AmeriCorps MassLIFT Service Learning Coordinator
Groundwork Somerville

Groundwork Somerville is looking for an energetic and creative individual to contribute to the growth and reach of our organization. Groundwork Somerville strives for the sustained regeneration, improvement and management of the physical environment through the development of community-based partnerships, which empower people, businesses and organizations to promote environmental, social and economic well-being. We serve youth aged 16-24 in green jobs and leadership training, provide environmental education in School Garden Classrooms and create and restore green and growing spaces throughout the city and region. Groundwork’s current focuses are Urban Agriculture, food access and open space. Our youth run an urban farm, mobile farmers market, and perform stewardship of public lands like school gardens, parks, and rivers. The Service Learning Coordinator will play a key role increasing Groundwork’s capacity to provide environmental and nutrition-based education programs to youth, and the community.

Responsibilities

MassLIFT Service Learning Coordinators (SLCs) help communities connect youth with the natural world and encourage their civic engagement by building the capacity of regional land trusts and partnered organizations to: 1) work with educators and community volunteers to develop and deliver youth-focused service learning and experiential conservation education programs; 2) help local schools develop new curriculum and resources such as schoolyard nature trails, biodiversity inventories, and ecological monitoring programs; 3) plan service programs that develop job skills for college students related to careers in natural resources management, land conservation, and the environmental sciences; 4) identify and coordinate opportunities to partner with youth development programs on community service projects; and 5) organize conservation education workshops and events that engage families in the exploration of local natural history.

MassLIFT AmeriCorps members work with their supervisors to develop and carry out six or more capacity building projects over the course of the service year. Many of these projects will involve recruiting, training, and managing community volunteers. Groundwork Somerville has proposed the following projects for their Service Learning Coordinator:

  1. Beekeeping – In 2012 Somerville passed the Urban Agriculture Ordinance (with support from Groundwork Somerville), the first of its kind in Massachusetts. Groundwork Somerville concurrently built the first (and only) urban farm in the city, and is now interested in promoting the all of the A, B, C’s (Agriculture, Bees, Chickens) of Urban Ag. While we have mastered the A, it is time to take on bees, and we are eager to add these essential pollinators to the South Street Farm as integrated collaborators, as well as public demonstration and educational resources. We feel this is an exciting project for our member to take on in 2015/2016. 120 hours.
  2. School Gardens Expansion and Service Learning – This project would involve the design, organization, and implementation of service learning projects for students/schools as part of an ongoing Farm to School Program, and effort to connect service and gardens-based learning to core standards and school-day curriculum in a new school district in Malden, MA. With a garden in every elementary school in Somerville, we are looking to share this positive influence with other towns in our watershed. Malden offers several elementary school with great open space and garden potential, and a desire to bring outdoor and gardens-based education to their programming.  The Service Learning Volunteer will organize and implement service projects that are neighborhood-based around each school and could include activities such as garden builds, cleanups, plantings, habitat improvement, trash removal, removal of invasive species, plantings, and harvesting in garden as well as the surrounding grounds and community. Volunteer will partner with schools, teachers and academic coaches to align existing curriculum goals with opportunities for outdoor and gardens-based teaching, using these public spaces as a tool to improve lesson plans and knowledge retention. 240 Hours.
  3. Green Space Audit – With a very public goal of 125 new acres of open space declared, Groundwork has is eager for as many of those acres to be green space as possible. The first step in this process is identifying “outside the box” opportunities for land acquisition and conversion to parks, recreation areas, urban agriculture, etc. Particularly in the redevelopment area of Union Square, this project will require a creative exploration and discovery of new, non-city-owned lots that with potential for creative redevelopment. The hope is that the member will be able to be on the forefront of creating some of Somerville’s first new open spaces. 140 hours.
  4. Millers River Daylighting – the historic Millers River flowers under Union Square, through Cambridge to the Charles River.  With the redevelopment of Union Square, our goal is to identify culverted portions of this historic river that we can work to daylight. This could be a unique opportunity to resurrect a hidden river in New England’s most dense city. We plan to partner with Charles River Watershed Association, who have explored these possibilities in Cambridge.

Development of these and other projects will occur during the first two months of service and consider the member’s interests and skills.

Essential Qualifications:

    • A strong interest in land stewardship and hands-on conservation projects
    • Strong writing, communication, and networking skills
    • Able to work both independently and as a member of a team
    • Familiarity with Microsoft Office programs
    • Positive attitude and enthusiasm

Desired Qualifications:

    • Experience recruiting, training, and managing volunteers
    • Experience working with young people
    • Experience leading outdoor programs
    • Highly organized
    • Knowledge of Massachusetts State Education Standards
    • Fluency in Spanish, Creole or Portuguese
    • Some gardening background/knowledge

How to Apply

Hosting organizations, service positions, and application procedures are described in the Join MassLIFT section of the MassLIFT-AmeriCorps website: masslift.org.

The member application includes a completed application form, the names of three references, a resume, and a 1- 2 page cover letter. Download the application form from the Join MassLIFT website. Scan the completed form, resume, and cover letter into one PDF file and email this file to admin@masslift.org.

Member applications will be available for viewing by all of our host sites. Do not send applications directly to a host site.
We strongly encourage applications to be submitted before interviews begin in late May. Position offers and acceptances will begin in early June. The program aims to fill all positions by late July, but host sites may continue interviews as needed until all positions are filled.

For questions about MassLIFT-AmeriCorps, contact Sean Pollock, Program Director, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, Athol, MA. w: 978-248-2043 x16; c: 413-522-3996 or email admin@masslift.org.

For questions about Groundwork Somerville, contact Jess Bloomer, Program Manager. 617-628-9988 or email jess@groundworksomerville.org

 

AmeriCorps Member Eligibility Requirements

This year’s MassLIFT program will run from September 8, 2015 through August 5, 2016.
All MassLIFT-AmeriCorps members are expected to serve full-time, commit to serve for the entire eleven month term, and complete 1,700 hours of service. The 1,700 hours includes time spent in trainings and service with the full MassLIFT team. Weekly service averages 35 hours and commonly includes some night and/or weekend activities.

Applicants must also meet the following AmeriCorps requirements:

  • a US citizen, US national, or Lawful Permanent Resident Alien of the U.S.
  • at least 18-years-of-age
  • a minimum of a high school diploma or GED
  • no more than three previous terms as an AmeriCorps member
  • pass a criminal history background check
  • if serving primarily with vulnerable populations such as youth and the elderly, also pass an FBI check. (This requirement applies to MassLIFT Service Learning Coordinators.)

AmeriCorps programs provide equal employment opportunities. MassLIFT will recruit and select persons in all positions to ensure a diverse and inclusive climate without regard to race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, color, political affiliation, creed, national origin, marital status, or any other status as protected by federal, state, and local laws. We encourage applications from individuals with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodations for interviews and service upon request.

Member Compensation and Benefits:

  • MassLIFT-AmeriCorps members will receive a living allowance of $12,530 over the 11 month term of service, or $501.20 per 25 biweekly pay period.
  • MassLIFT assists members in obtaining health insurance coverage through healthcare.gov. Reimbursement of costs may be available.
  • Childcare assistance may be provided in cases of financial need.
  • Upon successful completion of the term of service, AmeriCorps members will receive a $5,730 education award, which can be used for future education or to pay off existing school loans. See edaward.org for more info.
  • Individuals in approved AmeriCorps positions are eligible for forbearance of most federally-guaranteed student loans.
  • MassLIFT-AmeriCorps members gain skills in land conservation, attend a statewide conference, and participate in team trainings and other professional development opportunities.
  • AmeriCorps members experience the personal rewards of national service
    and community engagement.

Note: MassLIFT-AmeriCorps members are responsible for their own housing and must have access to reliable transportation.