Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I join?

Can you describe a member's typical day?

How do members find a host site?

What kind of training does KEYS provide?

Do members get vacation and sick leave?

Does KEYS provide housing?

Do members need to have a car?

Does KEYS pay for transportation?


Why should I join?

Members join AmeriCorps for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons is to make a difference for something they really believe in. A lot of times when people finish college, they start right into their career. As dedicated as they may be to this career, often times it's not the most fulfilling feeling. The opportunity to work directly with someone who needs the skills and guidance you can offer is rewarding and fulfilling.

Members also join to enhance their skills. College is great for teaching people the facts and figures but the real life applications can be a challenge. Also, most employers want to hire someone who has experience, but you can't get experience until someone hires you. With KEYS, you get that experience. You'll be placed directly with a group of youth who will challenge you to use the knowledge you have to develop the skills you need.

Can you describe a KEYS member's typical day?

KEYS members perform a variety of services in the course of their day. Any of our members would tell you there's no such thing as a "typical" day. Each member's duties vary according to their sites, the needs of their kids, and the member's talents and skills. Regardless of the daily schedule, members are encouraged to use their skills, talents and interests when working with the kids. Our sites are always looking for a fresh perspective. Whatever your interests and talents are, chances are we can find a way to help you develop that into a mentoring opportunity for our youth.

If you'd like to better understand what a KEYS member's day might look like, visit our member duties page.

How do members find a host site?

After interviewing with KEYS staff, members will be informed as to whether or not they have been accepted into the program. For full year members, they will then receive a list of potential host sites. Members are expected to contact any and all of the schools or organizations that they think could be a potential good fit for them, and then set up an interview with that site's supervisor. If, after the interview process, both the member and supervisor think the placement is a match, the member will be placed there.

The placement process for summer members is a bit different. After summer members are accepted into the program, they will participate in a Meet-and-Greet interview day where they will meet for a few minutes with every host site supervisor. This is a fast paced way for every member to learn more about each site, and it also gives each host site the opportunity to meet all of the members. Then, similar to the full year member process, the site and member must be a match before placement occurs.

What kind of training does KEYS provide?

When a member first starts with the program, we have a period of "Pre-Service Training" (PST). PST focuses on topics members need to know in order to have a successful year. These topics typically include "What is AmeriCorps?," "What is KEYS Service Corps?," documentation, mentoring, how to assist students with their homework and classwork, conflict resolution, how to handle situations that may occur during your term of service, as well as various teambuilding exercises.

Do members get vacation and sick leave?

At the beginning of training, members receive an "hours bank". This form maps out an estimate of how many hours are available each week of the program year. As the program year progresses, the member fills out the amount of hours they served each week and compares their cumulative total to the total they need to have to be on track. For example, full time members need to serve about 45 hours per week to reach their end of the year target goal of 1,700 hours. If they are serving more than that weekly amount, they will have extra hours to use for sick leave or vacation time. So if the member is ahead, they can request time off and still be on track. If they are behind, they need to serve extra hours to get back on track.

Does KEYS provide housing?

We do not provide housing, however every year we have people move here (either for the full year or summer) from other areas. Some stay with friends, some scout the area ahead of time and find a spot, some just show up and hope for the best. Often members from other areas end up finding places together. We will often send links to local roommate-hunting services and rental sites. Also, we share information between "out-of-towners" who are coming to join the program. The good news is that Pittsburgh is very much a college town. This means that tons of students move home over the summer, leaving many sublet opportunities.

There are many places you can look for housing opportunities. The following is a sample of some resources. While KEYS does not endorse any option more than another, many of our members have used Sometimes members will also use various KEYS groups on Facebook to meet other members in order to look for housing with other people. Other resources to try are the classifieds at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and the Pittsburgh Tribune Review or

Please note that KEYS does not help with relocation expenses.

Do members need to have a car?

It's not necessary to have your own vehicle. Pittsburgh has pretty decent public transportation. We don't determine where a member will live during the course of service, but since our service sites are spread out over the county, we offer advice as far as what neighborhoods are more centrally located. If a candidate has a car, then there's no problem. If a member is taking public transportation, some sites are less accessible than others, so the member should take this into consideration when finding a host site.

Does KEYS pay for transportation?

KEYS is unable to pay for transportation. Members should plan to budget $100 - $150 a month for unlimited public transit, depending on location. For more information about Pittsburgh's public transit, please visit Most sites will have parking available for members who have their own transportation.

How do I receive an education award?

The education award is received upon successful completion of the term of service. This means that the member served all the hours they agreed to serve (1700 for Full Time, 900 for Part Time, 450 for Quarter Time, 300 for Minimum Time) and also met the other requirements of their contract (tutoring, mentoring, community service, etc.). This award is not made in cash; the amount of the award is placed into the National Service Trust in the member's name and they have up to 7 years to use it. This award is above and beyond the living allowance. Learn more about the education award here.

Am I eligible to receive health insurance?

You are eligible if:

- You don't have other health insurance.

- You are a full time member during the full year program.

Does KEYS provide child care?

You may be eligible if:

- You are serving at a full time rate during the full year program.

- Your child is 12 years or younger.

- You are a custodial parent.

- You need child care in order to serve.

If you meet those four criteria, you will submit an application that will include information about family size and family income. That information will be used to determine how much, if any, of a subsidy you would be able to receive.

Summer Program

Member Application

KEYS Service Corps * Human Services Building * 1 Smithfield Street, 1st Floor * Pittsburgh, PA 15222 * 412.350.3344

The KEYS Service Corps AmeriCorps® Program is sponsored by PennSERVE, the Governor’s Office of Citizen Service, the
Allegheny County Department of Human Services
, Office of Community Services, and local schools and community based organizations.
KEYS Service Corps and the Corporation for National and Community Service programs are available to all without regard to race, color, national origin, disability, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, political affiliation, or other non-merit factors. Anyone believing he or she has been subjected to discrimination on these groups by the Corporation for National and Community Service, AmeriCorps, or one of its grantees may contact our Office of Civil Rights and Inclusiveness at (202) 606-7503 or email at