Seventeen Preserve WV AmeriCorps members have been deployed across the state to provide direct services in the areas of historic preservation and heritage tourism. A statewide service initiative, the Preserve WV AmeriCorps program places service members at historic non-profit sites or local government agencies for a one-year period where they complete specific projects aimed at improving historic resources and managing volunteers for special events. The end goal of these projects is community revitalization, with a focus on long-term historic preservation and increased use of historic properties and museum collections. “AmeriCorps member projects have a heritage tourism and community development focus. The main purpose of these projects is to increase visitation at historic sites, encourage visitors to spend more money in our communities, and re-develop these properties for new uses. The projects meet the long-term mission of the alliance, which is to preserve the Mountain State’s cultural heritage for future generations,” explained Danielle LaPresta, the program director for Preserve WV AmeriCorps and executive director for the alliance.
The Preserve WV AmeriCorps program is truly a statewide program with an aim toward economic opportunity. Members are placed at sites that have a mission focused on re-using historic resources, whether they are in downtowns, rural communities, or in museums. For the 2016-2017 program year beginning on August 29, 2016, members started their service year at the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation, the Cockayne Farmstead, Historic Shepherdstown Commission, Main Street Morgantown, Main Street Ripley, the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, Craik-Patton House, Jackson’s Mill, Harrison County WV Historical Society, the Waldomore (Clarksburg – Harrison County Public Library), New River Gorge National River, the National Coal Heritage Area, the Eastern Regional Coal Archives, the Clio Project (based at Marshall University), West Virginia Association of Museums, the Old Hemlock Foundation, and the Doddridge County Historical Society. “We are thrilled to have so many enthusiastic individuals serving our state. AmeriCorps members are from West Virginia, as well as from states as far as Washington and New York. They are a dedicated bunch, and we are honored to have them be a part of our program. Many of our members go on to fill full-time positions in the state, and we hope to retain as many of these young people as we can for employment,” LaPresta said.
Members are still being recruited for several open positions at sites including Main Street Fairmont, Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission, Prickett’s Fort, Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, and the Matewan Mine Wars Museum. Additionally, the alliance is looking for one more site to host a full-time Preserve WV AmeriCorps member. If you are interested in serving or hosting a member, contact Danielle LaPresta at email@example.com to complete an application. To learn more about the program, visit http://pawv.org/americorps.htm.
Preserve WV AmeriCorps is a program administered by the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, the statewide non-profit organization dedicated to historic preservation. For more information or to learn how to host an AmeriCorps member at your site, visit www.pawv.org. This AmeriCorps program is funded in part by a grant from Volunteer WV, the State’s Commission for National and Community Service and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Volunteer WV encourages West Virginians of all ages and abilities to be involved in service to their community.