Frequently Asked Questions about AIDS United’s AmeriCorps program
Thank you for your interest in the AIDS United AmeriCorps Program. We offer an exciting, challenging, and life-changing program to our AmeriCorps members. The information below will likely answer some of your questions as you think about applying for our 2013-2014 service year. Our recruitment process will open on January 1 and will continue through May 31, 2013.
Applicant Qualifications & Experience
Our members do not need to have any particular experience to qualify. In order to apply, you must be at least 17 years old, a US citizen or permanent resident, and either have a high school diploma/GED or be working toward one during your year of service. Additionally, we welcome applications from individuals who have served one term in another AmeriCorps program but cannot accept applicants who have already served two or more terms.
Aside from those basic qualifications, our members come with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, with some having no previous HIV/AIDS experience and others having worked or volunteered in the field for years. Our members range in age from their early 20s to mid-life or later and come from all races, classes, sexual orientations, gender identities, physical abilities, educational attainments, and areas of the country. What is important is that our members have a passion for HIV/AIDS issues, social justice, and improving the lives of those who either have or are at risk for HIV/AIDS.
Service Year Timeline
Our program’s service year runs from early August until mid-July each year. The 2013-2014 service year will begin in early August with a mandatory Pre-Service orientation training. You must be available to attend this training; no exceptions are possible. Since our program is team-based, all members start and end the year at the same time. Hence, we do not accept members for mid-year placement.
Service Sites & Work Responsibilities
For the upcoming service year, our AmeriCorps members are placed in one of the following sites:
- Albuquerque/Santa Fe, NM;
- Chicago, IL
- Cleveland, OH;
- Detroit, MI;
- Indianapolis, IN;
- New Orleans, LA; and
- Washington, DC.
Part of the supplemental application process (see below) asks you to rank in which of those sites you are interested in serving. If you are not interested in a city, you should not rank it.
After Pre-Service, you would return to your city site and would be placed at a Host Agency. You would serve four days a week at this agency. The fifth day of every week would be spent with your team, doing service or team-building activities. Your Host Agency placement would be determined in consultation between you and your team supervisor, based upon your interests, the needs of the team, and the available Host Agencies for any given service year. You would generally work about 40 hours per week, although some weeks would require more hours if there is a big event at your Host Agency, with your team, or in your community.
Your work responsibilities would depend upon the Host Agency with which you were placed. Some members work with high schoolers to do prevention education, others do outreach at bars or on the streets to people who are at risk for infection, other members work with people who are already infected with HIV/AIDS. In short, our Host Agency placements vary widely. You can get more specifics about the possibilities available if you are interviewed by an AmeriCorps team supervisor.
Stipend & Benefits
AIDS United AmeriCorps members receive a small stipend for their service. Member stipends for the 2014-2015 service year will be $14,000 ($16,000 for those on Team DC because the cost of living in this city is so high). Members are also eligible for the federal AmeriCorps education award upon successful completion of their service year. Child care benefits are available for the year, as are health insurance and a small amount of vacation time/sick leave.
Housing & Taking Classes
During your service year, you would be responsible for finding and paying for your own housing, and we cannot reimburse members for relocation expenses. However, your team supervisor could help you with suggestions on places to live in your host city. Some of our AmeriCorps members share apartments or group houses with each other, while others live on their own, either by themselves or with parents or children.
Although we do not bar members from attending school part-time during their service year, it is not recommended. We have an intense program that takes a lot time and energy. If possible, we recommend that members not take classes during the first semester of their service year. After serving during the fall, it may be easier for members to gauge if they will be able to handle taking classes during the spring. However, this remains the choice of each individual member who may want to attend school during her/his service year.
Our application entails the online AmeriCorps application, including its two letters of recommendation, and an AIDS United-specific supplemental application form.
We strongly encourage folks to apply online and early. We have quicker access to the online system than we do to anything sent via the mail, FedEx, or UPS – and submitting an application online doesn’t require you to pay shipping or postage! You can find the initial online application by going to www.americorps.gov.
However, if you do not have web access or are having problems with the online system that the AmeriCorps Help Desk cannot solve, a .PDF version of the application is available by writing to email@example.com. You would just need to print it out, complete it, and mail it directly to us at AU (not to the Corporation for National and Community Service, the address for which appears at the end of the application itself). It asks all of the same questions as the web-based application does.
Once we have received your main AmeriCorps application, we will send you our supplemental application.
When we have received all of your supplemental application materials, we will forward your completed application on to your first choice site. If that site is interested in interviewing you, they will contact you directly. If they decide to pursue other applicants, they will let me know and we will forward your application on to your second choice site, if you have indicated one on your supplemental application, and will inform you that your application has been forwarded. If you have not indicated another choice site on your application, review of your materials stops there.
Consideration time for applications varies but is usually around 2-3 months, sometimes more and sometimes less. Hence, you should expect to hear a final decision on your candidacy a couple months after we have received your completed application. Be aware, however, that it takes most people about 3-4 weeks to get us a completed supplemental application, including essay questions, identification documents, and letters of recommendation. Consideration of your application cannot begin until all those items are in our office.
We strongly encourage people to apply early. While we will technically accept applications up through May 31, our admissions are on a rolling basis. Our program is very competitive, and slots begin to fill as early as the end of March, with teams filling up in early-mid May. Hence, if you wait to apply until May 31, it is very likely that your first choice team will have already been filled. So please get your materials in as soon as possible in order to have the greatest chance that your application will be fully considered.
If you would like any more information or have other questions about our program, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you again for your interest in doing a year of service with AIDS United! We hope to be receiving your application soon.