AmeriCorps Program Might be Cut
With the federal budget in big trouble, organizations that depend on it could also be in trouble.

By Ashley Reynolds
KY3

04/01/2011


With the federal budget in big trouble, organizations that depend on it could also be in trouble.

The AmeriCorp program, which works thru the American Red Cross, is one of them.

If lawmakers don't agree on a national budget in the next week and the government shuts down... the program will likely be gone temporarily.

And even *if* lawmakers do decide on a budget, big cuts could be on the way to save money.

Right now things are at a stand still.

Red Cross mangers say they will just have to wait and see what happens... but in the meantime it's a 17 million dollar program that volunteers say is priceless because it saves lives.

Jeremy Osgood is in the AmeriCorps program. He teaches a CPR class. He knows the importance of his job. "We are spreading knowledge that can help save lives...and especially in times of disaster...it can help people be more prepared for what maybe around the corner," said Osgood.

Osgood along with nearly a dozen other AmeriCorp members spend their time educating people in the Ozarks about life saving skills.

They also teach fire safety, disaster preparedness, and make sure Red Cross volunteers are trained to help displaced people.
In just 8 months, the team in the Ozarks has trained more than 10 thousand people to deal with life and death situations.

"Every class we teach and every person we are able to teach is a potential life saved," said Debi Meeds, with the Red Cross.

But this program might be on the chopping block.

We are seeing results. We are seeing great things happening... And if it were to go away it would be sad to see everything we have built...all the amazing benefits...just disappear overnight," said Luke Bolz, AmeriCorps Program Director.

Osgood knows that his position might be eliminated soon, but he is taking it one step at a time.

"I'm more focused on what is going on here in Springfield and what I'm able to do day to day for people," said Osgood.

Workers still have school presentations and CPR class scheduled throughout the spring... but if the program is cut those events could be canceled.

Workers say they will just have re-elevate the situation because they want to try and educate as many people as they can no matter the situation.


areynolds@ky3.com