Travel, service led Orr to Americorps

By AMY WHITFIELD State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Many high school and college graduates may find they're not ready for a 9 to 5 job in the "real world" and choose to return to school.

But continuing education can come in various packages, as one Frankfort native discovered.

After graduating in 2002 from Hanover College in Indiana, Jean Orr, 24, said she wasn't ready for the "hum-drum" of everyday life and combined her love of travel with a desire to serve others.

Orr began leadership training in Denver in early January for 11 months of service with the AmeriCorps program called National Civilian Community Corps. It's a 10-month, full-time residential program for men and women between 18 and 24.

"This was a really good fit for me," Orr said in a phone interview from her Denver base. "I really wanted to get into nonprofit service. Service is extremely important to me, and there is a great need for it here in the U.S."

According to a NCCC press release, "AmericaCorps NCCC is a residential national service program created to improve the environment, enhance education, increase public safety, address unmet human needs and assist with disaster relief."

Created in 1993, AmeriCorps is part of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Since 1994, more than 250,000 men and women have served in AmeriCorps, providing assistance to millions of Americans, according to the organization's Web site.

While helping others, Orr and fellow team members earn money for college. After successfully completing at least 1,700 hours of service during the 10-month program, team members receive an education award of $4,725 to help pay for college tuition or to pay off student loans.

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.

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