National Service Blog

  • Posted on Aug 20, 2015

    How well or poorly a child reads in the third grade is a good predictor of his or her future success. Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grantee Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) is helping catalyze action and investment in pre-K-3 education to better prepare San Mateo County third-graders for reading and continued achievement.

    The eight-year-old, Mountain View, CA-based SVCF is the largest community foundation in the United States, with more than $6 billion in assets under management. It serves San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, focusing on solving the most challenging problems, improving quality of life, and inspiring greater civic participation.

    Although it’s home to the prosperous high-tech hub of Silicon Valley, the region faces stark income inequality and the socioeconomic challenges that result from it. Forty-three percent of San Mateo County’s third-grade students are not reading at grade level, rising to over 60 percent for Latino, African-American, and Pacific Islander third-graders.

    Recognizing the importance of reading proficiency to closing the achievement gap, in 2012 SVCF helped convene a group of county leaders and community-...

  • Posted on Aug 24, 2009
  • Posted on Aug 21, 2009
    Once a month several men from my church and I come to cook the dinner for 35-40 men, women, and children at the 8th Street Mission in West Memphis, Arkansas. We try to serve the same meal every month (spaghetti, meat sauce, French bread, green beans and bacon, salad, dessert, and lemonade). Once a week, I try to serve desert (fresh chocolate chip cookies and oranges) to the men and help with dishes.
  • Posted on Aug 21, 2009
    As a communications instructor at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, Tenn., I am always looking for new ways to reinvent my communication courses for first and second-year students. In September 2008, I took 10 students to National Public Lands Day at our local state park, Bledsoe Creek State Park.
  • Posted on Aug 21, 2009
    Good nutrition is important for everyone, but incorporating high-quality food, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, can be challenging for people as they age and their appetites diminish. Local food—nutritious, delicious and increasingly available at Farmers Markets around the country—may be one answer to the problem.
  • Posted on Aug 21, 2009
    This summer we took the Collegiate United Methodist Church Middle School Youth Group on a mission trip to assist with tornado and flood damage clean-up and reconstruction in northeastern Iowa. The Hazelton area was hit by the same tornado that destroyed Parkersburg, Iowa, in May 2008. Shortly afterwards, the area received roughly 20 inches of rain in the span of one weekthat resulted in widespread flooding.
  • Posted on Aug 20, 2009
    At Intel, we strive to be an asset to our communities around the world. Under the Intel Involved Skills Based Volunteer program, employees are encouraged to use their professional skills to make a sustainable impact in their communities. One example is a team of volunteers from Intel IT in Massachusetts, who are assisting Massachusetts Audubon’s Drumlin Farm to identify, support, and implement a robust technology solution for use in a nature center setting.
  • Posted on Aug 20, 2009
    It was our second day on the Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity site in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and already the house that my Thrivent Financial for Lutherans colleagues and I were constructing was taking shape. What was simply a foundation when we arrived the day beforenow had a floor and walls.
  • Posted on Aug 20, 2009
    The Wood County 4-H program in Ohio is a key leader in the area of service learning through the art of quilting. For the past five years 4-H members and volunteers have created more than 110 quilts for cancer patients, domestic violence victims, teenage mothers, and individuals in need identified by 4-H members.
  • Posted on Aug 20, 2009
    “STATE YOUR NAME!” was barked at Dakota, who was sitting on a hay mattress in the jail at Fort Clinch. The Sergeant, as we were instructed to call him, was using a feather pen to write the thirteen names of my group on a pass to notify the gate keeper that we had permission to leave the fort. By this point Dakota did not question him and simply stated his name. We had just spent the day with the Sergeant, learning about life in 1864, from someone who was “living” in 1864.
  • Posted on Aug 20, 2009
    McKenna, Long & Aldridge Washington Partner Cass Christenson and Associate Michael Alexander recently won a social security disability appeal forMs. Thomas, a pro-bono client who was unable to navigate through the paperwork and legalities involved in such an appeal. In 2006, Ms. Thomas filed her own disability claim, but she was denied benefits. She then filed a request for reconsideration, which was also denied. Due to lack of procedural understanding, Ms. Thomas failed to assert a timely request for appeal and was left with only food stamps to sustain her.


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