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We are the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that helps more than 5 million 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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From Our Blog

By Tom Ferraro

Tom Ferraro, an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving in Maryland

DAVIDSONVILLE, Md. – Starting to feel old and bored, I needed a new adventure. So at 67, I enlisted in the “war on poverty” by joining AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), whose ranks are dominated by recent college graduates.

I graduated from college in the 1970s, long before laptops, iPhones or the formalization of “a gap year” for young adults to find themselves. After a 45-year career as a news reporter, I suddenly found myself retired. I played tennis three times a week, went to senior-discounted movies and took daily walks with my dog, Milo.

Wanting a more rewarding activity, and figuring it was time to give back, I remembered VISTA, the “domestic Peace Corps,” created a half century ago by President Lyndon Johnson as part of his “War on Poverty.”

I applied, was accepted, and went to a week of training. On the final day, I stood with my young classmates, raised my right hand and was sworn in.

I got assigned to do my year of service at Building Families for Children, a century-old nonprofit headquartered in Columbia, Md., and dedicated to giving at risk-children and parents a fresh start.

From the first week, I’ve been asked, “How do you like your job?” It’s a difficult question to answer.

My job, as Johnson explained in the 1960s, is to be among the “front line volunteers in our war against poverty.” And as I and other trainees were told, “Fighting poverty isn’t rocket science. It’s tougher.” So much tougher that I find it uncomfortable to say, “I enjoy my job.”

The work is frustrating, often agonizing. More people are hurting than we are helping. They include single moms, homeless children and foster kids who have been abused, traumatized and discarded. Their sin is that they lost life’s biggest lottery by being born into poverty.

May 24, 2016

By Tom Ferraro

DAVIDSONVILLE, Md. – Starting to feel old and bored, I needed a new adventure. So at 67, I enlisted in the “war on poverty” by joining AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service...

By: Amy Busch

Today the Wyoming State Museum hosted a Senior Corps Week proclamation signing event by Governor Matt Mead. More than 40 Senior Corps volunteers gathered on behalf of Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions, and RSVP Volunteers across Wyoming for this special Senior Corps Week event! Governor Mead heard from volunteers from all three programs sharing their stories of service. #SeniorCorpsWorks #IamSeniorCorps!!

May 20, 2016

By: Bill Basl


It is still difficult to comprehend the destruction left behind five years ago when an EF-5 tornado struck Joplin, Mo., and killed 161 people while decimating a quarter of the town. But despite these unimaginable losses, Joplin’s story today is about its recovery and the thousands of volunteers whose service supported it every step of the way.

Severe weather events test the character of communities, and the resilience of Joplin was certainly tested. Thankfully, at its lowest point, the city was reminded of Americans’ giving spirit – the “better angels of our nature” which unite us when tragedy strikes.

Service is part of the fabric of the American story, and we can see the benefits in Joplin as wave after wave of support streamed across the nation to volunteer in the Missouri town in the storm’s aftermath.

National Service Responds

Within eight hours of the tornado’s touch down, a team of national service members from AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team were making their way to the city.

This was the first wave of 425 AmeriCorps members who would come to Joplin and become a pillar of the recovery process. They provided immediate assistance by establishing missing persons centers, removing debris, repairing homes, and managing donations.

Our AmeriCorps members also coordinated with the Missouri Community Service Commission to manage the thousands of volunteers from a cross-section of America – students, church groups, retirees, and others – who needed guidance on how they could help.

May 20, 2016

By:Tess Scannell, former director of Senior Corps 


As we embark upon Senior Corps Week 2016, I am reflecting about the years I served as Director of Senior Corps, a politically-appointed position, from 2001 through 2009.

May 20, 2016

By: CNCS Staff

To mark the one-year anniversary of the May 22 Joplin tornado, we’ll be featuring a variety of content on the serve.gov blog, including Q&As with those who served in the community, like this one.

Question: What went through your mind when you first landed in Joplin?

Simons: Despite having driven through the night to arrive the morning of the 23rd, I felt energized and ready to face the uncertainty that would be coming. I joined my team, who had arrived a few hours before, and stepped up to fill the holes that had not yet been met. While adrenaline was pumping through my veins, I actually felt a sense of calm because my team and I were prepared to get the process of our response started. Things were coming together in those first few hours by simply utilizing the resources and knowledge we had brought from our St. Louis office. We were getting things done.

Question: Tell us about the moment that touched you most.

May 20, 2016

From Our CEO | Wendy Spencer

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By John J Lira, Veterans and Military Families Program Officer The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the National Veterans...

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Tags: AmeriCorps VISTA, poverty, AmeriCorps, homelessness, Community Service, National Service
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