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Grant funds 16 new 4-H positions in impoverished Georgia counties By Sharon Dowdy, Capri Martinez

Georgia 4-H will be adding 16 new positions in some of the state’s most impoverished counties because of a grant from the Georgia Commission for Service and Volunteerism.

Georgia 4-H received one of the highly competitive 2012-2013 AmeriCorps State & National Grants from state commission and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

The 16 new, direct-service employees will work in Appling, Banks, Bibb, Clayton, Coffee, Crisp, Dougherty, Decatur, Hart, Heard, Laurens, Putnam, Troup, Tift, Union and Washington counties. They will assist University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agents in delivering youth programs.

“With the reduction in state and federal funding for Extension 4-H programs, we have to look for other ways to supplement funding for county 4-H programs across the state,” said Georgia 4-H State Leader Arch Smith. “These Americorps workers provided through grant funding will help county Extension 4-H offices reach more young people and give more children the positive educational youth development opportunities offered by Georgia 4-H.”

AmeriCorps grants advance the priorities of the bipartisan 2009 Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act and focus on six key service areas: disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and veterans and military families.

"Our board had very difficult funding decisions to make this year because the requests for AmeriCorps grants far exceeded our available funds," said GCSV Executive Director John Turner.

The commission, which administers AmeriCorps and other federal grants to service agencies in Georgia, received applications requesting more than $6 million from 24 applicants. AmeriCorps had $3,980,239 available for grants.

The commission renewed the grants for 12 existing AmeriCorps programs for 2012-2013 year, including: Clayton State University, Communities in Schools, Fannin County Family Connection, Georgia Perimeter College, Georgia State University, Georgia Tech, Goodwill of Southern Rivers, Hands On Atlanta, Jumpstart Georgia , Refuge Resettlement Services and Immigration Services of Atlanta, United Way of Metro Atlanta and Youth Villages Inner Harbour Campus.

For more information on Georgia 4-H’s AmeriCorps grant, contact Jeff Buckley at Jbuckley@uga.edu or (706) 542-8735.

(Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

(Capri Martinez is a Georgia 4-H AmeriCorps VISTA member.)

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