GSNI is honored to be in our fifth year of an AmeriCorps federal grant for Project Opportunity—an AmeriCorps program developed by GSNI—implemented throughout our service area! Project Opportunity is a youth development and education program for underserved girls. GSNI has been awarded over $120,000! By accepting this grant, GSNI has committed to providing a substantial program match with private and in-kind funds.
This program engages girls at locations across northern Illinois communities including Aurora, Carpentersville, DeKalb, Elgin, and parts of Boone, McHenry, and Winnebago counties. Project Opportunity provides the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) to girls affected by poverty and other risk factors. Many girls face barriers to participating in positive youth development programs, and AmeriCorps grant funding provides the resources and AmeriCorps members necessary to support the participation of over 600 girls in the Girl Scout program. Through their participation, these girls will derive the full program benefits of being a Girl Scout!
In the fifth year of this AmeriCorps program, 20 AmeriCorps members will work with existing GSNI partners, including schools and community centers, as well as identify new partners and sites where GSNI can reach girls who might not otherwise have the opportunity to become Girl Scouts, both virtually and in-person. Members will also recruit new volunteers from local communities to help with Project Opportunity programming. These AmeriCorps members will provide critical leadership and developmental programming to girls and help strengthen communities by engaging with local partners and volunteers.
GSNI has a long history in providing staff-led programming in Rockford and Elgin. For over a decade, hundreds of girls have been able to participate in the GSLE. Girls who participate show strong outcomes towards achievement, such as developing a strong sense of self, positive values, and healthy relationship skills. When asked about their participation in Girl Scouts, girls report being excited about making new friends, having the opportunity to learn new things, engage in hands-on activities, feeling secure in a girl group, and making a difference in the world.
Across Illinois, AmeriCorps programs, which are administered by the Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, provide support to thousands of Illinoisans in need. AmeriCorps members dedicate a year to helping communities meet their unmet economic, education, health, public safety, and environmental needs, while developing their own skills and passions. Members who successfully complete their service receive an educational award of up to $6,195 to help pay for college, graduate school, vocational training, or to pay off student loans.
GSNI is currently seeking dedicated individuals who are interested in serving their community as AmeriCorps members, with a variety of part-time positions available. All members will receive a modest living allowance and ongoing training and development opportunities. To get involved, email AmeriCorps@girlscoutsni.org.