Economy Down, Service Applications Up

New Hampshire Union Leader
Sunday, March 22, 2009

Applications Have Increased by 40 percent in 2009

Amid a weak job market, organizations that offer recent college graduates opportunities to perform volunteer service are seeing significant application increases.

Through February, the City Year service program had received nearly three times as many applications as it did through February 2008, spokesman Alison Franklin said.

Operating in 18 U.S. locations, including New Hampshire, City Year enlists volunteers to run youth-based community service programs.

Similarly, Campus Compact for New Hampshire has received twice its typical number of inquiries about the AmeriCorps VISTA service program it runs in partnership with its sister organizations in Maine and Vermont, said Deborah Scire, the program’s executive director.

The VISTA volunteers coordinate anti-poverty programs from college campuses in all three states.

Because of an increase in VISTA funding under the recent federal economic-stimulus legislation, Campus Compact’s northern New England program is expected to increase from 30 to 60 volunteers this year, Scire said.

The Student Conservation Association, which offers volunteer opportunities in conservation nationwide, has seen its applications increase by 40 percent in 2009, spokesman Kendall Schwartz said.

“I think more and more students are seeing the benefit of tuition-free programs that provide them with new skill sets and help build their resumes,” Schwartz said. “Many are also responding to (President) Obama’s call to service.”