Big Brothers Big Sisters of Boone County has been awarded $62,000 to hire 11 full-time and part-time AmeriCorps members.
Kim Highfill, program officer for the Missouri Community Service Commission in Jefferson City, which administered the grant, said the money comes from AmeriCorps and its supervising organization, the Corporation for National Community Service.
AmeriCorps gave the Missouri commission almost $1.8 million for not-for-profit organizations, Highfield said.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is now interviewing for the new positions, including eight quarter-time and three full-time jobs, said Rebecca Gordon, development and public relations director for the agency.
The quarter-time employees, who will most likely be MU students, will split their time between mentoring children and recruiting volunteers, Gordon said. The employees will be working in Columbia school and community sites across Columbia as mentors, she said.
“They will be expected to be our contact person,” Gordon said.
Big Brothers Big Sisters will also hire three people full time as team leaders. They will coordinate in three main areas — school-based programs, site-based programs and recruitment.
The agency has five sites for after-school programs, all in Columbia: the Imani Mission Center, the Boys and Girls Club, Fun City, the Columbia Housing Authority and The Intersection, a community center.
Team leaders will serve as mentors in addition to their duties as coordinators.
AmeriCorps was created in 1993 to “serve nonprofits, public agencies and faith-based organizations,” according to its Web site, www.americorps.org. Gordon said Big Brothers Big Sisters applied to the Missouri Community Service Commission for the grant in April and was awarded it in May.
“It was a very quick turnaround,” Gordon said. “We are thrilled ... we needed this piece of the puzzle.”
In its 35th year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Boone County has matched about 1,000 children with 1,000 volunteers, and Gordon said she thinks the extra staff will help the program by adding “roughly 4,000 hours” for the purpose of mentoring children.
“This will directly impact the children we serve,” she said. “This will also impact the people we serve because we’ll be recruiting and building our network.”