Category Archives: National Service in the News

Youth, Education & National Service  

Politico writer Ben Alder has two recent articles touching on National Service in relation to the presidential campaigns.  The first, McCain is slow to gain young voters, is in regards to the youth vote, and how Clinton, McCain and Obama campaigned about issues that matter under-30 voters.  While Clinton and Obama have referenced National Service on the stump (and off), McCain will be looking to push that issue during the general election, as he did in a recent speech in Columbus.  

And McCain’s campaign aides and supporters believe he’ll appeal to young voters in another area: national service. “John McCain has constantly spoken to the need for young Americans to serve a cause greater than their self-interest,” Pounder wrote in an e-mail. “This is a call that John McCain will continue to make and engage young voters on.” 

The second, Hopefuls’ education plans show divides, discusses National Service in the context higher education affordability.  Thus far, this is another area that Clinton and Obama have discussed at greater length than Senator McCain.  

Obama touts his requirement that those who receive a tuition tax credit perform 100 hours of community service. “Something that Sen. Obama feels strongly about is community service built into the tax credit,” said Higginbottom. “He always gets the biggest response from audiences for not just giving money away but asking people to serve.” 

Clinton does not require community service but, like Obama, proposes to expand opportunities for receiving college aid in exchange for participating in a national service program such as AmeriCorps. 




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Filed under AmeriCorps, College Affordability, National Service in the News

Change/Wire highlights Peace Corps, Teach for America…

Be The Change, Inc.’s (BTC) Change/Wire blog highlighted a couple National Service-related items today:

To get the latest from our friends with BTC, follow them here on Twitter! 

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Clintons to attend America Forward service event in Portland, OR

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!

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BlogNext: CT leads Congress on National Service… 

BlogNext, the official blog of, 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!

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Filed under AmeriCorps, Miscellaneous, National Service in the News, Peace Corps

AmeriCorps’ Best Honored With Spirit of Service Awards

As part of AmeriCorps Week, the Corporation for National and Community Service honored a handful of outstanding AmeriCorps members, alums, and corporate sponsors with Spirit of Service Awards in recognition of their contributions to national service — including several individuals who serve or have served in communities along the National Service Express Tour!

The awardees tackled issues such as disaster relief, homelessness, literacy, and health care, demonstrating the power of service as a solution to tough community problems. The Spirit of Service Awards pay tribute to the most outstanding participants in each of the Corporation’s programs as well as corporate or foundation partners that are role models for private sector support of national and community service.

“These individuals and organizations have gone above and beyond the call to serve their nation,” said David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation. “Not only do they give their own time and talents, they mobilize others in their communities to tackle some of America’s toughest social problems. The represent America at its best, and we salute them for their selfless service.”

Spirit of Service Award recipients that serve or have served in cities on the National Service Express Tour include: 

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The eight-member team of AmeriCorps VISTAs serving with the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter is helping the region’s most vulnerable residents prepare for natural disasters and other emergencies, meeting the great demands of serving a population of 4 million people. Lindsay Dumas, Emerson Chen, Nikki Nichols, Jeff Schurke, Alicia Esterripa, Juan Carlos Pinzon, Francine Williams, and Chester Ng are targeting the needs of specific populations as they design and offer disaster training programs and conduct outreach activities.
  • NEW ORLEANS, LA – Former AmeriCorps*NCCC members Ashley Sloan, Greg Loushine, and Jackie Smith served at the former Charleston, S.C., NCCC campus during the 2006-07 program year. While serving on a project in St. Bernard Parish, they recognized Gulf Coast recovery efforts were hampered by the need for more volunteer housing. Their response was to create Live St. Bernard, an organization that renovated an 1,800-square foot home where up to 16 volunteers can be housed while participating in rebuilding projects. The fundraisers they organized garnered $15,000 in donations. They then led 50 volunteers to clean mold, install insulation, and paint the Live St. Bernard Home. Their efforts were chronicled by CNN and USA Today.
  • NEW ORLEANS, LA – Blue Four, a team based at the AmeriCorps NCCC Western Region campus near Sacramento, traveled to New Orleans for its first project with the Recovery School District immediately after completing training in Denver. Team members focused on their assignment, the physical rehabilitation of schools, while undertaking a variety of additional projects to leave a lasting mark on the school district and the community. Members brainstormed creative ways to increase interaction with students, teachers, and the community in general. They helped create a more pleasing environment at modular schools by painting signs and murals, using discarded tires and other materials to landscape gardens, planting flower beds, installing benches, and spray painting mascots on school grounds. They also organized two field days, seeking various donations such as play equipment and inflatable bouncy castles to entertain 925 students. The team members, led by Tiffany Zapico, include Jennifer Armstrong, Kelly Comley, Kathleen Delahunty, Ashley Duquette, Raven Hughes, Jonathan Lee, Emily Lewis, Brian Tirey, Danielle Trezek, and Miranda Williams.
  • NEW YORK, NY – As an education leader, Pearson has helped the AmeriCorps program Jumpstart grow by nearly 20 percent annually. Pearson, an international company with its U.S. headquarters in New York, and the Pearson Foundation promote Jumpstart, provide leaders for Jumpstart’s national and regional boards, and donate 100,000 books to underserved families each year. They have been the lead sponsor of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record campaign from the beginning – a national awareness event and the largest shared-reading experience on record – helping Jumpstart raise money for young children and rallying together hundreds of thousands of individuals across the country to volunteer for literacy. Together the two organizations have worked to set a new standard for how corporate-nonprofit partnerships can impact the achievement gap in America. Pearson helps Jumpstart and communities grow and learn.

AmeriCorps Week is being marked by hundreds of events across the country, including a Habitat for Humanity blitz building project featuring 700 AmeriCorps members on the Gulf Coast and a closing ceremony today in Miami where more than 600 AmeriCorps members will restore an historic beach park.

For more information, hit up the AmeriCorps Week website, which features a database of events, news, stories, and information about how to join.

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Filed under 30-in-60 Bus Tour, AmeriCorps, National Service in the News

Huffington agrees with McCain on vision for National Service

In a largely negative post in response to U.S. Senator John McCain’s speech yesterday morning in Columbus, Ariana Huffington did praise the presumed Republican Party’s Presidential nominee for his vision of expanding voluntary National Service, calling it “moving and effective.”

I’ll admit, I found McCain’s fantasy speech moving and effective, especially the part where he envisions a growth in national service, fueled by young Americans who “understand that true happiness is much greater than the pursuit of pleasure, and can only be found by serving causes greater than self-interest.” 

Will Senator McCain be a listed as an original co-sponsor of U.S. Senator Chris Dodd’s (now-titled) AmeriCorps: Improving Our Nation (ACTION) Act of 2008, to be introduced tomorrow morning?  How about Senators Clinton or Obama?  Thanks to all who have made phone calls to their Senators!

We had a great ServeNext Organizing Meeting last night in Senator McCain’s home state!  Special thanks to Tyler Cox (MA AmeriCorps ’07) for coordinating the event, Kate Craer (MA AmeriCorps ’05) for getting us back to the Phoenix Greyhound Station (and getting a tour of the city in the process), and to everyone from Mesa Community College who came out to learn more about ServeNext!  We’ll be in touch… 

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McCain Reflective on the Stump

John McCain is giving an interesting stump speech in Columbus, OH today, described by ABC News as similar to “his current stump speech, but with verbs in the past tense.”  The speech looks ahead to January 2013 – the end of the next President’s first term in office. As McCain describes it, the speech is an opportunity “to describe what I would hope to have achieved at the end of my first term as President.”  In addition to success in the war on terrorism and and a revitalized economy, McCain remarks on vibrant voluntary National Service in the country.

Voluntary national service has grown in popularity in part because of the educational benefits used as incentives, as well as frequent appeals from the bully pulpit of the White House, but mostly because the young Americans, no less than earlier generations, understand that true happiness is much greater than the pursuit of pleasure, and can only be found by serving causes greater than self-interest. Scores of accomplished private sector leaders have joined the ranks of my administration for a dollar a year and have instituted some of the most innovative reforms of government programs ever known, often in partnership with willing private sector partners. A sense of community, a kinship of ideals, has invigorated public service again.

We’re looking forward to McCain speaking more about National Service throughout the campaign and seeing a comprehensive National Service plan from him soon.  If you’re interested in McCain’s full vision for America, take a look at the full speech here.


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