VICKSBURG, Miss. – Four years after Hurricane Katrina brought teams of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) teams to the Gulf Coast to join in recovery efforts, the Corporation for National and Community Service opened the fifth NCCC campus here today with the induction of 160 Corps members.
“On behalf of all Mississippians, Marsha and I deeply appreciate the AmeriCorps members who came to help after Hurricane Katrina, the worst natural disaster in American history,” said Governor Haley Barbour. “Our state is now honored to host the newest AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps campus in Vicksburg. We welcome these outstanding, civic-minded young men and women, and know they will offer tremendous service to people in our region.”
“The fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is a fitting time to open the new campus,” said Nicola Goren, acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that oversees NCCC. “The efforts of all the NCCC members who served in the area following the Hurricane made a huge difference in the area's recovery. As a result, Mississippians were determined to bring a new campus to their area. The Vicksburg campus would not have happened without the involvement and support of numerous people, particularly the Mississippi congressional delegation, Governor Barbour and the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service.”
Gary Turner, NCCC Southern Region director, thanked Gov. Barbour and the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service for their efforts to make the South Region campus a reality. “We have been working closely with MCVS and look forward to continuing our joint efforts,” he said.
The first joint effort is scheduled for September 11, America's first National Day of Service and Remembrance, when AmeriCorps NCCC and the MCVS staff will partner on their first project together: construction of an 8,000-square foot volunteering housing center sponsored by Recover, Restore, Rebuild Southeast Mississippi (R3SM). The service project will highlight President Obama's national call to service, United We Serve. The structure will serve as living quarters for volunteers and national service members working to rebuild houses damaged and destroyed in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Gustav.
“After Katrina, Mississippians in our coastal counties became very familiar with the NCCC teams that immersed themselves in communities to make a difference. As host for the new campus, communities across our entire state will now get the chance to welcome these dedicated young men and women,” said David Mallery, executive director of MCVS.
At least 50 percent of the Southern Region's focus will be on disaster services. The first round of projects for the campus include 13 in Mississippi itself, with one team responding to the aftermath of flooding in Louisville, Ky. The new Southern Region campus will also provide consistent support to entities addressing other community needs throughout the 11-state region of Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee.
AmeriCorps NCCC is a full-time, team-based residential program for men and women ages 18-24. NCCC members are organized into teams of 10-12 members and serve in the region's local communities by responding to community needs in the areas of: disaster preparation, response and recovery; environmental conservation; public safety; urban and rural development; and, education. Corps Members respond to disasters, construct homes, develop trails in state and national parks, mentor children and youth, and meet many other needs identified by communities. The campus began operations in January, in the former All Saints' Episcopal School, which closed as a day and boarding school three years ago. In the first round of projects, all but one will be in Mississippi. A complete list is below.
NCCC members account for about 1,100 of the 75,000 AmeriCorps members serving nationwide each year. The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which was signed by President Obama in April, will put AmeriCorps on a path to expand to 250,000 members by 2017.
As southern states enter the peak of Hurricane season, the NCCC Southern Region campus is bringing new energy to a region that has been lacking an NCCC campus since the closure of the Charleston, SC campus in 2007. In the event of a disaster, this Southern Region campus with its 14 teams can be called on to respond quickly and serve as a staging location for other NCCC teams from around the country.
Since Hurricane Katrina, over 4,070 AmeriCorps NCCC members from campuses across the nation have served more than 2.6 million hours in the Gulf Coast on over 975 relief and recovery projects. Some of their accomplishments include: refurbishing over 10,000 homes, constructing over 1,900 new homes and supporting approximately 870 emergency response centers.
The mission of MCVS is to engage and support Mississippians of all ages and backgrounds in service to their communities. For more information on participating in community service, please call 601-432-6779, toll free 1-888-353-1793, or visit http://www.mcvs.org.
Initial Service Projects
|Living Independence for Everyone|
|Modifying homes for individuals with disabilities through wheelchair ramp construction and bathroom renovations|
|Boys and Girls Club of Central Mississippi|
|Maintaining campgrounds and trails, painting, removing invasive plants and mentoring youth|
|Camp Coast Care|
Long Beach, MS
|Rehabilitating homes and supporting a volunteer camp in Hurricane Katrina affected communities|
|Habitat for Humanity Bay – Waveland|
Habitat for Humanity – MS Gulf Coast
|Constructing homes and leading volunteers in Hurricane Katrina affected communities|
|Hope Community Development Foundation|
|Rehabilitating and constructing homes in Hurricane Katrina affected communities|
|Pat Harrison Waterway District|
|Trail construction, building renovations, and campsite rehabilitation|
|Recover, Rebuild, Restore Southeast Mississippi (R3SM) Hattiesburg, MS||Rehabilitating homes and building volunteer housing in Hurricane Katrina affected communities|
|Southern Foundation for Homeless Children|
|Land regeneration and farming, construction and mentoring foster youth|
|The Mississippi River Field Institute/|
The National Audubon Society
|Building kiosks and structures to support volunteers and promote wildlife habitation, and conducting trail maintenance|
|Vicksburg Fire Department|
|Painting house numbers on residential street curbs|
|O’Keefe Educational media: Project Disability Connection|
|Conducting research and creating an online resource directory for individuals with disabilities|
|Vicksburg National Military Park|
|Trail work and preservation of historic artifacts|
|Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD)|
|Remove debris from homes, removing walls and floors when necessary, and cleaning and sanitizing the dwelling.|