National Service Blog
Posted on Feb 9, 2015
Most low-income families face a litany of financial and employment challenges, which is why Social Innovation Fund (SIF) intermediary the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is expanding its comprehensive Financial Opportunity Centers and using data to inform these expansion efforts.
These 75 centers nationwide represent both a workforce-development and asset-building programming model with services such as job readiness, employment training, financial coaching and help in accessing public benefits.
Through these services, participants can boost monthly net income and obtain critical supports such as health insurance and utility assistance that improve family well-being.
“Low-income, low-wage jobs are not enough to sustain a family,” said Seung Kim, LISC program director for family income and wealth building. “Our strategy is to empower individuals and families through an intentional, integrated services approach.”
These integrated services, or “bundled services,” aim to provide individuals with employment counseling, financial coaching, and access to income supports to help boost steady income, reduce expenses, and build credit and wealth. It is a value-added approach that includes a major emphasis on data and evaluation. For example, one key research question is whether participants receiving multiple services show stronger outcomes than those participating in only one or two activities.
“The data really drive how we understand the program,” Kim said.
For example, job placement rates are higher for those with greater involvement. Individuals with only basic employment services have a 26 percent...
Posted on Mar 28, 2014
Brighter Bites is a new program meant to create behavioral changes through education and access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Its founder Lisa Helfman, a mom of two young boys, found that having more fresh produce at home led her kids to make healthier choices. She has built a team to apply that same principle to Houston’s underserved populations.
Posted on Mar 28, 2014
The idea of combining service and leadership is one that defined the life of Cesar Chavez. He dedicated his life to bringing attention to the poverty of migrant farmworkers and other segments of the population that were marginalized or overlooked. Chavez also showed us that, no matter how humble our beginnings, we can all accomplish great things.
Posted on Mar 25, 2014
As Secretary of Agriculture, I take USDA’s nickname of the “People’s Department”—first coined by President Abraham Lincoln—to heart. Over the past five years, we have worked hard to build upon our tradition of service to the American people, supporting both the farmers and ranchers who grow our food and giving American families confidence that the food they buy at the grocery store is safe, healthy and affordable.
Posted on Mar 24, 2014
As an outreach and communications coordinator with Student Veterans of America, Wright connects nearly 1,000 veterans-focused student organizations across the country to grant and funding sources. This effort ultimately helps strengthen these organizations so they can serve more former service members.
Posted on Mar 21, 2014
I was on active duty in the U.S. Air Force and had just been assigned to Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado when the tragic events of Sept 11th unfolded. Rumor was that President Bush would fly onboard Air Force One to Colorado Springs and command from inside the Cheyenne Mountain Complex. Although that did not occur, I felt honored to serve America then and continue to be honored to this day. Today, I proudly serve the citizens of Birmingham, Alabama, as a “Building Communities, Bettering Lives” AmeriCorps member assigned to a nonprofit called Workshops, Inc.
Posted on Mar 20, 2014
Just two years ago FEMA and the Corporation for National and Community Service’s AmeriCorps NCCC program launched a unique program called FEMA Corps. FEMA Corps provides Americans, age 18-24, with an opportunity to help people recover from disasters. When disaster strikes, FEMA Corps members are on the ground, working hand-in-hand with FEMA to coordinate disaster response.
Posted on Mar 19, 2014
The national service community has much to be proud of when it comes to protecting our outdoors. Among many actions, we restore public lands and preserve parks across in communities across the country. Yesterday this work was front and center at the White House, where a Champions of Change program celebrated local leaders who are working to get young people to learn, play, serve, and work outdoors.
Posted on Mar 14, 2014
In the spring of 2009, the seeds of our organization—and the seeds for a healthy future— were planted by two important White House initiatives. That March, shovels dug in to break ground on the White House Kitchen Garden, and a few weeks later, President Obama signed the bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act into law. Motivated to reverse the startling trend in childhood obesity and usher in a new era of service, FoodCorps' founding team was inspired by these two events and saw in them an opportunity to engage AmeriCorps in building a more sustainable, healthful and equitable food system.
Posted on Mar 14, 2014
The future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands dirty. Once you have real, it’s hard to go back to fake. All around the nation, small farms, edible schoolyards, farmers markets and gardens are popping up. People are eating food that did not travel miles and miles away but food grown right down the street or at least 20 miles from their homes. Some places bring real food right to your community like Real Food Farm, a project of Civic Works Inc., an organic and sustainable farm in the heart of Baltimore, MD.
Posted on Mar 12, 2014
Before the start of each Cooking Matters class, AmeriCorps member Veronica Palladino has to make sure she has all of her people and supplies prepped and ready to go. She is responsible for recruiting enough volunteers for each class, training the volunteers, and coordinating with the site to make sure they are ready for the course. She also must have enough groceries and equipment to make the recipes for the day.