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Bloomfield College Alumnus Joins the AmeriCorps Literacy Coalition

Bloomfield College Americorps

By Alicia Cook

Bloomfield College Alumnus Earvin Casciano ’17 will be participating in an 11-month literacy project in Palm Beach, Florida, through AmeriCorps.

AmeriCorps is a civil society program supported by the U.S. federal government, foundations, corporations, and other donors engaging adults in public service work with a goal of "helping others and meeting critical needs in the community."

Casciano, a 2011 graduate of Pemberton Township High School, has a long-standing commitment to community service. He began his commitment to service at 8-years-old as an altar boy at his local church. He volunteered for the Red Cross, then moved on to bigger mission work including Operation Purple Camp, a camp that offers military kids a free week of camp where they connect with other kids from military families. Casciano also volunteered his time for Spark the Wave, an organization that gives middle school and high school students the opportunity to grow as leaders in their communities. In 2014, he spent a week in Costa Rica doing missionary work.

“I suffered from heart failure twice as a child, so I had to fight for my life,” said Casciano, who graduated this past May with a degree in English. “I believe strongly in faith, so I have this pull to make the world a better place in any way I can and I want to experience things many people do not.”

Casciano also has a passion for the theatre, and has been performing since he was a child, first in community theatre and later as a professional actor at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia. This past spring, he performed in Bloomfield College’s first theatrical production, This Is! We Are!: Acts of Resistance.

During his senior year at Bloomfield College, Casciano applied for the Peace Corps and was accepted as first alternate. It was then that he set his sights on the AmeriCorps, as the program is often seen as a domestic Peace Corps.

According to the AmeriCorps website, members commit to full-time or part-time positions offered by a network of nonprofit community organizations and public agency, to fulfill assignments in the fields of education, public safety, health care, and environmental protection. It employs more than 75,000 Americans in intensive service each year.

It was created under President Bill Clinton by the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993, incorporating VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) and the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC). A third division, AmeriCorps State and National, provides grants to hundreds of local community organizations throughout the United States.

“I would encourage everyone to give back to this world in any way they can,” said Casciano. “Not only do you do good work you’ll remember forever, you meet people from all over the world – you have no idea where those connections will lead. It’s a great way to network. If you’re not sure what you want to do professionally, go on a missionary trip – you can discover what you are meant to do with your life.”

Casciano will be a member of the Literacy AmeriCorps. The Literacy Coalition is a not for profit organization committed to ensuring that every resident of Palm Beach County, Florida is able to read.

“Earvin has a deep commitment to help people, to make the world a better place,” said Dr. Paul Puccio, Professor of English, Coordinator of the English program, and Academic Advisor to Casciano. “His work with AmeriCorps will give him a chance to enter a community and to make a difference there. Given his own love of literature, his work as a member of the Literacy AmeriCorps will give him the chance to give to others what he found in his work as an English major.”

Casciano will begin on a team providing mentoring, tutoring, and other literacy services to adults and children. These responsibilities can grow and change as the year progresses. He leaves August 1, 2017.