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 College Grads Can Change Lives with PASS AmeriCorps

PASS AmeriCorps is now accepting applications for recent college graduates who want to volunteer to mentor local students to help them stay in school and out of trouble.

The program, administered locally by the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE), serves students in grades 3 through 12 at 30 schools across the county, including campuses in San Diego, Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, and Valley Center.

Each PASS AmeriCorps mentor provides support for 30 at-risk students though academic engagement, community service projects, and parent outreach. Through AmeriCorps national service, they'll be able to facilitate positive change in a school and community.

"The students I have met and have had the privilege to mentor have taught me so much about myself, and have opened my eyes and my heart in ways I never knew possible," said Zoe Pace a two-year PASS AmeriCorps member. "Facilitating meaningful conversations and projects, helping students bridge the disconnect between themselves and school, and providing a safe place for students to freely be themselves is an experience that has had a positive impact on me, both personally and professionally." 

There are as many as 39 full-time openings for the 2017-18 school year. Volunteers who are selected for the program will receive powerful experience, a $1,500 monthly stipend, student loan deferment, health benefits, professional development, and an educational award of $5,815 that can be used to pay student loans or any other educational cost in the future.

More information about the positions and application instructions are available online. Applicants must be at least 22 years old and have a bachelor's degree as well as experience working with youth.

Applications are accepted from all over the country, but organizers are particularly interested in hearing from local San Diego County applicants.

"Our PASS AmeriCorps Members have a rare opportunity to build one-on-one relationships with their students, and to be the positive role model that these students may not otherwise have," said Monica Quiroz, a project specialist who coordinates the program for SDCOE.

As one PASS AmeriCorps elementary student said, "My PASS Mentor makes me feel confident, like I am really smart and just need to try."

The PASS AmeriCorps program is part of the nationwide AmeriCorps program, which engages more than 80,000 Americans in intensive service each year at nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups. Since the program's founding in 1994, more than 1 million AmeriCorps members have contributed more than 1.4 billion hours in service across the country.