Tag Archives: homeless shelter

Thousands congregate in Pittsburgh as ServeNext rolls into town…

AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma

When we first added a National Service Express Tour stop in Pittsburgh on the eve of the Pennsylvania Presidential Primary, we knew there would be some buzz… but really, we were blown away. 

Students and community members arrived (at the Peterson Events Center) as early as 11 a.m. to claim their seats for the event, which began at 7:30 p.m. The line snaked from the entrance at the top of the hill, past Pennsylvania Hall and Panther Hall, down the hill past the Chevron building and all the way to Fifth Avenue.   

We had 41 people in New Hampshire for our Tour Kickoff Party, but this was a horse of a different color!  When all 10,000 citizens were through security, seated in the arena, and the event finally started, the event’s guest speaker inspired the crowd by appealing to their sense of patriotism with a common-sense, solutions-oriented approach to making college more affordable by addressing pressing community needs.  It’s the kind of message that folks in cities across the country have come to expect from these ServeNext events and exactly why crowds over the last 2 weeks have built. 

For college students, Obama said he plans to give $4,000 tuition credits to students who volunteer at places like homeless shelters, which is similar to the AmeriCorps program initiated by the Clinton administration.

“We invest in you, you invest in America,” Obama said.

Obama?!  Oh yeah… U.S. Senator Barack Obama was down the street from our ServeNext event for a final campaign rally before Tuesday’s vote.  A small, but mighty crowd gathered at Panera Bread to strategize for ServeNext around key Congressional races in Pennsylvania. 

And you know what?  They’re psyched about the work ahead and the road we’ll travel to get there together.  Fueled by various National Service experiences and united by a passion for expanding opportunities for their peers to serve, ServeNext Pittsburgh is off the ground and actively organizing.

To learn more about the efforts of ServeNext Pittsburgh, click here.  To learn more about the “other” event down the street with Senator Obama, click here.

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Filed under Chapter Launches, College Affordability, National Service in the News

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