Don’t let AmeriCorps be defunded

To the editor:

Oberlin has a certain reputation because of the college, but we know it’s also a town where people just happen to live. People raise families here, and it’s also a town where a lot of people are struggling. For many, paying for college is a daunting challenge. We know this. We live here. These are our kids, our friends’ and neighbors’ kids.

Several years ago, the school district, in collaboration with the Ninde Scholars Program, hired an AmeriCorps member to work at Oberlin High School. AmeriCorps places recent college grads to work one to two years in community programs all over America. Our ServeOhio AmeriCorps college guide assists the seniors with college and scholarship applications. Every year, this member helps local students leverage over $1 million in private and institutional awards. Last year, our AmeriCorps member helped Oberlin seniors complete nearly 350 scholarship applications, compared to just 80 the year before adding AmeriCorps. Many are now able to afford colleges that otherwise would have been financially out of reach. The cost to taxpayers? A tiny fraction of a penny for each federal tax dollar. For a few pennies a year, our kids have more choices about their futures.

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget eliminates funding for AmeriCorps. Oberlin schools do not have the resources to maintain that kind of support. Eliminating programs like AmeriCorps will have a direct negative impact on our community and will not even lower our taxes.

We cannot let President Trump forget about the families of Oberlin. Rep. Jim Jordan and Sen. Rob Portman need to understand that those pennies are a worthwhile investment in those children’s futures.

Maureen Simen