Men's Breakfast Report, December 2010

The Men’s Breakfast Group met Saturday, December 11 with the AmeriCorps Volunteers. 
AmeriCorps is the domestic equivalent of the Peace Corps. There are several branches to AmeriCorps; these volunteers are members of the National Community Conservation Corps (NCCC).  Members of the NCCC are men and women between 18 and 24 years of age who have volunteered for a one year of service.  They are paid a small amount for living expenses and receive a grant to pay tuition or pay off student loans at the end of their service. 

This group consisted of five men and five women.  They ranged from recent high school graduates taking a year off before starting college to college graduates.  Some were in the middle of their college educations.  Only one person was interested in engineering (civil) and one in the sciences (biology).  They came from all over the country, from Massachusetts to Southern California.  They are based in Denver, Colorado. 

The group will work on several short term (two month) assignments during their term of service.  This is their first assignment, to help mentor and tutor students for the Boys and Girls Club and for the schools.  Several volunteers are assigned to various elementary and middle schools where they serve as teacher’s aides.  They help students that need individual instruction to succeed, especially with reading and math.  After school they help with the BEST program run by the Boys and Girls Club at each of these schools.  This program provides extra help to students at these schools and a place for the students to stay while their parents work.  It is much more academically oriented than the regular Boys and Girls Club.  A couple of the volunteers are assigned to the traditional Boys and Girls Club in Freeport. This program is much less structured and primarily provides safe recreational opportunities for the students, although help with academics is also provided.  A couple of the volunteers are assigned to the Boys and Girls Club office where they perform clerical work.  The group has also participated in other volunteer activities such as Salvation Army Bell Ringing and helping with the city-wide Thanksgiving dinner.  The group’s assignment here is coming to an end this week.  They will return to their base in Denver and then take Christmas week off to visit their families.   The Freeport students that they are helping are already saying that they do not want their mentors to leave.  The next assignment for the group will be trail construction and maintenance in Grand Canyon National Park.  They are hoping to get an assignment with Habitat for Humanity, building houses in New Orleans. 

The Volunteers live in a large room partitioned off into men and women’s sections at the Boys and Girls Club.  They have kitchen facilities and have showers at the Boys and Girls Club Gymnasium.  They really appreciated our breakfast as a change from the normal cereal and bagels.  They do not have individual cars so the group leader has to take them to their assignments in the group van every day.  The facilities are not ideal. Our parlor, where a previous group stayed, was a better facility. 

As usual the men had an interesting discussion and a good breakfast.  Our next meeting will be Saturday, January 5.