Americorps opens new training center in Dundalk
Wednesday, 26 December 2012 11:36

Service group takes up digs at former school

by Nicole Rodman

    The once-vacant building that housed the now-closed Sacred Heart of Mary School is once again open for business.
    This time, however, the business is not teaching young minds but training young adults.
    The Youngstown Avenue building has officially been dedicated as the new Americorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) Atlantic Region Campus.
    Americorps is a federal program designed to “strengthen communities and develop leaders through community service,” according to the program’s fact sheet.
    A residential service program for young people ages 18 to 24, Americorps trains volunteers to provide service to communities in need across the United States.
    In order to train the volunteers who provide much-needed aid across the country, Americorps operates a number of residential training centers across the United States.
  

The newest of these training centers is the just-dedicated Atlantic Region Campus at Sacred Heart of Mary.
    Under the terms of Americorps’ agreement with the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Americorps will lease the building for at least five years, after which time all parties can reconsider the deal.
    In preparation for the opening of the training facility, which will house approximately 120 volunteers for 6 to 10 weeks at a time, Americorps has committed to $2 million worth of renovations for the aging former school.     
    At a dedication ceremony at the facility on Dec. 17, a variety of dignitaries were on hand to welcome Dundalk’s newest addition.
    After an introduction by Americorps national director Kate Raftery, Baltimore City mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake offered a few words of welcome to the staff and volunteers of the new Americorps facility.
    Following the mayor, Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori also offered remarks.
    Also on hand to offer remarks was U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski.
    A longtime supporter of Americorps, Mikulski secured funding for the establishment of the new Dundalk Americorps facility.
    In a statement issued last Monday, Mikulski noted, “I fought to create AmeriCorps, I fought to strengthen AmeriCorps, and I’m proud to dedicate this new NCCC campus to establish an even stronger AmeriCorps program in Baltimore.”
    She continued, “By partnering with our faith-based community to bring the NCCC to the Sacred Heart of Mary, we are continuing in a tradition of working together towards a common purpose to meet a compelling human need.”
    Following Mikulski’s remarks, Wendy Spencer, chief executive officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service, offered a few words of her own.
    In a press release issued last Monday, Spencer remarked, “We thank Sen. Mikulski, Mayor Rawlings-Blake, Archbishop Lori, and other partners for welcoming this new training campus to Baltimore.”
    She continued, “I assure you that Baltimore will be proud of what future AmeriCorps NCCC teams accomplish in Maryland and other states as a result of the training they receive at this new facility.”
    As the dedication wound down last Monday, Shaina Hernandez, special assistant to Gov. Martin O’Malley’s chief of staff, presented the new Americorps facility with a citation signed by the governor.
    While the ribbon-cutting for the facility was held last week, renovations will not begin until next month. The campus will welcome its first trainees next spring.
    Once opened, the Americorps NCCC Atlantic Region Campus will train members from Maine to Maryland.
    For more information, visit the Web at www.americorps.gov/nccc or at www.facebook.com/NCCCAtlanticRegion.