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About Us

We are the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that helps millions of Americans improve the lives of their fellow citizens through service. Working hand in hand with local partners, we tap the ingenuity and can-do spirit of the American people to tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing our nation.

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By: Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, Washington Post

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Katarzyna Massie, Rita Nirola and Connie Winternitz attend a Bone Builders class at Potomac Community Methodist Church. (Sue Schick)

It doesn’t take much more than a chair, a set of dumbbells and an occasional ankle weight to make Pat Miller, 83, feel strong. Twice a week, Miller heads to Potomac Community Methodist Church in Maryland, where she spends an hour doing resistance and weight-bearing exercises designed to strengthen her bones. Sometimes that means balancing on one leg while slowly lifting the other with weights strapped to her ankle, or lowering herself into a chair squat.

The aptly named Bone Builders class has become a staple in Miller’s fitness routine, one that for decades solely consisted of taking and teaching yoga classes. That all changed a few years back when Miller was diagnosed with osteopenia, a condition that softens the bone and puts her at greater risk for developing osteoporosis.

Her doctor recommended Miller integrate some resistance training into her workouts, and she did for a time, but she lost interest until a friend encouraged her to sign up for Bone Builders, a free class sponsored by the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services for ages 55 and up.

“What I notice is, I have more energy when I’m doing the classes on a regular basis,” Miller said. “It makes a difference. I haven’t had any fractures in years.”

Bone Builders is one of a number of fitness programs specifically designed to improve bone density and combat osteoporosis. The disease, which causes bones that have lost density or mass to become susceptible to breaking, affects the lives of an estimated 54 million Americans, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. It can occur in men and women at any age but is most common in older women, especially after menopause.

Any exercise in which your bones are working against gravity to support your body weight — jogging, walking, push-ups — can strengthen bones. Physical force applied to bones causes them to work to withstand the pressure, said Pete McCall, a certified trainer with the American Council on Exercise.

By: Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, Washington Post

Katarzyna Massie, Rita Nirola and Connie Winternitz attend a Bone Builders class at Potomac Community Methodist Church. (Sue Schick)

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By Lois Nembhard, Acting-Director, Social Innovation Fund

Early and effective treatment can help people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) – the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) – manage infections, improve overall health, and reduce risk of transmitting the virus to others.

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AIDS United, a 2010 Social Innovation Fund (SIF) Classic grantee, devoted five years to working with communities across the U.S. identifying and testing solutions that remove barriers between people with HIV and the treatment and prevention services they need. These barriers include poverty, a lack of stable housing and transportation, mental health and substance abuse issues, and stigmas attached to HIV, sexual identity, and drug use. 

AIDS United recently released the results of the rigorous evaluation of its SIF-funded Access to Care (A2C) initiative. Through A2C, AIDS United and its 12 SIF subgrantees identified underserved and hard-to-reach HIV-positive populations and linked or re-connected them to HIV/AIDS treatment services. The A2C subgrantees worked with local partners to identify access problems in their communities and designed new ways to deliver medical care and other supports. 

By: Max Finberg,  Director of AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America)

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Iris Francisco (Left) and Anna Silk, AmeriCorps VISTA Members

As Americans gather to give thanks, it is a most appropriate time to thank those who were here first - our country’s Native American citizens. We have all heard the stories of the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag, who, as a sovereign nation within these United States, still reside in Massachusetts as one of 567 federally recognized tribes. We owe each one of them an apology for not honoring our treaty commitments and a debt of gratitude for their hospitality over the centuries since that first feast of thanksgiving in 1621.

AmeriCorps VISTA has a proud history of honoring our nation-to-nation relationship by providing VISTA members to tribes and tribal organizations to build capacity and address the widespread poverty that confronts Indian Country. As we commemorate Native American and Alaska Native Heritage Month, AmeriCorps VISTA members continue to serve Native America, as others have before them for the past 50 years.

AmeriCorps VISTA is a national service program designed to combat poverty across the U.S., and nowhere is this commitment to community-driven programming more essential than in our projects serving Tribal Nations. AmeriCorps VISTA provides the opportunity for tribal community members and others to address issues of poverty, economic inequality, and the health of the community at the grassroots level.

By: Lisa Cohn, AmeriCorps VISTA, ServiceWorks STL

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“Tell me about a time you made a mistake.”

Every young person has been asked this question in a job interview. After all, what better way to assess someone’s work ethic, perseverance and self-reflection than hearing how they learn from failure or just life’s challenges?

Ask any seasoned academic, entrepreneur or parent and they will tell you mistakes were invaluable to their personal development and ultimate success. Yet, despite our society’s theoretical value of resilience, when it comes to justice-involved youth, we undervalue the growth and insight that result from overcoming adversity.

Approximately 30 teenagers are housed at the St. Louis Juvenile Detention Center at any given time. And whether it was in my role as a volunteer there for four years, or now as an AmeriCorps VISTA with ServiceWorks STL, every session I spend at the center continues to leave me surprised and humbled by the young men’s underappreciated assets and abilities. I’ve seen firsthand just how ambitious, intelligent and compassionate they can be.

ServiceWorks is a youth development program from AmeriCorps, the Citi Foundation and Points of Light that uses volunteer service to teach 16- to 24-year-olds the life and leadership skills necessary for college and career success. And this group of about 10 youth was the first time ServiceWorks has hosted a cohort inside a juvenile justice facility.

By: Carol Wills, Midtown Magazine, and Photography by Davies Photography

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Jeanette Golden was an AmeriCorps volunteer in college, and enjoyed it so much that after graduation, she applied to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer for the City of Raleigh. That was five years ago, and Golden is now a community specialist for the Community Engagement Division of the Housing and Neighborhoods Department. “I’m passionate about service,” says Golden. “I enjoy that I get to share in the spirit of volunteerism through my work with the Senior Corps Programs.” These programs include the Foster Grandparents, RSVP (formerly the Retired Senior Volunteer Program) and Senior Companions, an organization made up of seniors helping seniors – seeing that people get to medical appointments, checking in with them to make sure they’re all right, and providing pleasant companionship.

Perhaps the most important part of Golden’s job as a VISTA volunteer was to implement a volunteer program to connect Raleigh citizens with partnering community agencies. The program that she started, Volunteer Raleigh, is the go-to place for people who are interested in building a resume, giving back to the community, or who are looking for a useful and meaningful way to spend time in retirement. 

Golden’s program is the hub that helps people find opportunities appropriate to their skills and interests. Three volunteer programs that come under the city’s umbrella are Foster Grandparents, the Police Department and Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources.

From Our CEO | Wendy Spencer

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