HandsOn Broward Selected to Host AmeriCorps Members as Part of Financial Opportunity Corps in Broward

Innovative program with Points of Light, Bank of America and AmeriCorps VISTA
will train “financial coaches” to help area families improve financial health

[LAUDERHILL, June 11, 2013] — HandsOn Broward has been selected as one of 10 sites across the country to host an innovative financial coaching program developed by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, in partnership with Bank of America, one of the world’s largest financial institutions.

The Financial Opportunity Corps will utilize trained AmeriCorps VISTA members to work Americorps VISTA logowith organizations like the Children’s Services Council of Broward County and the Broward VITA Collaborative to provide financial coaching to low- and moderate-income families in the communities they serve. Financial Opportunity Corps members will train community-based volunteers – including employees at local Bank of America branches – to be “financial coaches.” Through one-on-one or small group coaching sessions, Financial Opportunity Corps volunteers will help community members develop strategies to reduce debt, improve credit, start saving for emergencies, access benefits and build assets for long-term financial health.

“The power and potential of the Financial Opportunity Corps stems from our community-driven approach and volunteer-led outreach,” said Delores Morton, President of Programs at Points of Light. “Organizations like HandsOn Broward know the needs of their communities better than anyone, and the Financial Opportunity Corps will provide them with the financial training and volunteer resources to help meet those needs.”

“Financial wellness is core to our company’s purpose,” said Kerry Sullivan, President, Bank of America Charitable Foundation. “Through this partnership with Points of Light, we are supporting financial education efforts that can be scaled and sustained at the local level, leveraging the service of AmeriCorps VISTA members and our own employees to create positive change. That means customized solutions that put low and moderate income people – and their communities – on the pathway to long-term economic success.”

“At HandsOn Broward, prosperity is the core of our mission,” said Kathy Wint, Director of Economic Development at HandsOn Broward.  “”This opportunity will not only enhance our financial education and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs, but it will help sustain them at a time when our community needs it most.

HandsOn Broward’s Financial Opportunity Corps members will begin their term in August.  To learn more about HandsOn Broward’s AmeriCorps and internship opportunities, visit http://www.HandsOnBroward.org

About Points of Light: Points of Light – the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service – mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world. Through affiliates in 250 cities and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages 4 million volunteers in 30 million hours of service each year. We put people at the center of change. For more information, go to www.pointsoflight.org.

About Bank of America: Bank of America is one of the world’s largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small- and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. We serve approximately 52 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 5,400 retail banking offices and approximately 16,300 ATMs and award-winning online banking with 30 million active users. Bank of America is among the world’s leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in more than 40 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

About AmeriCorps VISTA: AmeriCorps VISTA is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. With passion, commitment, and hard work, AmeriCorps VISTA members create or expand programs designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.



Volunteers Brought Food, Community Spirit to the Table on April 13th

By Amanda Hoffman


HandsOn Broward’s Youth Leaders raise awareness about child hunger during “What Will You Bring to the Table?”

On Saturday, April 13th, volunteers of all ages came out to the First Baptist Church and Christian Education Center in Pompano Beach to participate in HandsOn Broward’s contribution to the “What Will You Bring to the Table?” project.

What Will You Bring to the Table? is an initiative through generationOn to mobilize youth to address child hunger in the U.S. by gathering around tables to create service projects that raise awareness and bring collective action to this critical issue. The project’s goal is to reach out to individuals and volunteer organizations across the United States to raise one million meals in six weeks. It’s a lofty goal, but if the work done on Saturday is any indication of what’s happening across America, raising one million meals seems very possible.

Sydney Howard and Patty Howard sort donations for the church's food pantry.

Sydney Howard and Patty Howard sort donations for the church’s food pantry.

On Saturday, volunteers were given the option to participate in several projects around the Church. Near the preschool, some volunteers planted a community garden, which featured plants such as celery, kale and arugula. The garden will give the preschoolers a chance to learn about gardening and harvesting, as well as have access to healthy snacks.

At the Church’s onsite food pantry, other volunteers helped plant shrubs and bushes to enhance the courtyard where 100+ adults and children experiencing homelessness receive a meal every Saturday. Jared Goodman, 15, who came out as part of the Youth Leadership Academy—a HandsOn Broward program that gives teenagers a chance to lean about leadership and volunteering—took a break from digging holes. “We’re planting some cocoplum bushes around the fence. We chose these because they give a lot of privacy and they produce an edible fruit.”

After working with the Youth Leadership Academy, Jared chooses to volunteer because,

Volunteers build a picnic table for the pantry at First Baptist Church in Pompano.

Volunteers build a picnic table for the pantry at First Baptist Church in Pompano.

“there are less fortunate families out there, and there are people who don’t have the luxuries we have and it just feels good to give back once in a while.”

Lourdes Lopez, 14, found that her favorite part of the day was gardening. “I don’t really get to do it much and I really like it,” she said, leaning on her rake.

Inside, more volunteers packed and decorated food boxes which will go into the church’s food pantry. Without looking up from the meal box he was coloring, Graham Guay, 10, said that his favorite part of the day was, “everything!” Over 300 food boxes were packed and left at the onsite Food Pantry.

Fort Lauderdale Commissioner and President of the Broward League of Cities (center) volunteered with HandsOn Broward CEO Dale Hirsch (left), and Broward League of Cities' Sely Cochrane (right).

Fort Lauderdale Commissioner and President of the Broward League of Cities, Bobby DuBose (center), volunteered with HandsOn Broward CEO Dale Hirsch (left), and Broward League of Cities’ Sely Cochrane (right).

Other volunteers decided to build a picnic table for the preschool. The significance of the picnic table is that it symbolizes the message of “What Will You Bring to the Table?” and serves to represent the goal of combating child hunger.

Pausing between hisses of duct tape as she packed her food box, Abbey Tomaszewski, 15, said, “Volunteering is important because I get to make a difference.”

So far, the “What Will You Bring to the Table?” project has raised 334,861 meals. Volunteers can submit photos of their own projects to combat hunger online at whatwillyoubringtothetable.org.