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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: July 12, 2013


NEW CASTLE (July 12, 2013) - The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is pleased to announce the launch of the Pilot Delaware Leadership In Service Program (DLISP). Initiated by the Division of State Service Centers through its State Office of Volunteerism and modeled on the national AmeriCorps Service-Learning program, DLISP is providing 30 youth in Southbridge with summer employment instilled with the AmeriCorps ethos of community service.

The program, for young people between age 14 and 18, consists of employment at various sites (24 hours per week), plus service and educational workshops (6 hours per week) for an eight-week cycle. In addition, adult members of the families will receive training in financial literacy and, where necessary, case management.

"Service-Learning integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and build community leadership and connections," said Erastus Mong'are, Senior Social Services Administrator. "In-Service Mentors, who are current AmeriCorps members, work with youth to determine meaningful community service projects, and support the recruitment of additional adult volunteers."

The Delaware Leadership In Service Program is funded by two federal programs and implemented through a collaborative partnership with four nonprofits.

"The comprehensive nature of this program is possible due to the collaborative relationships formed across DHSS' Division of State Service Centers, and extending out to the nonprofit community," said Robert Broesler, Senior Social Services Administrator. "By looking for connections while retaining the integrity of each funding source, the partners have developed an initiative that engages the entire family in service learning, financial empowerment, job readiness and energy conservation."

A $50,000 Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) is underwriting 18 of the youth positions. These youth will serve in a variety of entry-level employment and internships at government agencies, hospitals, summer camps, non-profits, small business and other retail organizations.

"Linking of youth employment to Service-Learning not only helps young people develop the workforce skills needed to acquire and maintain good jobs, but also helps them navigate and lead in their journey towards long-term economic security and positive community change," said Faith Mwaura, Social Services Administrator. "Meaningful engagement in service provides the critical empowerment needed to lead communities and solve problems at a local level that eventually result in stronger and safer neighborhoods."

A $77,000 grant through Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Assurance 16 funds is helping to employ another 12 young people from Southbridge. Our Youth Inc. is employing, training, supervising and deploying four teams of three teens supervised by licensed and bonded adults. Each team is directing the installation of low-cost energy conservation materials in households in and around Southbridge. This marries the energy education and conservation imperative of Assurance 16 with the community service focus of Community Services Block Grant and AmeriCorps.

The engagement of the entire family in this process is being led by Neighborhood House Inc., a nonprofit organization headquartered in the Southbridge area. To facilitate access to community and governmental services and benefits, Neighborhood House will provide case management via the Promoting Safe & Stable Families (PSSF) program. The Delaware Financial Empowerment - $tand By Me Program, a joint venture of the State of Delaware and the United Way of Delaware, will provide workshops through West End Neighborhood House on financial empowerment with a focus on budgeting, credit, debt and savings. Participation in case management and financial empowerment will be encouraged through direct incentives provided to the families as credits towards energy bills.

All 30 teens also are participating in the Junior Achievement Capstone Program. The students will first receive four hours of JA classroom education at the Neighborhood House location, and will participate in a 4- to 6-hour interactive learning event at the Junior Achievement headquarters in Wilmington.

Delaware Leadership In Service Program is being approached as a pilot project. Applied Public Policy Research Institute for Study and Evaluation (APPRISE) will provide technical assistance and evaluation/research. APPRISE is a nonprofit research institute dedicated to collecting and analyzing data and information to provide program administrators and stakeholders with a comprehensive understanding of program design, operations and impact. This data-driven evaluation will assess the effectiveness of DLISP and guide future planning by DHSS.

"The Division of State Service Centers offers a myriad of programs to assist families in need, support communities and promote volunteer and service opportunities," said Cynthia Manlove, Deputy Director of the Division of State Service Centers. "Programs such as the Delaware Leadership In Service Program, AmeriCorps, Foster Grandparents, and Adopt A Family, to name a few, provide opportunities for residents to give back and support their communities. The result is an increased sense of pride in and belonging to a stronger community. At the end of the day, we all benefit and our program participants have positive experiences that will stay with them throughout their lives."

For more information about the Delaware Leadership in Service Program please contact, Guadalupe Murphy at 302-255-9896

For more information about AmeriCorps in Delaware please visit

For more information about LIHEAP, CSBG funding or other Division of State Service Center Programs please visit For more information about the Neighborhood House please visit

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.