While the 60-day National Service Express Tour has come to a close, we hope that you’ll choose to listen to (by clicking on) our good ol’ Uncle Sam…
Author Archives: mbdubayou
In 60 days, you joined over 500 individuals at 35 meetings in 28 states. After 30,000 combined miles, we’re finally back and sleeping in our own beds! What an unbelievable journey with twists, turns, stories, and faces that we’ll not soon forget. On behalf of ServeNext, it is an understatement to say that we have truly appreciated the opportunity to see the ways that AmeriCorps members (and alumni) are making a difference through their service across the country.
To all we met along the way – thanks for coming out to our organizing events, hosting us on your couches and futons, feeding us, making us laugh, and helping us better understand what’s at stake in your communities as we continue to build the National Service Movement.
A special word of thanks to members of our mighty Tour Steering Committee. For taking a chance on an idea and an organization… for helping us clarify our message before we the road… for making cold calls and convincing people that this was something they wanted to be a part of… for choosing to invest your own precious “free” time in the future of AmeriCorps… thanks for making National Service history with us this spring. It is an understatement to say that we couldn’t have done this without you. Thanks for your boundless energy and determination to make this first National Service Express Tour one that will rival all others yet to come.
That’s right, friends… “other” National Service Express Tours! In the meantime, check out the brand spankin’ NEW! — ServeNext.org — and join the team. We’ll be in touch.
Be The Change, Inc.’s (BTC) Change/Wire blog highlighted a couple National Service-related items today:
- Ouch: Over at Foreign Policy magazine, a retired Peace Corps volunteer / official smacks the Peace Corps aroound a bit. Pretty intense criticism – some valid, some harsh. NPR interviewed the author on Saturday to follow up. It reminds me of a NYT op-ed from January. Any Peace Corps volunteers – or anyone – want to respond / agree / disagree / discuss?
- Looking Good: NYT recently ran an op-ed discussing Teach for America and how we’re seeing real results! TFA is working with students who want to succeed, but haven’t had the chance. Check out the study referenced over at the Urban Institute. Slate’s got an article discussing TFA, its effectiveness, and in context of No Child Left Behind (Bush’s education act). Two pages of interesting insight – a must-read.
To get the latest from our friends with BTC, follow them here on Twitter!
As mentioned previously, U.S. Senator John McCain made a cameo on NBC’s Saturday Night Live last night.
Just in case you missed it…
Chelsea Clinton will attend her second America Forward event when she and her father, former President Bill Clinton, serve alongside volunteers this morning to build a community garden and help paint a mural at Woodlawn Elementary School in Portland, OR. The service project is being sponsored locally by “I Have A Dream” Founation of Oregon, which works to ensure that all children have the opportunity to pursue higher education. Late last month, Chelsea spoke to volunteers at an America’s Promise event in Charlotte, NC.
Local “I Have A Dream” chapters sponsor entire grade levels of underserved students in public elementary schools and public housing developments, and work with these students from an early age all the way to college. Upon high school graduation, each Dreamer receives guaranteed tuition assistance for higher education. Currently, more than 4,000 Dreamers are on the pathway to college in 16 states, Washington, D.C., and New Zealand, following some 10,000 Dreamers who came before them.
“The ‘I Have A Dream’ Foundation is pleased that President Clinton and Chelsea will help us showcase the innovative work of organizations that are making a difference across the nation at a community level,” said Karen Hill, Executive Director of I Have A Dream of Oregon. “We are delighted to have the Clintons join us today for this volunteer service event.”
The America Forward coalition, organized by New Profit Inc., includes more than 60 results-oriented, entrepreneurial nonprofit organizations with programs operating in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Together, these organizations serve more than 10 million people per year and have a collective budget of more than $300 million. Coalition members have innovative, results-driven solutions to some of the toughest domestic challenges facing our nation in education, public health, poverty and economic mobility, workforce development, crime prevention, and civic engagement. The coalition is working to educate all the presidential candidates about the impact social entrepreneurs are having on communities and promote a policy agenda that scales their impact.
“America Forward coalition organizations like ‘I Have A Dream’ have innovative, results-oriented solutions to many of the problems facing America’s families, schools, and communities,” said Kelly Ward, Director of America Forward. “It’s an honor to have President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton join one of our coalition organizations to showcase innovative approaches to service and see first-hand the great work underway in Portland.”
I enjoyed my visit (albeit brief) to Portland last week en route from Seattle to San Francisco. Last fall, I spent a weekend in the City of Roses. If it were a day earlier, I’d suggest the Clintons check out the Portland Saturday Market while in the area. But it’s not. So I won’t call them. I hear they have a busier-than-usual schedule these days…
Check back for a recap of today’s event!
Sean left last night for Austin. Since we didn’t really need to be in Austin until Sunday at 2:00pm for our organizing meeting there, I opted to get a motel room in Albuquerque, hang around town Friday night, and take some much-needed down time. I don’t sleep well on the bus and we had already spent one overnight from Phoenix to Albuquerque, so this was a win-win. Or so I thought…
After checking into my motel (just $35! – probably becaue it smelled like a $35 ash tray), I checked my pockets for the receipt of my Greyhound Station locker (see photo above) where, at the suggestion of Sean, I stored my big backpack. I distinctly remember not throwing it out when Sean and I were out for sushi earlier in the evening. Not in my pant pockets, not in my sweatshirt pockets, not in my laptop bag… not anywhere to be found. Bummer. I planned to get to the Greyhound Station a little early the next morning to see what I could do. I’m sure this has happened to other people before, right? I mean… right?!
Luckily I had my toothbrush and toothpaste with me. Phew.
I woke up this morning, took a much needed shower with the single bar of soap they included in my $35 ash tray motel room, packed up my stuff, Stopped for coffee and a breakfast burrito (that’s all they eat here in Albuquerque) at a great place called Daily Grind on Central Avenue, and made my way toward the Greyhound Station. About 10 paces from the entrance of the building, a man named Chris asked me for change to call his buddy. Chris had no reservations about offering up the fact that up until yesterday, he was in prison for two years. I let him borrow my phone instead. Way more inclined to help folks out with what they need than give them money to spend on what they may or may not end up actually spending on what they say they need. Today, a phone call. Yesterday, a taco.
When I finally got inside, I explained my situation and (in short) was told that I’m out of luck… until Monday at 8:00am when Sharon, the Station Manager, gets in. Apparently Sharon is the only one in Albuquerque who can open my locker. Totally bummed with about 90 minutes until my bus to Austin is scheduled to leave, I tried calling my boss Zach and then Sean. Neither answered. So I made a gametime decision to stay in Albuquerque — with only my laptop, the shirt on my back (and jeans, flip-flops, and hat, if you want to get technical), and about 20 Odwalla bars that our new friend Faith sent to Albuquerque in response to our video tribute (thanks, Odwalla!) — until Monday morning when we could get my locker opened. Hopefully. Then it would be a 1 day, 2 hour, and 45 minute ride straight to New Orleans and missing out on Austin altogether, which I was really looking forward to visiting if only for my one of my best friends Bobby’s sake, who attend the University of Texas for his undergrad. Oh well.
So what did I do in Albuquerque today? Well, this morning, I caught a $6.75 matinee of The Visitor. Highly recommend it! Talked to my fiancee Jody about City Heroes Graduation in Boston… with my friend Ethan about our upcoming trip to Bonnaroo Music Festival… and to my mentor Alex about Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. I checked into a $45/night, smoke-free motel. Walked up to the University of New Mexico and picked up some deodorant clothes to get me through Louisiana. A sucker for Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffees in the hot summer sun, I found a local store (in which employees apparently don’t need to wear their uniforms) and had a nice treat for the walk back. Now I’m catching up on email and watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, which I appreciate on a different level than I did as a middle school student. I hear next week’s four installment in the tril- uh… in the quadrupoly is getting mixed reviews. We’ll see.
I’m off to grab some dinner and maybe watch Senator McCain on SNL tonight. I leave you with this, which came up when I searched for “bus” and “New Mexico” on YouTube. Cheers, friends…
BlogNext, the official blog of ServeNext.org, has a couple posts on Congressman Christopher Shays (R-CT) and Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and their focus in recent days and weeks on National Service. If you’re from the great State of Connecticut (specifically from the Bridgeport area, which Congressman Shays represents), you should be very, very proud.
Check ’em out!