FEMA Corps is a division of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, part of the Corporation for National and Community Service. More than 5 million Americans serve their communities through the VISTA program, Senior Corps, the Social Innovation Fund and other related programs
AmeriCorps members, who are between the ages of 18 and 24, receive a living allowance of $4,000 for the year they serve, in addition to housing, meals and medical benefits. They also may receive about $5,000 to help pay for college or satisfy outstanding student loans.
After the expenses are factored in, FEMA Corps is projected to save FEMA an average $60 million a year by improving cost-effectiveness, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The FEMA Corps members are assigned to one of five campuses, including Denver; Sacramento, Calif.; Vicksburg, Miss.; and Vinton, Iowa. The Maryland campus will move from Perry Point to Baltimore's Graceland Park neighborhood near Dundalk by the end of November.
The next stop for the Perry Point group is Anniston, Ala., where they will finish training before receiving their assignments, said LaQuine Roberson, director for the AmeriCorps Atlantic region. Their induction ceremony followed three weeks of training in Perry Point.
The group will return to Maryland between the 10-week deployments.
"We give them an opportunity to talk about the experiences that they've had in the field, maybe how the staff can help them do some things differently, or do it better and we provide more training," Roberson said.
Eric Butler, a 2012 graduate of Concord High School in New Castle, Del., said the job ahead would be daunting, but he's looking forward to the adventure.
"I want to travel and I want to help people, put smiles on people's faces in rough times," said Butler, 20, who had been studying special education at Wilmington University.
His mother, Erika Lamborn, said she is proud of her son.
"I told him, 'Go for it," Lamborn said. "I think it's going to be really good for him."
If you want to join
FEMA Corps members must be between the ages of 18 and 24. Applications are available at NationalService.gov.
Since 2000, the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps in Maryland has:
Contributed more than 500,000 hours of service
Provided $11.3 million worth of service
Recruited 7,600 volunteers
Assisted 510,000 people in disaster areas
Tutored 17,000 students
Planted 290,000 new trees, seedling and shrubs
Restored 30,300 acres of wildlife habitat
Source: AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps