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A STAR! in Western Maryland Still Strong in the Community
10/24/2001

A STAR! in Western Maryland is recognizing its seventh year of service and dedication to the local area. Since 1994, 122,772 community members have benefited from the dedication of 215 members who have graduated from the program.

Program Director Lori Wilson describes A STAR! as a "a rural decentralized AmeriCorps program."

The staff of approximately 40 members devotes their time and services to nearly 20 agencies throughout three counties in Western Maryland. Members have the chance to enrich the lives of others through improving literacy, bettering the living conditions of the elderly and working with the environment, among other areas.

Working with A STAR! is a full-time position for members of the program. Those members, faced with the rewarding challenge of helping others, are discouraged from taking on other jobs or attending school full-time. The mandated 1,700 hours performed by members over the course of a year is compensated with a stipend of $9,300.

"Our members range in age from 19 to 50 and come from many different educational backgrounds," stated Wilson. Though it takes mature dedication to meet the high expectations set by A STAR!, members are only required to be 18.

Three A STAR! members dedicate their time by tutoring at the Department of Juvenile Justice Youth Centers. Members offer tutorial services ranging from art to computer technology with youth 14 to 18 years old.

"A STAR! has been doing a fantastic job for us," stated Heiko Pein, site supervisor for the Department of Juvenile Justice Youth Centers. "There are many things we wouldn't have been able to do without their support."

According to Wilson, A STAR! members make a difference in the community on an individual basis illustrating that one person can truly make an impact. Yet the community is not the only one benefiting from A STAR!. Members walk away gaining rewards that cannot be found with most jobs. "I love being able to see the members develop," said Wilson. "Sometimes they start out shy and are reserved but by the end of the year they have developed professionally."

Aside from the satisfaction of participating in a community outreach program, A STAR! members receive an education award at the completion of one full year of service. Each receives $4,725 to be used for furthering their education or towards paying off student loans.

The A STAR! program shares the Braddock House on Frostburg State University's campus with the other National Service Programs. The program enjoys the chance to integrate with the campus. "We enjoy giving back to the University in appreciation to the support it gives to A STAR!," said program coordinator, Sean King.

For more information on the A STAR! in Western Maryland program or to become an active member in the program call (301) 687-7599 or visit www.americorps.org or www.frostburg.edu.

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589
E-mail: news@frostburg.edu