This week marks the fifth annual AmeriCorps Week, an opportunity to bring awareness to the great service of AmeriCorps members across the country. More than 1,200 AmeriCorps members will impact Michigan and its communities this year alone through 370 nonprofits, including Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA).
To celebrate the 2011 AmeriCorps Week, which Governor Rick Snyder has declared the week of May 14 through May 21 in Michigan, AmeriCorps members are celebrating in a variety of ways in communities across the state. In Jackson, MPCA AmeriCorps members are partnering with Partnership Park to organize volunteers in preparing community garden plots for planting. On Friday, May 17, MPCA AmeriCorps members are hosting a booth at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo to inform potential volunteers about AmeriCorps and promote volunteerism in the community.
The MPCA AmeriCorps Program is in its seventh program year. It has placed 32 AmeriCorps Program members with Community Health Centers and other partners in 13 locations across the state this year, where they are serving a one-year term as patient navigators or community navigators to improve the health of Michigan residents.
Patient navigators support and mentor individuals struggling with chronic health conditions, support the development of the Patient-Centered Medical Home, and help in the development and integration of a skilled volunteer base to strengthen the support offered to patients. Community navigators seek to address health disparities prevalent in the community through health education and outreach efforts, support the development of new collaborative partnerships to address community health, and also help in the development and integration of a skilled volunteer base to strengthen the promotion of community health.