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L&C’s Blockton Wins National Award for Commitment to Service

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Article by: Sabrina Davis, Director Pathway Resource Development, sdavis@lc.edu.

GODFREY - Alexandra Blockton, a student of Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, Illinois, has been nationally recognized for her outstanding leadership through service. Blockton, 33, was selected from thousands of members across the country to receive one of four awards given out by YouthBuild USA and AmeriCorps for their annual Spirit of Service Awards.

The winners were announced at the virtual YouthBuild AmeriCorps Management Conference on August 11.

Blockton was selected to receive the 2021 Full-Time Member of the Year award for her commitment to community service. A single mom, she enrolled in Lewis and Clark Community College’s Adult Education program to earn her high school equivalency diploma and displayed immense academic growth, dedication to adult education and a true spirit of volunteerism.

Blockton has been a full-time AmeriCorps student ambassador for the past year. During COVID-19, she stepped up to support community members facing food insecurity by volunteering her time at local food pantries and contacting community organizations to advocate for those in need. She plans community service events and recently developed a community resource guide to share with displaced individuals in the region. She also participated in the Mockingbird Service Learning training offered by YouthBuild USA, which gave her the tools to implement her own service projects such as community clean-ups, “Brunch and Blessings” donation events and community gardening. And as a teacher’s assistant, Blockton works with other students in the classroom, helping them succeed and find their way forward. Through a variety of professional development and mentorship opportunities, including writing for the college paper and local news outlets, Alexandra is fully prepared to enter college and later, the workforce.

“Ms. Blockton has been with us the past year and has not only shown a deep dedication to our students, community and her work within our department but also a commitment to her own personal growth. We are incredibly proud to have her on our team and look forward to seeing what she does next!” Sabrina Davis, Director Pathway Resource Development

YouthBuild USA has been an AmeriCorps grantee since AmeriCorps’ inception in 1994. Since then, YouthBuild USA has enrolled more than 42,000 AmeriCorps members who have generated millions of direct service hours, including developing or repairing thousands of units of affordable housing for low-income individuals and families. Nearly 12,000 YouthBuild AmeriCorps members have earned their high school equivalency and a total of $35.5 million in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards.

Approximately 2,642 YouthBuild AmeriCorps members in 65 communities and 29 states build affordable housing and provide community healthcare, conservation efforts, recycling and sustainability, computer infrastructure, and child development services for individuals and families. Over the next year, YouthBuild AmeriCorps members will provide more than 1 million direct service hours and will build at least 350 units of affordable housing for low-income individuals and families. 

YouthBuild USA is the nonprofit support center for a global network of 290 local YouthBuild programs in 18 countries, with 233 programs in 46 U.S. states and territories and 57 programs in 17 other countries. With love and respect, YouthBuild partners with opportunity youth to build the skillsets and mindsets that lead to lifelong learning, livelihood and leadership. Responding to the urgent need for knowledge, training and opportunity, YouthBuild primarily serves young people who lack a high school diploma and financial resources.

“The contributions of our YouthBuild AmeriCorps members change neighborhoods across the country for the better,” said John Valverde, president and CEO of YouthBuild USA. “Through hard work and determination, they find their paths and become the leaders they were meant to be. YouthBuild is honored to partner with them in their journey, and we are immensely proud of Alexandra and her service to the community.”

About Building Futures YouthBuild

Lewis and Clark Community College’s Building Futures YouthBuild champions today’s opportunity youth, age 16-24, who aspire to improve their lives and communities but lack the knowledge, skills, and resources to reach their full potential. Through the college’s programming, these young people pursue their education, prepare for future careers, and grow into community leaders – building brighter futures for themselves, their families, and their neighborhoods.  L&C’s Building Futures YouthBuild is acomprehensive model of youth development that includes high school equivalency education, vocational training, case management and counseling, leadership development, a stipend so they can earn while they learn, and follow up services for a year after programming.  AmeriCorps is fully integrated into our programming which strengthens our efforts with youth while they serve their community.

About YouthBuild USA

With love and respect, YouthBuild partners with opportunity youth to build the skillsets and mindsets that lead to lifelong learning, livelihood, and leadership. At nearly 300 YouthBuild programs across the United States and around the world, students reclaim their education, gain job skills, and become leaders in their communities. To date, YouthBuild has partnered with more than 180,000 young people to dedicate over 50 million hours of service benefitting urban, rural, and tribal communities. YouthBuild strives to create a world where all young people are seen for their potential, and power to transform themselves and their communities. YouthBuild USA – the support center for the YouthBuild movement – strengthens YouthBuild programs through technical assistance, leadership development, innovative program enhancements, and advocacy. YouthBuild programs located outside of the United States are supported by YouthBuild USA’s international division, YouthBuild International.

For more information about the YouthBuild movement, YouthBuild USA, and YouthBuild International, visit YouthBuild.org.

About AmeriCorps

For the past year, thousands of AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors members across all 50 states and U.S. territories have continued their service, quickly adapting to meet the changing needs caused by the pandemic. Dedicated members have persisted to support communities as they respond and recover from the impact of COVID-19, developing new ways to deliver the same services to keep both themselves and those they serve safe.

The recently passed American Rescue Plan includes an additional $1 billion for AmeriCorps. The agency will use this investment to expand national service programs into new communities and increase the opportunity for all Americans to serve their country.

Every year, 75,000 AmeriCorps members serve through thousands of nonprofit, community, and faith-based organizations across the country. These citizens have played a critical role in the recovery of communities affected by disasters and helped thousands of first-generation college students access higher education. They also tutor and mentor young people, connect veterans to jobs, care for seniors, reduce crime and revive cities, fight the opioid epidemic, and meet other critical needs.

As the federal agency for volunteering and service, AmeriCorps brings people together to tackle the county’s most pressing challenges. Since the agency’s inception in 1994, nearly 1.2 million AmeriCorps members have served the nation.