Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

AmeriCorps Helps Beaches Habitat

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

AmeriCorps Helps Beaches Habitat

Article excerpt

Byline: Christopher F. Aguilar, Shorelines staff writer

For the Beaches chapter of Habitat for Humanity, a group of 112 AmeriCorps volunteers came to the non-profit organization at just the right time.

As summer approaches, the number of volunteers donating their time to help build homes for low-income families at the Beaches seems to dwindle because of the heat or because volunteer families go on vacation, said Beaches Habitat Associate Director Shannon Nazworth.

So when plans fell through for a group of 317 AmeriCorps volunteers working for Habitat for Humanity International to go to the Orlando area to build Habitat homes, HabiJax and Beaches Habitat jumped at the opportunity to have the volunteers.

"We are so thrilled they are here," Nazworth said. "They will get our homeowners in months and months in advance."

The AmeriCorps group has been working with local Habitat for Humanity chapters across the nation and were coming to Florida this week for a "blitz build," where multiple Habitat homes are built at the same time, and as a team-building experience.

When the group arrived in Jacksonville, 112 volunteers were sent to Beaches Habitat to help finish six homes in the Cabo Blanco subdivision in Mayport and help begin two other homes on Jasmine Street in Atlantic Beach. The other 205 volunteers helped HabiJax frame 14 homes in the Longbranch area of North Jacksonville.

AmeriCorps, a domestic version of the Peace Corps, was established in 1993 as a network of national service programs where men and women ages 17 and older work to meet critical needs in education, public safety, health and the environment. AmeriCorps volunteers sign up for a one-year commitment and receive a $4,725 award to pay for college or to repay student loans and a living stipend.

Beginning in September, Beaches Habitat will have four AmeriCorps members working for them, three building homes and one working with family services. …

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