AmeriCorps members urge more young people to apply

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - If you're between the ages of 18 and 24 and you're not sure what you want to do with your life, some young people are asking you to consider AmericCorps. It's an intensive, nearly year long community service program that helps pay for college.

Some members currently volunteering in South Mississippi talked about why they're spreading the word.

The volunteers are working on a home in Moss Point. The owner's son told WLOX his elderly mother paid a contractor up front to repair her home after Hurricane Katrina, but workers only showed up for two days, then never came back. Now AmeriCorps volunteers are going in to fix it.

"She had it redone and unfortunately when it was redone, it wasn't done right," said AmeriCorps member Rachael Ayers. "It wasn't leveled right and so there was still a lot of water rotting out the bottom of her house and the floors were rotting out, so we had to take up all of that."

AmeriCorps volunteers will spend 10 months traveling and doing different kinds of community service work. At the end they'll get money they can use to either go to college.. Or pay off student loans.

AmeriCorps member Cody Arndt said his student loan interest is being deferred while he's in the program. He said the money he receives will pay off what he owes.

"My parents don't make a lot of money, by any means. I don't have help from family or anything like that, so all that comes out of my own pocket. So this is a great help and a great release from that burden."

California. Michigan. The team members come from all over the country.

"I've never had to deal with people from different states and figure out how to work with them," said Ayers. "It's been a trip. There are definitely some differences. Cultural differences and regional differences. So you get to bring in all of that and enjoy it. And there are things to work through and it just makes you a better person."

Volunteers are encouraging young people to consider applying for AmeriCorps.

Trey Collins is from Washington State. He said his mother told him about the program.

"If anyone out there is 18 to 24 years old, this is the program for you. Especially if you don't know what you want to do. It has something for everyone. What you do one day can be completely different from what you do the next."

"If more people knew about it, I'm sure more people would sign up for it and there would be a lot less student debt," said Arndt.

The AmeriCorps members will be working in South Mississippi through July 9th.

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