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Erin Cooperman
AIHTI Coordinator
cooperme@indiana.edu
812-856-0064

Tracy James
University Communications
traljame@indiana.edu
812-855-0084

Last modified: Tuesday, June 30, 2009

AmeriCorps program at IU Bloomington to begin fourth year of health programs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 30, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- AmeriCorps Improving Health Throughout Indiana, the 3-year-old nutrition and physical activity-oriented AmeriCorps program operated by Indiana University's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, has received funding for an additional year.

AmeriCorps

A $126,000 award from the Indiana Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives will allow AIHTI volunteers to continue helping a variety of non-profit organizations with health programs they might otherwise not be able to afford. In return, the volunteers, who work either part time or full time, can earn a living stipend and up to $4,725 for college tuition or loans.

"Our volunteers acquire experience they very rarely would get in any other traditional internship," said Erin Cooperman, AIHTI coordinator. "Many are 'the health person;' they're responsible for creating and implementing a health program at the site from scratch."

Volunteers have worked in non-profit organizations in Bloomington, Indianapolis and Bedford, and as far north as South Bend and as far south as Evansville. Examples of their work include running afterschool programs at boys and girls clubs, distributing vouchers to seniors for fresh fruits and vegetables, and conducting a needs assessment for the Volunteers in Medicine program. A volunteer at a transitional housing program for teens helped teens with their health needs, which included helping them register for food stamps, teaching them to cook and taking them to doctor appointments.

"When I say they get experience with us that they can't get anywhere else, it's because the responsibility they have is so great," Cooperman said.

Volunteers need to have a high school degree but do not need to be enrolled in college or IU. While some volunteers have had majors unrelated to health, such as journalism, or they recently received graduate degrees, most have been pursuing an undergraduate degree at IU related to health.

For the 2009-2010 year, which begins in September, AIHTI will be able to fund 12 half-time positions and four full-time positions.

To learn more about the program, contact Cooperman at cooperme@indiana.edu. To learn more about AmeriCorps programs in Indiana, visit http://www.in.gov/ofbci/.