Last updated: July 17. 2013 1:33PM - 325 Views

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Julia Roberts Goad

Staff Writer

Students who want to earn money for their education while making a difference in the lives of area children have an opportunity to do so by joining Energy Express.

The deadline for applying is March 1, or until all the positions are filled.

Energy Express is an eight week summer reading and nutrition program for children living in West Virginia’s rural and low-income communities. The program is currently accepting applications from college bound high school seniors or current enrolled college students that will were 18 or older on June 13, 2012.

Mark Whitt, WVU-ES Mingo County Associate Professor, coordinates the program in the county. “This is a tremendous opportunity for our college going young adults to serve our county and earn excellent monies towards their college education,” Whitt said.

Children living in rural and low-income communities often fall behind during the summer months, starting each school year behind where they were the previous spring.

Some of the factors that lead to this loss are the lack of school breakfast and lunch, and few structured learning opportunities for children living in rural and low income communities.

For those children, Energy Express can be the solution.

The program provides summer learning experiences focused on reading,serves two nutritious family-style meals each day and helps develop strong partnerships involving parents, schools, communities, and state agencies and organizations.

Energy Express is a program under the leadership of WVU Extension Service’s 4-H Youth Development program. This AmeriCorps program is funded, in part, by grants from the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts and Volunteer West Virginia. The Mingo County program costs $575,000 to provide, yet comes at very little cost at the local level, as the majority of funding comes from federal and state government.

Energy Express is currently taking applications for mentor and community coordinators in Mingo County.

Mentors serve directly with children, creating an enriching environment focused on reading, writing, drama, and art. Mentors also eat breakfast and lunch with the children – a valuable time to develop strong bonds.

Community coordinators recruit, train, and supervise volunteers to read with children and engage in other activities at the site.Community Coordinators serve directly with volunteers to raise awareness and involve parents and the community with children’s learning.

AmeriCorps members will receive a living allowance of $1,850, training before and during Energy Express, a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award in the form of a voucher for $1,175 (available October 2013), and an opportunity to earn college credit.

To apply online, go to www.energyexpress.wvu.edu or call the WVU Extension at 304 235-0370.

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