Tag Archives: AmeriCorps

Miami Update

Matt and I are in Columbia, SC, officially on the home stretch of the trip. Last night we met with supporters in Miami at Miami-Dade College. Below is a long awaited picture of Matt and I:

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Miami was especially exciting because in many ways it served as “phase 2” of the ServeNext engagement process. Let me explain.

In March, Aaron, Zach, Matt and Patrick (Schmitt, former National Field Director for ServeNext) had a retreat in Miami, during which time they had a roundtable with the start up team at City Year Miami (about 10 people). The meeting was similar to the ones Matt and I have had throughout the tour. And what we saw yesterday was the ServeNext citizen-advocate movement beginning to grow. Instead of only City Year representatives, we had the opportunity to speak with AmeriCorps VISTAs, other AmeriCorps programs, such as Public Allies, a returned Peace Corps Volunteer and a handful of citizens who heard about the event through word of mouth. 

Through a diversified constituency and broader coalitions, we’re able to build strength in numbers. We had a chance to see this strength in Miami, and we look forward to seeing similar action networks throughout the country. We’ll have an update on Columbia and Atlanta in the coming days. Stay tuned!

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Youth, Education & National Service

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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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Change/Wire highlights Peace Corps, Teach for America…

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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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ACTION: Dodd to introduce AmeriCorps Act of 2008 this Friday

BREAKING… BREAKING… BREAKING…

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This Friday, May 16th, U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) will introduce the AmeriCorps Act of 2008.

The AmeriCorps Act of 2008 will:

  • Raise the education Eli Segal Education Award from $4,725 to $6,185 and raise the award each subsequent year to represent the average cost of tuition and required fees at a 4-year public university;
  • Make the education award tax exempt;
  • Restore the Corporation’s previous authority to partner with other Federal agencies to use national service as a strategy to carry out Departments’ priorities; and,
  • Promote the Corporation for National and Community Service to Cabinet level status.

Since inception in 1994, AmeriCorps has encouraged over 540,000 citizens to volunteer, serve, and address the unmet needs of our nation. These citizens have given over 700,000,000 hours toward improving the lives of other Americans.

Your phone call to Washington is critical to ensuring this legislation passes, so please call your Senators today to urge them to become original co sponsors.  The deadline is tomorrow, Thursday at 4:00pm EST.

It will only take 2 minutes to call.  Here is what you need to do:

  1. Call the Capitol Operator at (202) 224-3121 to be connected to your Senators.
  2. Ask your Senators to be original co-sponsors of the AmeriCorps Act of 2008.
  3. To co-sponsor, interested offices should contact Mary Ellen McGuire with Senator Dodd’s office by email: MaryEllen_McGuire@help.senate.gov. Deadline for co-sponsors is tomorrow, Thursday at 4:00pm.
  4. Build power in numbers – ask two other people in your state to call your Senators, as well.  Three voices are louder than just one!

Thanks for taking action and helping to grow AmeriCorps!

Please forward THIS LINK to a friend and check back for details on how you can help to further support the AmeriCorps Act of 2008 and make National Service a national priority!

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VOTE TODAY for the AmeriCorps Video Contest!

Above: Last year’s winning AmeriCorps Video Contest submission…

Recently, AmeriCorps turned to its far-flung network of members and alums for help in recruiting the next class of AmeriCorps members by hosting its second YouTube-style video contest. Five finalists have been chosen and now the National Service Community is asked to VOTE TODAY for the top video in this year’s contest, which coincides with the second annual AmeriCorps Week.

The contest asked participants to create a 60-second spot answering the question “Why AmeriCorps?” Entries could address topics such as how AmeriCorps tackles some of America’s biggest challenges; what AmeriCorps means to you; and why someone should join AmeriCorps.

The grand prize is a volunteer vacation worth up to $5,000 courtesy of Travelocity through its Travel For Good Change Ambassadors program. Second prize is an iPod Shuffle, and third prize is an AmeriCorps Alums Prize Pack, both courtesy of AmeriCorps Alums. The five semifinalists will receive a free one-year membership from AmeriCorps Alums. Help choose which of the five finalist videos will win… VOTE TODAY!

The video contest is part of AmeriCorps Week, the national recognition and recruitment event taking place through Sunday, May 18th, aimed at engaging more Americans in service, saluting AmeriCorps members and alums for their impact, and thanking the partners that make AmeriCorps possible.

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DNC Superdelegate & Friend of ServeNext lobbied by Obama’s Hollywood

Democratic National Committee Superdelegate and friend of ServeNext Madison, Awais Khaleel, has become quite popular over the last few weeks.  After putting up a YouTube video (see above) asking his peers across the country what to do with the “power” of being a superdelegate in the historic 2008 Presidential Primary, he has received lots of feedback — including from actor Kal Penn, star of Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay and National Arts Policy Committee Member for the Barack Obama for President campaign.   

Mr. Penn is one of the many prominent candidate supporters Ms. Wolfe, 25, a law student at the University of Detroit-Mercy and Mr. Khaleel, 23, a junior at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, have heard from recently. But the two of them haven’t been swayed just yet. They posted a YouTube video two weeks ago asking for input from other college students on how to vote.

“Guess who might decide the leader of the free world?” Mr. Khaleel asks in the clip. “Me!”

A friend of Reilly Goodwin (our Lead Organizer at the University of Wisconsin), Khaleel took the time out of his busy schedule to speak at the ServeNext Chapter Launch event in Madison last month.  His message centered on our unique moment in American history and the grassroots excitement now growing around the expansion of National Service programs.  Interestingly, Penn’s open letter to Khaleel included college affordability, volunteerism, and the call for young people to play an active role in our democracy. 

State after state, I have been meeting young people who, for the first time in their lives, are not simply voting, but volunteering for a campaign. After being told for years that their voices don’t count for much, they have risen up and joined us in securing a better world for all Americans. Many of these folks cannot afford a college education. Many lack health care. Some are caring for ailing parents. Others are first-generation Americans. Overwhelmingly, they’ve answered the challenge that Senator Obama has given them: to take responsibility and become involved. I ask you not to ignore them any longer.

While we know that Khaleel won’t be swayed by celebrities, Penn’s words reinforce the feeling among the National Service Community that the time to expand AmeriCorps is upon us… that there is a perfect storm brewing.  We wish Awais the best of luck and, regardless of which campaign he chooses to back, we hope that he’ll bring the passion, idealism, and can-do spirit of our generation with him to Denver this summer for the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

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Filed under 30-in-60 Bus Tour, Chapter Launches, Human Interest, National Service in the News

Don’t Forget!

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Yesterday began the week known as “National AmeriCorps Week.” What’s the purpose of National AmeriCorps Week?  According to their website:

  • salute AmeriCorps members
  • thank community partners for their great work
  • bring more Americans into service
  • get things done!
Here’s some stats about all the amazing things AmeriCorps members are doing around the country:
  • 542,000: Number of people who have served as AmeriCorps members since 1994.
  • 705 Million: Total number of hours served by AmeriCorps members.
  • $1.43 Billion: Total amount of Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards earned by AmeriCorps members.
  • 1.7 Million: Number of community volunteers managed or mobilized by AmeriCorps members in 2007
  • 4,100: Number of nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations that AmeriCorps members served with last year.
  • $5 Billion: Amount of AmeriCorps funds invested in nonprofit, community, educational, and faith-based community groups since 1994.
Check out the AmeriCorps Video Contest and vote for your favorite video!

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