COMCorps seeks members to promote a healthier southeast Ohio

Mar 15, 2016

Would you like to improve the health of people in southeast Ohio, gain valuable professional experience, and earn money for education at the same time?

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 10.5- or 12-month service terms 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 $12,530 living stipend, a $5,775 education award, and an opportunity to build your 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’s focus is 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 recent college grads who want to serve the community, and acquire valuable skills and leadership experience that will serve them well in any field they pursue.

“For sure, COMCorps will bring you out of your comfort zone,” promises current member Sarah Pol, who grew up in Uniontown, Ohio, before graduating from Ohio University in 2015 with a degree in community health. “It will challenge you – but it’s a great kind of challenge.” She says in her time with the program she has improved her media skills and gained confidence working with children. Noting that COMCorps membership increases a grad’s employment chances by an estimated 27 percent, Pol says the program is for “people who want to grow; people who want to learn.”

It’s also a perfect way to engage in community service that has immediate, obvious impact. Sophia McCartney is a community member who was recruited into COMCorps while she was volunteering with Good Works, an Athens-based non-profit that helps area people struggling with poverty and homelessness. She says that after teaching local students about making healthier food choices, she has heard from parents who say their kids are bringing the message home. “Parents come to us and say, ‘you guys are helping us to change our shopping list,’” she reports.

And for those aiming at a medical career, COMCorps is an ideal way to start. That’s the plan for member Tiffany Downs, a recent OHIO alumna who has applied to the Heritage College, has been called for an interview, and wants to practice as a physician in Athens County where she grew up.

“I want to stay here, and my goal is to practice rural medicine primary care,” Downs says.

For more information or to apply visit www.americorps.gov and search “COMCORPS,” or contact Eric Long at longe@ohio.edu