Opening Day for United Way’s North Shore AmeriCorps Program

November 1, 2019

United Way announces program expansion to Gloucester as 20 AmeriCorps members are sworn in to serve English Learner students on the North Shore

United Way’s North Shore AmeriCorps team today kicked off the 2019-2020 service year at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, joining more than 1,000 AmeriCorps members from across Massachusetts. The 20 members from United Way’s North Shore AmeriCorps team were sworn into service today and will partner with schools to support the English proficiency and the social emotional development of students in Lynn, Salem, and for the first time, Gloucester. The swearing-in ceremony took place at an event hosted by the Massachusetts Service Alliance and the Massachusetts office of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) featuring remarks from  U.S. Representative Seth Moulton and Barbara Stewart, CEO of the Corporation for CNCS.

The United Way North Shore AmeriCorps members serve in both public schools and community-based settings to provide intensive support to English Learner students enrolled in grades K-12 in the communities of Lynn, Salem, and Gloucester. United Way created the partnerships in these cities to help the schools and the community respond to the increasing number of English Learner students and the increased need for services to support their educational success.  In Lynn, more than 25% of students are English Learners, and over 13% of students in Salem are English Learners. In Gloucester, over 5% of students are English Learners and that percentage is expected to grow.

“Schools and community organizations need support to help ensure English Learner students graduate high school prepared for college and career paths,” said Michael K. Durkin, President and Chief Executive Officer at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “It’s a challenge no one organization can tackle alone, and we are proud to bring together the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Massachusetts Service Alliance, public schools and community-based organizations to invest in English Learner students and help ensure their educational success.”

Results of the United Way North Shore program in Salem and Lynn show that last year, 89% of English learners reported they believe working with an AmeriCorps Member helped them do better in school, and 82% reported they felt more confident using their English since the start of the year. In addition,74% of the English learners reported they feel more part of the Lynn/Salem communities, a key indicator of healthy social and emotional development.

Through United Way’s North Shore AmeriCorps Program, 20 members are serving during the 2019-2020 school year in eleven public schools and five community organizations across Lynn, Salem, and Gloucester. Partner sites in Lynn include Marshall Middle School, Breed Middle School, Lynn Classical, Lynn English and Lynn Vocational Technical high schools, Girls Inc. of Lynn, New American Center, Metro North YMCA, and Gregg Neighborhood House.  Americorps team members in Salem serve Witchcraft Elementary, Collins Middle School, Salem High School, and LEAP for Education.

For the 2019-2020 school year, United Way is partnering with Gloucester Public Schools to expand the program in the city through Veteran’s Memorial Elementary School, O’Maley Innovation Middle School, and Gloucester High School.

The North Shore AmeriCorps Program is funded by United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Massachusetts Service Alliance.