The Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Community Health Programs is now recruiting new members for its AmeriCorps program, COMCorps. Positions are available for 24 full-time members who will partner with schools, government agencies and nonprofits to deliver health-related programs and services in Athens and Washington counties. Members serve 1,700 hours over a 10.5- or 11.5-month service term beginning Aug. 1.
Eligible applicants must be at least 17, have a high school diploma or GED, and have reliable transportation. They should enjoy working with people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds, and be interested in community health and education.
Benefits of COMCorps service include a $13,732 living stipend, a $5,920 education award, and an opportunity to build one’s resume with professional development and leadership activities. COMCorps gives its members the chance to make a real difference by providing health and nutrition education to children and families.
AmeriCorps is often referred to as the “Domestic Peace Corps.” COMCorps is part of AmeriCorps’ network of local, state and national service programs that address critical needs in education, public safety, health and the environment; the COMCorps program focuses on unmet needs in health care – especially childhood obesity, a serious problem in southeastern Ohio. Members serve in 17 host sites in the area. Becoming a member is a great option for those with a passion for serving the community, a desire to gain experience and a build their resume, and/or a love for teamwork and relationship building, organizers said.
“If you have even a slight interest in this program, it's because it sparked something inside you that wants to help, so do yourself a favor and listen,” said COMCorps alum Heidi Shaw. Now a school nurse in the Athens City School District and site supervisor for the current Athens City Schools COMCorps member, Shaw got her start as a member. “Coming home each day knowing that I had poured my heart into something I believed in, helping the students of Athens City Schools, was a feeling that I never forgot. There were certainly better days than others, and some of the bad days were significantly bad, but the good outweighed the negatives. I was helping, and there was work to still be done,” she said. Like Shaw, many COMCorps members go on to careers directly related to the positions they held during their year of service.
People from all backgrounds join COMCorps – recent college graduates, seasoned professionals and individuals looking for a gap year option before attending graduate or professional school. Mary Nally, now executive director of Community Food Initiatives, came to COMCorps with 10 years of experience in social services and an appetite for preventative and transformational social change. “COMCorps provided the opportunity to build my skills, confidence and my professional connections that led directly to the job I have now” she said.
Lauren Borovicka, on the other hand, entered COMCorps straight out of her undergraduate studies at Ohio University. “COMCorps fit into what I needed: an experience to fulfill my internship requirement, flexibility to take the one class I needed to graduate and health insurance. As a bonus, I loved school health, so I was happy to have the opportunity to be placed in a school. While my reasons for joining were selfish, COMCorps molded me into the authentically service-minded individual I am today,” said Borovicka, who now is the program manager of COMCorps and oversees the Corps as a whole.