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 Jul 27, 2009
    In February of 2007, my concept of the Red Cross was forever changed. I am a small town worker from Richland Center, Wisconsin. I had just finished removing the last tray of spice cookies from the oven when I realized that the smell of smoke was overcoming the sweet scent of cinnamon and nutmeg. I soon discovered the laundry room was billowing with dense black smoke. By the time I had picked up my essential belongings and rushed out the door, the flames were visible from the road.
  • Posted on Jul 27, 2009
    Grand County, Utah is in Rural South East Utah with a population of nearly 9000. Grand County relies heavily on the tourism trade, which means some parents have to work two or three jobs to support their families.This scenario has been the case for many, many years. But now with the weak economy and people not traveling or eating out as much, and as withmany of the other industries hurt by theeconomy, Grand County has many more peoplestruggling to make ends meet.
  • Posted on Jul 24, 2009
    Growing up the “son of a preacher man” I was always a part of church and always surrounded by people that helped me grow into the man that I am today. My love for serving others started when I was in third grade with a community recycling program and has grown into a passion and longing for loving others.
  • Posted on Jul 24, 2009
    On June 14, 2009 groups of volunteers emerged to “Go Beyond” and help clean and restore the baseball field and park surrounding the Roller and Recreation Facility in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Posted on Jul 24, 2009
    The state of Oklahoma knows too well the devastation that disasters can cause. Whatever type of disaster, such as tornadoes, flooding, or terrorist attacks (such as the bombing of the Murrah Building) the physical, emotional and financial harm to people and property can be enormous.
  • Posted on Jul 24, 2009
    Columbia Community Montessori in Columbia, Missouri launched The Young Skillet Summer Camp in July of 2008 with a group of 16 children (between the ages of 4-13 years old) who attended for no charge. Over the six-week session, our first group of Skilleteers filmed and starred in a children's cooking show that airs on CAT TV in Columbia. Children learned how to shoot cooking scenes, conduct interviews, and produce documentary-style film segments about the gardening and cooking skills they learned.
  • Posted on Jul 24, 2009
    Working as an AmeriCorps VISTA Leader for a state-wide project while still serving in a school district coordinating projects and facilitating a team can be a challenging, but the rewards are plentiful. The Wisconsin DPI VISTA Project seeks “to build capacity for family involvement in low-income schools and communities by implementing a research-based, sustainable process for partnerships.” In the School District of Rhinelander, I am in the middle of a summer program which just might be my most sustainable idea thus far.
  • Posted on Jul 23, 2009
    The NFL Players Association and its players have joined President Barack Obama in his mission to build a stronger nation through the “United We Serve” initiative, a national effort designed to encourage more Americans to serve their communities.
  • Posted on Jul 23, 2009
    In the summer of 2006, Marco and Jennifer Chiappetta got married and settled in Washington Heights—the neighborhood they both grew up in. While taking walks together, they were saddened by the sight of local schoolyards that had been abandoned by children and occupied by troublemakers and drug users.
  • Posted on Jul 23, 2009
    Kevin B. is an adult learner. Pat B. is a literacy tutor. Here is our story. “I am Kevin B. I am a troubled reader and I have decided to get help. I have been working with Pat. She has been helping me a lot. I am 23 years old and it is time for me to get my life together. So I am. One step at a time.”

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