AmeriCorps director thrilled about large staff, grant renewal

posted on August 22, 2012

On August 16, Margi Bettelyoun, director of AmeriCorps programs at Red Cloud Indian School, received an exciting letter from the South Dakota Commission for National and Community Service and the South Dakota Nonprofit Association.

The news contained therein was that Red Cloud’s AmeriCorps state application had been approved, and the school will receive the full amount of requested funds for the 2012 program year: $268,130.

A condition of Red Cloud’s relationship to AmeriCorps stipulates that Red Cloud will match the grant amount to reach the total needed funding to keep the program running. This year, Red Cloud’s contribution of $318,181 will in fact exceed 50% of the total. Thus, the school has nearly half a million of funds earmarked to the perpetuation of the program, which is integral to the school’s vitality.

The AmeriCorps program at Red Cloud is comprised of 24 members, 10 direct supervisors, three site supervisors, and one program director. Of the 24 members, 12 are recruited nationally through the Red Cloud Volunteer Program. These people are members of both programs. They serve in the AmeriCorps program as teachers, substitutes, coaches, after-school program prefects, and bus drivers.

These staff are referred to as residential members, because they live on campus. The remaining 12 are referred to as local members, since they are local Lakota people. They serve in the program as classroom aides, subs, assistant coaches, and after-school prefects.

Nationally, AmeriCorps members receive annual stipends of $12,100, and after each term (each may only serve two terms), the member is eligible for an education award of up to $5,500 to be used either against student loans or further education. One of the ways the AmeriCorps program at Red Cloud is unique is that the residential members receive room, board and health care in lieu of the stipend.

The AmeriCorps program also funds the Renaissance Place academic enrichment program, as well as mileage for our school buses.

Bettelyoun reports that she could not be more excited about this news, saying: “I am looking forward tremendously to working with these 24 young people who will be giving so much energy and guidance to our Red Cloud students. I am also excited about meeting and working with our new State Commission and Program Staff. Many thanks to the AmeriCorps program for continuing to believe in us and our mission.”