AmeriCorps CEO Swears-In New AmeriCorps Members in Maine
Michael D. Smith also met with local leaders and toured national service projects to see the power of national service across the state
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Michael D. Smith, AmeriCorps CEO, visited Maine on Sept. 26 through Sept. 27 to meet with local leaders, see national service projects in action, and speak at an AmeriCorps commitment ceremony in celebration of Maine Opening Day.
On Monday, Sept. 26, Smith joined Megan Walton, Southern Maine Agency on Aging CEO, and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers for a tour of the organization's AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP program, which supports Meals on Wheels for homebound seniors, Medicare counseling, mentoring children, and helping older adults manage their finances, among others. Southern Maine Agency on Aging provides services to the thousands of older adults in need of assistance each year. Volunteers and program directors of the AmeriCorps Seniors Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion programs operated by the Opportunity Alliance joined the tour and discussion.
Smith then joined Volunteer Maine and state and local nonprofit leaders at Maine Audubon to discuss the post-COVID state of volunteerism in Maine and the key role AmeriCorps’ Volunteer Generation Fund plays in building the capacity of Maine organizations to recruit and retain volunteers. Smith also toured Full Plates to learn more about the Full Potential AmeriCorps VISTA program, an initiative sponsored by Maine's Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry to fulfill Maine's commitment to creating a hunger-free state by 2030.
Smith then met with leaders of the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program to discuss how the program pivoted during the Covid-19 pandemic to meet community needs. This organization operates a soup kitchen, food bank, food pantry, and mobile, school, and satellite pantries across six counties.
Smith concluded the day with dinner and a discussion with a group of Maine AmeriCorps alumni to share community needs and challenges to accessing national service.
On Tuesday, Sept. 27, Smith met with local climate policy leaders, including Maine State Rep. Morgan Rielly (D-34) and the Governor’s Energy Office, to learn about the recently launched Maine Climate Corps pilot. This initiative builds on the climate and conservation work of the Maine Conservation Corps and the AmeriCorps Resilience Corps and is mobilizing individuals to take action through formal volunteering and hands-on service to move climate action strategies forward in Maine. Smith then joined AmeriCorps members, AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers, and AmeriCorps grantee organizations for a meet and greet at the State House Hall of Flags.
Following the meet and greet, Smith thanked outgoing AmeriCorps members and led incoming AmeriCorps members in the AmeriCorps pledge during an AmeriCorps Commitment Ceremony in celebration of Maine Opening Day. Robert McCann, district representative for Rep. Jared Golden (ME-02) also shared remarks about the importance of national service in Maine.
He concluded his trip with Pamela Trinward, field representative from the Office of Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME-01) at Educare Central Maine, a comprehensive early learning and development center in Waterville, Maine. AmeriCorps members and program staff provided a tour of the Educare facilities, which support children from birth to age five who face barriers to accessing high-quality early learning.
More than 2,000 AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Senior volunteers currently serve at more than 310 locations in Maine. Last year, state organizations received more than $10.6 million in AmeriCorps funding.