San Juan AmeriCorps Program Honored for Inclusive Health Initiative for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency for service, has awarded San Juan-based AmeriCorps grantee, Let’s Move!, the Excellence in AmeriCorps Award for Most Inclusive Service at this year’s virtual AmeriCorps symposium. The organization was recognized alongside four other AmeriCorps honorees representing the best of national service.
Let’s Move! Health Promotion Program for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities, a program run by the Instituto Psicopedagógico de Puerto Rico, leverages their national service resources to promote physical activity, social integration, exercise, and nutrition in adults with intellectual disabilities. AmeriCorps members serving with Let’s Move! build personal relationships with program participants; guiding exercise routines, educating families about nutrition, and fostering healthy habits outside of the program.
Let’s Move! focuses on integrating one-on-one mentorship between AmeriCorps members and program participants, who have a variety of intellectual disabilities ranging from moderate to severe. The program also emphasizes social inclusion, arranging outings to beaches, parks, shopping malls, and other public spaces. Program participants are encouraged to participate in sports and other physical activities outside of Let’s Move! In 2019, a Let’s Move! participant competed in the Special Olympics World Games in Dubai, returning to Puerto Rico with two silver medals.
Now in its sixth year, the Excellence in AmeriCorps Awards were created to recognize the outstanding and innovative AmeriCorps programs, members, and alumni tackling our nation’s most-pressing challenges. This year’s winners were honored at the annual AmeriCorps Symposium, held virtually in 2020. AmeriCorps members Charlie Colón and Katiria Abad accepted the award on behalf of Let's Move!
“AmeriCorps members are responding to Puerto Rico’s needs with leadership and courage,” said Chester Spellman, Director of AmeriCorps. Let’s Move! is a prime example of the power of inclusive AmeriCorps grantees to impact communities and change lives. As we navigate challenging times, our Excellence in AmeriCorps awardees bring a message of hope: the spirit of service in America is alive and well.”
As large swaths of the nation face unprecedented natural disasters alongside a public health crisis, AmeriCorps is poised to respond. While teams of AmeriCorps members deploy to Hurricane Laura relief efforts, more are joining the fight against the devasting wildfires on the West Coast, just as teams remain on the ground responding to the effects of the Derecho in Iowa. Even as they address these arising challenges, AmeriCorps maintains a sustained effort to fight hunger, keep communities safe, and facilitate youth education in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the program’s inception in 1994, more than 1.1 million AmeriCorps members have served the nation, giving more than 1.6 billion hours of service and earning nearly $4 billion in education awards. Every year, the 75,000 AmeriCorps members prepare students for success, rebuild communities and revitalize cities, support veterans, fight the opioid epidemic, respond to disasters, preserve public lands, foster economic opportunity, and more.