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 Join Hands on MLK Day of Service

by Amanda Hoffman

Target volunteers build benches for a peace garden at MLK Elementary School

Target volunteers build benches for a peace garden at MLK Elementary School

On Saturday, January 19th, over 350 slightly soggy volunteers came out to Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School to brave the rain and celebrate MLK Day by giving back to their community.

Upon arriving at nine o’clock, volunteers were greeted with hot coffee and baked goods in the school’s auditorium, where a presentation was given about Dr. King’s message of service and the mission of HandsOn Broward, a message which can be summed up in the words of Dr. King: “everybody can be great because anybody can serve.”

The great revolutionary’s words rang true on Saturday, as the MLK Day events at Martin Luther King, Jr. truly proved that anybody, no matter what age, can serve. Rooms around the campus were designated for various service opportunities including coloring and packing boxes of meals for the homeless, donating blood, building a butterfly garden and making peace bracelets. No special skills were required; no specific prerequisites were necessary; volunteers only needed to share a desire to give back to their community.

The rain didn't stop more than 350 volunteers from participating in the event.

The rain didnt stop more than 350 volunteers from participating in the event

Volunteers from all walks of life took part in volunteering on Saturday. Dressed in a rain poncho and shoveling away for the new butterfly garden, Christina Escobar from the Young Professionals Group of First Baptist Church decided to come out so that she could “bless the community and hopefully be an example.”

Although it was Escobar’s first time volunteering with HandsOn Broward, she has volunteered with handicapped children in the past. Resting on her shovel, Escobar shared her advice for new volunteers: “Learn to serve others and don’t expect anything in return.”

Another volunteer, Ebony Orr, volunteers for a living as part of her job with a community organization. Her favorite part of the day was packing meal boxes for the homeless.

Orr wasn’t just volunteering for her health, though: she truly believes that it is our duty as human beings to help one another.  “We’re all connected and we have a responsibility to support each other.”

l to r-Frank Brown, Nelson Burke, Joy Lainez, Dale Hirsch

Percival Sams, a  five-year volunteer who prefers working with ecology volunteer projects, signed up for volunteering on MLK Day because he believes, “you have to give something back to your community.”

Other volunteers in attendance included the principal of Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School and several teachers at the elementary school, including history teacher, Juliet Williams.

“I saw quite a few teachers and staff members here today, but far more community members,” says Williams. “It is so important that we give back to the community; that we give encouragement to those who need it.”

Williams personally finds herself drawn to volunteering because, “we need to take the time out and help others. Also, by volunteering, I can be a role model.”

l to r – Youth leaders Christian Charles, Brooke Whitaker, Marlon Dunn, Kristyn Parsons, Karli Williams, Sherley Guerrier, Lorenzo Lamo

MLK Day this year fell on the same day as the second inauguration of Barack Obama, the first African American president of the United States. As President Obama is sworn in, one cannot help but think this is the kind of progress that Dr. King worked tirelessly to bring about. This is the change he spoke of. His dream has now become a reality, and by serving our community on MLK Day every year, we are preserving his vision.

As HandsOn Broward reviews the work we’ve achieved in 2012, including helping over 12,000 volunteers find places in their community and supporting over 129 non-profit organizations, we really do owe all our progress to our tireless volunteers. While some may have taken one look at the rain outside on Saturday and rolled over, you saw the rain as a challenge and showed up anyway. While some may view the problems in their community as insurmountable obstacles, you see them as mere hurdles and work diligently to fix them. We owe it all to you.