The group of ten young adults arrived on May 14 and will be serving here through July 6.

MIAMI – A team of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) members began work with the Boys and Girls Club (BGC) of Ottawa County. The group of ten young adults arrived on May 14 and will be serving here through July 6.

The BGC of America’s mission is "To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens."

The BGC of Ottawa County serves the region, including nine tribes, spread across three sites in Miami, Fairland, and Commerce.

Over the course of this project, the AmeriCorps NCCC team will help plan and implement the eight-week summer program including educational and recreational activities as well as field trips for kids and teens in the community. In addition, the team members will serve as mentors to the kids at the club during the summer months.

“We reapplied for an AmeriCorps NCCC team after having such a great experience with our last team. I believe firmly in the mission of AmeriCorps because they have a service-above-self mindset. It aligns and correlates well with the mission of the Boys and Girls Club in serving people who need us most," said Mackenzie Garst, Executive Director of the BGC of Ottawa County. "We honestly couldn’t do our summer program without them, and it would limit the amount of kids that we could serve. There are a lot of kids in the community who rely on our program, so it’s a really nice partnership. Our organization meets the needs of NCCC, and they meet the needs of the Boys and Girls Club.”

The NCCC team is comprised of members from the East to West Coast. “The AmeriCorps team brings their unique perspectives from the different areas of the country. Many of our kids will never experience the states from which they are from, so that is really cool for our kids to experience. We hope to increase our program quality with the help of the team members who are taking the time to design and invest in the different aspects of the program,” expressed Garst.

AmeriCorps NCCC first served with BGC of Ottawa County in 2017. The previous team of nine served 540 individual hours with the organization. They were instrumental in the remodel of the new building by painting 5,000 sq. ft. of wall space, clearing out twelve dumpsters worth of waste from the building, scraping and painting the doors and doorframes, and preparing the floors for paint and carpet.

Prior to traveling to Miami, this team served at the BGC of Chelsea for five weeks. They built a community garden from the ground up, planned special events, and carried out educational programs for the kids during the statewide teacher walkout. They began their term of service on October 10, 2017 with three weeks of training at the Denver regional hub. This is their final project before graduating from the 10-month program on July 12, 2018.