Category Archives: Stories of Service Impact


Matt and I served in the Upper 9th Ward today (we were “floating” drywall, hence the picture), followed by our ServeNext New Orleans meeting at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center.  At this point, we’re exhausted.  I’ll leave you with a quick story and links to some organizations who are doing great work to help rebuild New Orleans everyday.

Story: Matt, Sean (from Safer, see below) and I went to a local establishment for some Shrimp Po Boys. (They were delicious.)  While driving through the 9th Ward on the way back to the house we were working on, we saw 3 or 4 teams of AmeriCorps volunteers working on homes all throughout the neighborhood.  Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to talk to any of them (we had work to do!), but it was cool to see so many volunteers out and, along with taking part in direct service ourselves, reminded Matt and I of our service “roots.”

I told you it was short.  

Here’s a link fest!

AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) is a full-time, team-based residential program for men and women age 18–24. Members live on one of four campuses, located in Denver, Colorado; Sacramento, California; Perry Point, Maryland; and Vinton, Iowa.


The mission of AmeriCorps NCCC is to strengthen communities and develop leaders through direct, team-based national and community service. In partnership with nonprofit organizations, state and local agencies, and faith-based and other community organizations, members complete service projects throughout the region they are assigned.

Drawn from the successful models of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s and the U.S. military, AmeriCorps NCCC is built on the belief that civic responsibility is an inherent duty of all citizens and that national service programs work effectively with local communities to address pressing needs.


Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans is currently operating 51 programs, several of which are geared directly toward hurricane recovery. Our nearly 1,000 staff members have touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of residents in Southeast Louisiana. As we rebuild our region, we are committed to bring a vision and a hope to those who need our aid.

Green Light New Orleans is an environmental organization addressing global warming and rising energy costs in the New Orleans Area.

Born and raised in Switzerland, musician Andi Hoffmann moved to New Orleans in 1993. He founded the organization in 2006 as a response to the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina. “I had to do something to help New Orleans get back on its feet again”, he said, “And I knew it had to be beneficial to the city of New Orleans as well as to our planet”. “We calculated the pollution we created by touring to Europe and figured out how many CFLs had to be installed to offset the pollution.” With each concert ticket sold at shows in europe people were asked to donate to Green Light New Orleans. The audience immediately suppported the idea and the fundraiser was a big success .

With the support of private donations, sponsors and supporters Green Light New Orleans is rapidly growing to meet the rising demand created by New Orleanians’ desire to save energy and help the planet. 

Hands On New Orleans Do something good. Be Hands On.

Good work happens through Hands On New Orleans. Get started with Hands On New Orleans, and we will connect you with a volunteer opportunity that makes a meaningful, positive rewarding change in New Orleans.

What can you do?

Help re build a home. house. Tutor a child. Care for abandoned pets. Clean a park. Renovate a school. Lead a volunteer group. Learn about and take action on community issues. Whether you are visiting New Orleans, or work and live here, Hands On New Orleans offers a variety of ways to get involved while meeting your availability and interests.

Volunteer for a one-time project . 
Volunteer , or volunteer for a few weeks. 
Volunteer after work, or between classes. Volunteer alone, with family, friends or co-workers.

When you volunteer with Hands On New Orleans, you join people from all backgrounds and experiences. You get a chance to explore issues that shape our community and develop your leadership and job skills. 

SAFER takes the direct approach to rebuilding the city of New Orleans, offering free labor to people who would otherwise be unable to afford the cost of repairing their homes. We communicate directly with our families about their needs and their hopes for their rebuilt homes, and with community leaders and organizations about their plans for revitalizing their neighborhood. We realize that rebuilding can be a huge challenge, especially for homeowners who have few funds or also have the responsibility of a job and caring for a family. SAFER’s approach to rebuilding is to try to make the return home as simple as possible by helping the family in every aspect of rebuilding: applying for loans, getting building permits, and finding skilled labor to repair plumbing, electrical work, and roofing, among other tasks. Once the family is home, we can provide further assistance, such as finding a good daycare or school and getting money donated for groceries, furniture, and/or appliances. 


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She Serves When She Celebrates

Last night, I got to hang with birthday girl Jules Mathis (AmeriCorps ’05, ’06), her supportive friends from Rutgers University, and the mighty AmeriCorps members with City Year Greater Philadelphia who are in the middle of 100 Hours of Power — a physical service marathon with projects happening for 100 consecutive hours across Philly!  An awesome team of service warriors led Jules and her friends in some inspiring late-night service from 8pm-12am at the Germantown YWCA Child Care Center. 

Click above to hear from Jules why she was out doing service on her birthday…

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State Radio serves alongside Tom Morello on Justice Tour

We just caught wind of this great on-the-road service moment from Boston-based indie rockers State Radio.  They’re currently touring in support of The Nightwatchman (the solo project of Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello). 

I first caught The Nightwatchman with Boots Riley of The Coup at the National Conference on Media Reform in Madison, WI in 2003 and was blown away by Morello’s raw, gritty approach to activism.  Unlike Rage or Audioslave, he does it simply with an acoustic guitar and the sound of his voice.  According to Morello, “Each night of this tour is going to be a freedom party.  We are going to create a little bit of the world we’d like to see.”   

Here’s the report from Los Angeles from State Radio bass player Chuck Fay:

besides the magnitude of players that are coming out for these shows, the real meat of Justice Tour is the local social activism that’s going hand in hand with the performances. on monday, a crew of people from the tour went down to a los angeles PATH facility to serve dinner and hang with the people rolling through. chad, mike, and i got dessert duty, obviously never a bad place to be, which consisted of cutting up and serving some good ol’ fashion pie. (insert cartman voice)   

Hit up State Radio’s Tour Blog entry #18 (to the left) for the complete story. 

chad urmston of state radio and tom morello (aka the nightwatchman) process their experience, photo by chuck fay  chad urmston and mad dawg of state radio do the dishes, photo by chuck fay  the result of some sick service, photo by chuck fay 

Now why service?  “There has been much talk about change this election season, but real change must start with people, not politicians. No matter who is elected, we the people must create justice on the ground,” Morello says. 

We at couldn’t agree more.  That’s why we’re pushing for the expansion of AmeriCorps by 100,000 members and calling for increased support of the Peace Corps, Senior Corps, and Learn & Serve programs… so that people have the opportunity to serve full-time for year at places like PATH and can be impacted by the transformative power of that experience. 

No stranger to the National Service community, State Radio participated in several events at last year’s City Year convention in Manchester, NH and has made a point of encouraging fans to get involved in public service by inviting local organizations to have a regular presence at their shows.  We’re going to try to catch up with the Justice Tour this weekend in Boston, where The Nightwatchman and State Radio team up for a Sunday evening gig at Berklee Performance Center.

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Filed under AmeriCorps, Human Interest, Making the Case, National Service in the News, Stories of Service Impact

Our Own Words: Dorothy Brown in Nashville, TN

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The Twin Cities: A Bedrock of National Service Support

Today’s Minneapolis chapter launch was awesome.  Fred and the gang couldn’t make it, but 12 citizens of the Minneapolis community took time out of their Sunday to learn about ServeNext and share their knowledge of the Twin Cities.  While this was our smallest event so far, the quality of the people in the room and the conversation blew Matt and I away.  Starting with our amazing hosts — Warren Hanson and Denise Mayotte — who provided 3 different chili’s (as well as a bed for me since Thursday), we discussed various ways AmeriCorps is making an impact in Minnesota, aided by Stacey’s insight as a ServeMinnesota program officer.  We also met one of the co-leaders of the AmeriCorps Alums Twin Cities chapter.

At the beginning of the day, we were a bit worried about the turnout for the event.  This was our first event without a strong base before the tour, and it was on a Sunday afternoon.  Our concerns were put to rest as the event began.  The size of the group allowed everyone in the room to grow their understanding of AmeriCorps within Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as the national movement.  Some great ideas were thrown around: ways to leverage the Republican National Convention in September, engaging gubernatorial candidates about state support for National Service programs and different ways to share information throughout the ServeNext community among others.  

One of the highlights of the evening was hearing from Devin Clarkson and Peter Caldwell, two gentlemen working on behalf of the Independent Concerned Citizens and advocating for the removal of Minnesota’s state tax on the education award.  Check out their video.

We’ll have more info about their campaign in the coming days at BlogNext.

Matt and I are getting ready to jump back on the proverbial bus for chapter launches in Madison and Chicago on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, before heading back East for the rest of the April.  Both those events are looking great, if you’re in either area feel free to join us! 

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Filed under Chapter Launches, College Affordability, Stories of Service Impact

NSLC Recap

Matt and I had the chance to meet many involved in the Service-Learning community at the 19th annual National Service-Learning Conference.  All parties involved with service-learning — students, teachers, and administrators — as well as external champions were there, sharing ideas and successes from the past year.  

Many of those in the National Service Learning community were involved as well, including the Peace Corps Director Ronald Tschetter and John Bridgeland, currently the President and CEO of Civic Enterprises and formerly the first director of the USA Freedom Corps under President Bush.  Bridgeland presented a report on “The Promise of Service-Learning in combating the high school dropout epidemic.  Read his report here.

Check out some of the youth projects presented at the conference.  Inspiring stuff!

For a full list of project examples, check out the NYLC Service-Learning Resource Center.

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Live blogging- Part 2 with Desmond Tutu

Check it out here!

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Filed under Human Interest, Service-Learning, Stories of Service Impact