Housed in the Office of the Lt. Governor, Serve Colorado empowers community-based organizations to meet locally identified needs and statewide challenges through service and volunteerism. Guided by the Governor's Commission for Community Service, Serve Colorado administers AmeriCorps Colorado, Volunteer Generation Fund, Days of Service to promote Volunteerism, the Governor’s Service Awards, and early literacy initiatives. Serve Colorado’s work is guided by the State Service Plan.
AmeriCorps is a federal agency created to connect all Americans with an opportunity to serve their communities and country. AmeriCorps does this in partnership with state service commissions, like Serve Colorado. AmeriCorps provides funds to local and national organizations and agencies committed to using national service and AmeriCorps to address critical community needs in 6 main focus areas: disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, veterans and military families.
AmeriCorps programs provide thousands of Americans of all ages and backgrounds with intensive full- and part-time opportunities to serve communities and help organizations address local needs. AmeriCorps Colorado participants (called members) dedicate their time to service for a small living allowance and an educational award upon successful completion of their service. Members serve with nonprofits, public agencies, and faith-based and community organizations to help them tackle social challenges in Colorado. During their time in service, members gain valuable job skills, professional development, and personal growth.
Since 1994, more than 35,000 Colorado residents have served approximately 34 million hours and have earned education awards totaling $87,000,000. The 2019-2020 AmeriCorps Colorado portfolio matches a $5,847,407 federal AmeriCorps investment with $5,261,819 in public and private funds.
Volunteer Generation Fund
The Volunteer Generation Fund supports boosting the impact of volunteers in addressing critical community needs through volunteer management practices that increase both volunteer recruitment and retention. The 2020-2021 Volunteer Generation Fund matches a $128,882 federal investment with $84,632 in public and private funds.
- Spark the Change Colorado
The Volunteer Generation Fund supports Spark the Change Colorado in offering their services in expanding volunteer services in Colorado. Their approach:
- Expands mental health services to low-income individuals, including children and seniors, by engaging pro-bono volunteers in the Front Range communities.
- Offers training for organizations to become Service Enterprises. A Service Enterprise is an organization that uses volunteers and their skills across all levels of the organization to successfully deliver its mission.
- Provides an online connection tool to organizations in southern and rural Colorado, so that they can expand their capacity to recruit and train volunteers.
The grant is expanding existing pro-bono mental health counseling programs in Pueblo county by having licensed mental health professionals provide free mental health services to low-income and poverty-level individuals and families. Additional counselors for the professional volunteer network are being recruited, as the program expands to additional sites across the county, especially in middle schools
To learn more, visit www.sparkthechangecolorado.org/mental_health or https://www.sparkthechangecolorado.org/Service-Enterprise. Additionally, you can contact Kristy Judd at KJudd@sparkthechangecolorado.org.
Days of Service
Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service
Each year, on the third Monday in January, MLK Day of Service is observed as a "day on, not a day off". MLK Day of Service is intended to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, and create solutions to social problems. Click here to learn more.
Volunteer activities may include:
- Volunteering with organizations who provide services and resources to economically disadvantaged individuals.
- Coordinate a back-to-school supply or book drive for students.
- Participate in the Point-in-Time (PIT) count for homeless individuals in your community.
- Participate in sorting donated goods at donation center or local food pantry.
- Coordinate a community beautification and improve project (i.e., building benches or cleaning up a local park).
Cesar Chavez Day
Cesar Chavez Day of Service
Honoring the life and legacy of civil rights leader Cesar Chavez, we celebrate his birthday, March 31, with a day of day of service.
Volunteer activities may include:
- Participate at a local food bank, soup kitchen, or community garden.
- Coordinate a local art project commemorating his life and legacy.
- Coordinate or participate in a local Earth Day initiative (i.e., tree planting, community green space cleanup).
- Assemble hygiene kits for homeless or disenfranchised individuals.
9/11 Day of Service
September 11th Day of Service and Remembrance
"Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11" - President Barack Obama
This day of service promotes community service on 9/11 as an annual and forward-looking tribute to those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, or who rose in service as a result of that tragedy. Click here to learn more information.
Volunteer activities may include:
- Find a way to honor those killed during the terrorist attacks.
- Find a way to thank your local first responders (police officers, firefighters, and EMTs).
- Find a way to support a local veterans organization.
Governor's Service Awards
The Governor's Service Awards are presented annually in recognition and appreciation to individuals and community leaders for their outstanding contributions to volunteerism and service throughout Colorado. Those recognized by these awards have gone above and beyond to make our state a better place to live.
The 2020 Governor's Service Awards have been postponed. Check back for updates on the 2021 Governor's Service Awards.
One Book Colorado
One Book Colorado is a pre-school version of a community book club. The public selects a pre-school book through an online voting process and a special edition of the book is printed for 75,000 four-year-olds across the state. Special readings, events, and author visits are held in conjunction with the mass giveaway in April. Visit www.onebookcolorado.org for updates.
This year's book is The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier. There are hundreds of pickup locations all over Colorado. Click here to find the closest location to you.