period from July 2019 to June 2020. In the last quarter of this grant year, April 2020 to June 2020 RSVP had 71 active volunteers.  The number of active volunteers has increased as the community has learned more about COVID-19 and ways to keep volunteers safe, but we are nowhere near the participation of past year. 

RSVP remains optimistic the we will find ways for seniors to serve.  The program has been offering new volunteer opportunities that allow volunteers to serve from home.  These activities do have some barriers such as the use of technology to serve.  We are working to overcome these challenges.