Tag Archives: National Service

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

BlogNext: CT leads Congress on National Service…

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BlogNext, the official blog of ServeNext.org, 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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AmeriCorps’ Best Honored With Spirit of Service Awards

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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

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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

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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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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

Thousands congregate in Pittsburgh as ServeNext rolls into town…

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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