Tag Archives: City Year

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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Filed under 30-in-60 Bus Tour, AmeriCorps, Peace Corps

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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Filed under AmeriCorps, Human Interest, Stories of Service Impact

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 ServeNext.org 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

National Summit to Mobilize Support for U.S. Public Service Academy

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Tomorrow, the U.S. Public Service Academy will co-sponsor a national summit to mobilize support for an initiative to build a civilian counterpart to the military service academies.  The brainchild of two Teach for America/AmeriCorps alumni, the Public Service Academy would be a four-year national college modeled on the military service academies. More than 5,000 students would get a federally-subsidized undergraduate in exchange for a commitment to serve for five years in public service positions following graduation.

“The Academy will help transform the way young Americans perceive, prepare for, and pursue public service,” said Chris Myers Asch, a leader of the Academy initiative. “It will reinvigorate our sense of public service and revitalize our public sector.”

The initiative has earned bipartisan support in Congress. The Public Service Academy Act was introduced in March 2007 by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) in the Senate and Rep. James Moran (D-VA) and Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) in the House of Representatives. The bill currently has 19 Senate co-sponsors; 94 House co-sponsors; and has also has won the endorsement of numerous organizations including City Year, the National Peace Corps Association, and the U.S. Student Association, as well as prominent individuals such as Madeleine Albright, Lee Hamilton, and three former superintendents of West Point. 

Best of luck to Chris and his team tomorrow.  We look forward to a full report!

Online resources:

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Filed under Making the Case, National Service in the News, U.S. Public Service Academy

Boston to Columbus: 34 hours and 807 miles later…

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Following the Boston Chapter Launch at City Year’s Headquarters for Idealism, Sean and I hit the hay, woke up early Tuesday morning, met up at South Station, picked up our Discovery Passes, and spent the majority of the day traveling across New York State.  My new friend Twitter caught most of the day’s action including an on-board arrest, Border Patrol asking about our citizenship (separate incident), and a visit to Eerie, Pennsylvania. It was quite the first full day of travel…

We were supposed to have a Verizon Wireless card to share between our laptops but – minor setback – Sean lost it back in Boston somewhere between the bus terminal and the bus.  No biggie over the long-term, but he was totally bamboozled.  The nature of our work is that we’re traveling, preparing, documenting, Twittering, improving, emailing, planning, blogging, organizing, downloading, editing, uploading, and sleeping a little (if we’re lucky).  Access to the Internet is rather essential to keep the momentum.  Welcome, friends, to life on the road!    

Angela Barrett, Program Director at City Year Cleveland, picked us up at the Greyhound Station when we finally got into town at 10:30pm.  The temperature was 68 degrees – gorgeous in contrast to the New England weather we had experienced just hours before.  Angela brought us to her home on the West Side, let us play with her oversized television remote control, blew up an air mattress for Sean, and made us feel right at home.  A few hours later we were up, showered, back out the door, and rushing to the Greyhound station to get tickets for our 4:30am bus to Columbus.  We snoozed on the ride down.

In Columbus at 7:00am, we found a Starbucks so we could get online with my T-Mobile HotSpot.  We had a fun interaction with the baristas – who told us to grab scrumptious breakfast sandwiches from next door – before taking care of the most urgent items on our list, doing a conference call with ServeNext Director Zach Maurin in Washington, D.C., reworking our presentation for more intimate crowds, and proceededing next door to City Year Columbus for our 10:00am roundtable…  

Blog entries from Columbus and Cleveland roundtables coming soon!

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