AmeriCorps making a difference

At least two teams of young adults are working in western Nebraska through the end of the month as part of the National Civilian Community Corps...part of the federal AmeriCorps program.

A team of 7 is working with Keep Kimball Beautiful on community cleanup and continued renovation of the new visitor center just of Interstate 80, while a 9-member team is working with the U-S Forest Service at the Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands.

The latter group has spent this week in the Sandhills at the Bessey District. District Ranger Tim Buskirk says the NCCC program is allowing him to address a number of projects that are important but not vital enough to do during a tight budget period.

The team moves from the Bessey Ranger District to the Ogala National Grasslands and the Hudson Meng bison bonebed site for a week of fire recovery work.

AmeriCorps NCCC is a full-time, 10-month, residential, national service program with 2,800 young adults 18 to 24 years old serving nationwide.

Western Nebraska is part of an NCCC region headquartered in Vinton, Iowa, but Buskirk says the members working in the Panhandle are from all across the Midwest.

In exchange for their service, the NCCC members receive $5,550 to help pay for college or to pay back existing student loans.

They also receive room and board, a small living stipend, and leadership development...resulting in increased self-confidence and the knowledge that, through active citizenship, they can make a difference.

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