Spring has arrived in Washington, D.C. and with it comes peak appropriations season, so the Voices for National Service team has been busy working to keep AmeriCorps and Senior Corps top of mind for key appropriators in Congress. Last week, the Voices for National Service Government Affairs Committee began meeting with members of the Labor Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee regarding FY 19 appropriations and will continue these meetings over the next few weeks. Thank you to everyone who has stepped up to lead or participate!
Meanwhile, our State Chapter Network has been successfully organizing state-level sector sign on letters in support of CNCS funding. Some highlights of the great progress to date: Voices for National Service Louisiana is organizing a letter from local education leaders, Illinois is gathering signatures from the business community, Florida is reaching out to mayors, as well creating a disaster relief/emergency management letter, and Missouri has 15 mayors and counting signed on so far in support of national service! If you’d like to see your state on this list, please reach out to Amanda Hooper for more details about how to participate.
The Voices team has been on the road this week! We started in Kansas City, Missouri on Monday for a visit with Senator Roy Blunt at the Ewing Marion Kauffman School to talk about how AmeriCorps programs like City Year Kansas City and Teach for America Kansas City are helping students graduate on track and on time. Following the visit, we had a chance to gather with our national service colleagues in Kansas City, for a reception with Senator Blunt where we presented Senator Blunt with the Congressional Service Award for his commitment and efforts to increase funding for AmeriCorps programs in Missouri and across the country. (He wasn’t able to be with us for the Friends of National Service reception in February, so we brought the party to him!) Senator Blunt tweeted twice about the visit and the award (see below), and issued this press release, which was great! See this article about about the visit.
On Tuesday, the Voices team presented at the ASC Regional Training in Greenville, South Carolina. Thanks to everyone who attended and joined the conversation! Our next training will be in Seattle, Washington on Tuesday, May 15 from 4:00-5:30 PM. If you’ll be in Seattle, make sure to check out our presentation, “Communicating the Case for Service: Effective Messages and Strategies for Building Bipartisan Support,” and email Amanda so we can find a time to meet with members of the Voices community!
We are also excited to be celebrating Senior Corps Week! Thank you to all the Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions and RSVP programs for the tremendous difference you make every day. Check out this great video highlighting the many ways Senior Corps makes an impact. Here are a few other highlights from Senior Corps Week:
- Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) led bipartisan efforts in the Senate to recognize Senior Corps Week!
- Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) highlighted the great work of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps in Connecticut with the announcement of a new AmeriCorps VISTA project sponsored by United Way of Greater NH and AARP Experience Corps.
- State Representative Sydney Carlin (D-KS) for recognizing Kansas Senior Corps members through a resolution read on the house floor this week!
- State Senator Dan Quick (D-NE) for visited and recognized the impact of Foster Grandparents serving with Senior Action, Inc.’s Senior Corps program in Grand Island, Nebraska.
- We also love this great blog, “Volunteerism as a Fountain of Youth” by Mei Cobb of United Way Worldwide featured on the CNCS website.
Here are some other highlights from the last two weeks:
Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) and the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources passed the bipartisan Recreation Not Red Tape Act, which included the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act (21CSC Act) as a provision in the bill. Congratulations to our friends at The Corps Network for their work to advance this important legislation that will expand opportunities for AmeriCorps members to work on public lands. The Corps Network has praised this bill, saying it would “Expand..cost-saving partnerships to get more work done, engage more veterans and young people in valuable service, and better promote Corps opportunities.” You can tweet your support for this legislation here.
Thanks to our friends at the Joplin Globe for broadcasting the expansion of Youth Volunteer Corps into Joplin, Missouri. We’re excited to see national service impact continue to grow in the Joplin community.
Thank you to AmeriCorps members in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the Tulsa Opera, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Tulsa, Tulsa Area United Way, the Opportunity Project, and City Year Tulsa for providing important mentoring and care for students during the 9-day teachers’ strike. Check out this Youth Today article showing how so many programs and organizations came together to provide care for Tulsa youth.
Thank you to Mayor Herb Roach of O’Fallon, IL for acknowledging the work of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs in the community, specifically for emergency services and relief. He praised AmeriCorps members for addressing, “some of the most pressing challenges facing our communities, from educating our students, to fighting the opioid epidemic, to responding to natural disasters, to supporting veterans and military families.”
Thank you to Comcast NBCUniversal for your partnership with AmeriCorps members in many cities on the annual Comcast Cares Day to Life on April 21, 2018. We were excited to see so many day-long service projects across the country. This annual event has grown into the nation’s largest single-day corporate volunteer effort.
Check out this great written by Jennifer Ingham at City Year, and promoted on the CNCS website, sharing ways the organization is celebrating its AmeriCorps members during AmeriCorps Week and beyond.
Thank you to Serve Colorado for your work in educating Colorado communities on the opioid epidemic and how AmeriCorps programs can support prevention. Colorado AmeriCorps members are coordinating events and presentations during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 28.
Check out this Balance Career article on the benefits of Gap Year Work Programs, specifically siting AmeriCorps Opportunities and fields of involvement for students considering a gap year.
Congratulations to the City Year sites across the country hosting their annual end of the school year Galas. City Year Little Rock, and Executive Director Sarah Roberson honored Stephanie Streett of the Clinton Foundation. City Year New York and Executive Director, Laura Hamm, along with Mariska Hargitay honored Comcast NBCUniversal for their commitment to supporting national service. City Year Providence celebrated national service in Rhode Island with Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Representative David Cicilline (D-RI). City Year Los Angeles and Executive Director, Mary Jane Stevenson hosted a successful Spring Break Gala, with many celebrity champions of national service, including Jennifer Garner, Octavia Spencer, Elizabeth Banks and many others.
Finally, the national service community lost two leaders over the last month. First, we honor the immense contributions and legacy of Barbara Bush with gratitude for all she did on behalf of children, and on behalf of service and volunteering. We also remember Jennifer Riordan, who was tragically killed on a Southwest Airlines flight two weeks ago. Jennifer was a devoted champion and steward of national service. Among her many leadership roles in Alburquerque, Jennifer served on and previously chaired the New Mexico Commission for Community Volunteerism. We are grateful that the Public Service Company of New Mexico, PNM, dedicate its National Day of Service on April 26 to Jennifer.
Thanks for all you are doing to advance national service, and for the work you do every day to improve the lives of people all across this country. And don’t forget to send us your update so we can include them in our roundups!