Allegany College of Maryland, Frostburg State University and Garrett College are joining forces to launch a volunteer center that will serve and support community needs in Allegany and Garrett counties.
The initiative, made possible through a Maryland Volunteer Generation Fund grant, enables the three higher education institutions to partner with local agencies, both nonprofit and governmental, and help them address community needs through volunteerism.
Its goal is to recruit and manage volunteers using internet-accessible computer software that connects with participants across a broad and largely rural geographical area.
Supported through a $20,454 grant from the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism, the collaboration links with community groups to strengthen their efforts, develop long-term strategies and seek funds to increase their effectiveness.
“By amplifying the impact of volunteers in addressing critical community needs, you demonstrate that, together, we all can improve the quality of life in our cities and towns,” said Gov. Larry Hogan in announcing the grant.
“Our local governments depend on community-based programs like yours to help bridge gaps and, in some cases, supply services that otherwise might not be provided,” he said.
ACM, which sought out the governor’s grant on behalf of the other institutions, will house a part-time director of the two-county volunteer center.
Jamie Williams, who began in that capacity this month, comes from West Chester University, where she was assistant director of service learning and volunteer programs. She also is enrolled in the university’s doctoral program in public administration.
Williams also served as alumni liaison with the AmeriCorps A STAR! program within Frostburg State University’s Office of Civic Engagement and as FSU’s AmeriCorps academic enrichment and volunteer coordinator. She completed a Master of Education degree in counseling there in 2012.
“Allegany College of Maryland is pleased to partner with Frostburg State University and Garrett College to provide this resource to support our community,” said ACM president Cynthia Bambara. “A goal of ACM is to enhance lives and the community through education and service, and this project will help to address this goal.”
“Frostburg State University is committed to being a regional partner in promoting community involvement and volunteerism, and we look forward to collaborating with Allegany College of Maryland and Garrett College in this effort,” said Ron Nowaczyk, FSU president. “By improving the way our region can tap into a rich volunteer resource, everyone can benefit.”
Funding allows purchase of the professional-grade software that supports the activities of the center. The Web-based program will help manage the roster of volunteers and coordinate and record their efforts.
To further the new volunteer center, the college secured $28,520 in grants from Volunteer Maryland and the Rural Council of Maryland. The funds have allowed ACM to hire a full-time member of AmeriCorps, the federally supported program that promotes community outreach and service.
Administrative support will be provided by faculty member Diane McMahon, who coordinates the college’s Service Learning and Civic Engagement unit.
“This provides the opportunity to grow the volunteer efforts that our institutions have underway — encouraging students to take part, with