NEW PALTZ — Seventy students attending the State University of New York at New Paltz will be sworn into the AmeriCorps program on February 6, from 1 – 3 p.m. at the College’s Student Union. It is the first time New Paltz students have participated in the federal program.

“The goal of the program is to strengthen the New Paltz community,” said Michelle Rosenbaum, the AmeriCorps placement coordinator at SUNY New Paltz. “Here in New Paltz, our students will provide tutoring, mentoring and youth enrichment activities to 400 culturally-diverse local youth.”

AmeriCorps is a national movement initiated by President Clinton in 1994. So far, this service-learning program has engaged more than 40,000 dedicated Americans in meeting the critical needs of communities in the areas of education, public safety, human needs, and the environment.

SUNY New Paltz students will provide 10 to 20 hours of community service a week during the next year at four local agencies: the New Paltz Youth Center, the Migrant Education Outreach Program, the High School Equivalency Program and the Children’s Center of New Paltz. After they complete their term of service, students will receive an Education Award Voucher to be used to pay back student loans.

“Students not only will be able to earn money to fund their education,” added Rosenbaum, “but they also will have the opportunity to gain valuable job skills to complement their academic experience.”

The New Paltz AmeriCorps project is funded by a grant written by the program’s co-directors, Tonda Highley, who is the associate dean of students and director of the Career Advising and Fieldwork Center, and Robin Cohen, assistant dean for Student Development.