COMCorps, an AmeriCorps program through Ohio University has the goal to increase the quality of life in Athens County through AmeriCorps members creating and supporting social and physical environments that promote good health and wellness for all. COMCorps partners with host-site organizations which include schools, nonprofits, healthcare systems and county-level government agencies.
Through service, members and organizations will address social determinants of health with a trauma-informed approach directing members in creative, community-generated solutions to pressing local needs. The COMCorps program uses both Trauma-Informed Care concepts and the Social Determinants of Health framework to train members on “why” and “how” their program activities are relevant, important, and necessary for intervention. The members are taught to view the community they serve through a trauma-informed lens, reminding them that we often do not know another person’s experience or past trauma and should treat all with empathy and understanding. The Social Determinants of Health training is meant to show members that there are many factors that play a role in a person’s (and a community's) health status. Teaching members about the Social Determinants of Health is intended to show members why the Athens community faces poverty, food insecurity, obesity, and other health issues, and how the program intends to mitigate those health issues.
Members will create and support social and physical environments that promote good health through activities that address the social determinants of health by providing life-enhancing resources: healthy food supply, gardening, social connectivity, transportation, and knowledge of healthy habits. Members will promote a sense of community (social networks, social support, social participation, and/or community leadership) and increase access to programs that address poverty, childhood development, food insecurity, social exclusion, addiction, food, transportation, and health services. In every interaction, members will embody and model safe, secure, stable relationships for children and adults.
COMCorps is where members turn passion into purpose. COMCorps strives for every member to have a transformative experience while serving. Anticipated member outcomes include a wider perspective on societal issues, an understanding of individuals who have had a life different than their own, a better understanding of self and unique skills brought to a variety of roles, greater confidence, an understanding of trauma-informed approaches to community care, and community collaboration.
"COMCorps really helped me find my confidence and leadership skills. I truly cannot see myself doing all that I am doing now if not for COMCorps."
~April Alexander, COMCorps Member 2018-2020
AmeriCorps is a network of local, state and national service programs that put into service more than 70,000 Americans each year in an effort to address critical needs in education, public safety, health and the environment. AmeriCorps is often referred to as a “domestic Peace Corps.” AmeriCorps members serve with more than 3,000 nonprofit organizations, public agencies and faith-based and community organizations across the nation.