North Tahoe’s AmeriCorps adds two new host sites for 2015 | SierraSun.com

North Tahoe’s AmeriCorps adds two new host sites for 2015

Kelly Larson
Special to the Sun

AmeriCorps team members Ava Murphey, right, and Kaylie Arnold will serve at new host sites for the Parasol AmeriCorps Program this year.

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The Parasol AmeriCorps Program is excited to introduce two new host sites into the current service year — SOS Outreach and Girls on the Run-Sierras.

SOS Outreach, which helps unite adventure activities with character development curricula, is able to offer skiing and snowboarding at an affordable cost to youth facing adverse circumstances.

Girls on the Run-Sierras inspires third- through eighth-grade girls to be joyful, healthy and confident through their after-school running programs during both the spring and fall seasons.

This year, the North Lake SOS University Program has paired 50 youth with 16 mentors, called Sherpas. Youth in the SOS University program participate as a team in five days of skiing and snowboarding as well as engage in a number of service learning experiences to give back to their community in meaningful ways.

SOS Outreach incorporates six core values into their programming — courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom, compassion and humility— which are used to develop SOS youth into positive role models.

Additionally, SOS operates a Learn to Ride program in which youth participants train with professional instructors to learn how to ski and snowboard.

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Parasol AmeriCorps Member, Ava Murphey is serving as SOS Program Coordinator for North Lake Tahoe, where she works to maintain agreements with participating Tahoe Basin resorts, registers youth for SOS North Lake programs, and recruits and trains Sherpas.

This spring and summer, SOS will collaborate with Tahoe Family Solutions to coordinate service learning opportunities and adventure programs for at-risk youth during summer camp.

Girls on the Run-Sierras coaches volunteer for 10-12 weeks of running practices, wherein they focus on empowerment, building positive relationships, and healthy self-esteem with teams of GOTR-S participants.

The practices culminate into a celebratory 5K race held in Reno twice each year. GOTR-S saw 54 coaches serving 183 youth participants throughout Reno and Tahoe during the fall 2014 season.

Kaylie and Ava are in their second year with the AmeriCorps. Ava served previously with Project MANA, and Kaylie served with Tahoe's Connection for Families. SOS and Girls on the Run-Sierras operate local chapters of national nonprofits and are housed in the Donald W. Reynolds Community Non-Profit Center.

This is the 15th year of the award-winning Parasol AmeriCorps program, which has been recognized as one of the most innovative in the country and has received several national awards.

Funding for Parasol's AmeriCorps Program is provided by Nevada volunteers as well as the generosity of organizations like the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation.

Kelly Larson is program director for the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation AmeriCorps Program. Visit parasol.org to learn more.