Nearly 1,000 young people gathered in Boston Friday morning for Americorps Opening Day, an event that kicks off a year of volunteer service in communities across the Commonwealth. The celebration was held at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury.
Volunteers listened to inspirational speeches from Americorps alumni, including Dr. Tommy Chang, superintendent of Boston Public Schools. After those speeches, volunteers took their own pledge of service.
Massachusetts Service Alliance CEO, Emily Haber says Americorps volunteers commit to doing a year of service in a wide range of areas, including work for environmental organizations, educational programs, and programs that assist immigrants and refugees.
"The members will be serving in organizations that will be addressing critical needs in our state," says Haber.
Massachusetts Service Alliance is a nonprofit organization founded in 1991, and it also serves as the state commission on service and volunteerism.
Haber says the Americorps program is extremely diverse, and in assigning volunteers, the group looks for ways to maximize its impact.
One brand new program, says Haber, addresses the opioid crisis. It's an organization called PAARI, Policed Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative, and volunteers serve as recovery coaches in police stations across the state.
To listen to the full interview with Emily Haber, click on the audio player above.
Correction: An earlier version of this piece incorrectly stated that Rahn Dorsey, chief of education and a City Year alum, and Chris Osgood, chief of streets, transportation and sanitation, and also a City Year alum spoke at the event. They are alumni of City Year but did not speak.