MWCC’s United Way Youth Venture program has been chosen as one of 17 Commonwealth Corps Host Site Partners. Administered by the Massachusetts Service Alliance, the Commonwealth Corps engages Massachusetts residents of all ages and backgrounds in service and capacity building to strengthen communities, address unmet community needs, and increase volunteerism. The program has a dual focus: one on members’ impact in their organizations and communities and the other on members’ own growth and development.
UWYV will host a Commonwealth Corps member to design, implement, and evaluate capacity-building pilot initiatives serving K-12 youth, and deliver UWYV programming in the North Central Massachusetts region.
UWYV provides an opportunity for youth, primarily ages 10 to 22, to address community challenges fueled by their passions and skills. “Venturers,” or students leading positive change, attend workshops teaching them college- and career-ready skills such as teamwork, public speaking, budgeting, and problem-solving. Students working in Venture Teams, develop a business plan and present their youth-led solution to community members for feedback, approval, and a seed funding award of up to $1,000.
“We are thrilled to have been awarded support by two Commonwealth Corps Service Members to help advance the mission of UWYV. Our selected Service Member, Eden Shaveet, will serve in a leadership position to innovate and pilot new UWYV initiatives including Changemaking, Venture Team retention, communication with parents, and new ways to evaluate program impact on the youth served.” said Lauren Mountain, Director of UWYV.
Since its inception, over 950 Commonwealth Corps members have served in the program throughout the state, providing over 600,000 hours of service in areas such as community development, health services, benefits screenings, afterschool or summer programs, and volunteer recruitment and management, and directly benefiting over 595,000 students, families, and other clients. With the Commonwealth Corps, Massachusetts is the first state in the country to have a service corps program focused solely on state residents.
The 37 2017-2018 Commonwealth Corps members will serve for 10.5 months in a stipended full-time or half-time capacity with one of our 17 selected host site partners in the focus areas of Economic Opportunity/Workforce Development, Education, Health/Nutrition, or Youth Development, from August 15, 2017 through June 30, 2018. Corps members provide direct service, build capacity, and recruit, organize, and mobilize additional volunteers, thus building a grassroots movement of volunteers dedicated to service.
The United Way Youth Venture program is a partnership between the United Way of North Central Massachusetts, Mount Wachusett Community College and Ashoka’s Youth Venture. The program exists to empower youth through support for innovative, community outreach proposals and help them gain essential experience that will help them to become the future leaders and innovators of our community.
The Massachusetts Service Alliance (MSA), established in 1991, is a private, nonprofit organization that serves as the state commission on community service and volunteerism. MSA invests in community-based organizations and institutions that rely upon volunteers and people engaged in service to meet their community’s needs. Through investing, convening, advocating, and building capacity, MSA develops and supports programs like AmeriCorps and Commonwealth Corps that incorporate service and volunteerism as effective strategies to address the pressing needs in the Commonwealth. To learn more about MSA’s role across the state, visit: www.mass-service.org.