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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 Feb 3, 2014
    By David B. Shapiro and Wendy Spencer


    Can a simple mentoring relationship rescue a life in peril? In a world with few easy solutions, there are innumerable stories -- and a new survey -- that demonstrate this could be possible. Let's start with one of these stories.
    Tags: Mentoring
  • Posted on Jan 31, 2014
    By Dorothy Stoneman


    Since 1994, over 23,000 YouthBuild AmeriCorps members have served their communities by building over 5,000 units of affordable housing for homeless and low income families in over 150 urban and rural communities. They gutted and rehabbed abandoned buildings that were blights on their neighborhoods, and built whole blocks of new affordable homes.
    Tags: YouthBuild
  • Posted on Jan 31, 2014
    By Greg Tucker


    When President Lyndon B. Johnson initiated the “War on Poverty” during his 1964 State of the Union address, he described one of the initiatives as “a National Service Corps to help the economically handicapped of our own country as the Peace Corps now helps those abroad.” By the end of that year, the first class of Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) was on its way to helping the poor in our nation’s most underserved areas.
  • Posted on Jan 28, 2014
    By Sandy Scott


    Tonight millions of Americans will watch President Obama deliver his fifth State of the Union Address. One AmeriCorps alum will have a choice seat for all the action. Kathy Hollowell-Makle, who served for two years as an AmeriCorps member with Teach For America, will be a special guest of First Lady Michelle Obama.
  • Posted on Jan 24, 2014
    By Ben Ballerstein


    After watching Hurricane Katrina devastate the gulf coast, I wanted to help. My brother told me about a Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) program called AmeriCorps and said I should look into it. I went online and applied to a few programs, but was hoping I'd get the chance to make a difference in the gulf.
  • Posted on Jan 17, 2014
    By Wendy Spencer and Jonathan Greenblatt


    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dedicated his life to improving the world in which he lived—and challenged the rest of us to do the same. He not only championed the equal rights but also equal access to economic opportunity for all Americans. This year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service will honor his legacy as hundreds of thousands of Americans pay tribute by serving their communities on Monday, Jan. 20.
  • Posted on Jan 10, 2014
    By Lamar Marchese


    “I am a guidance counselor and a teacher, den mother, referee, and confidant. I am a newspaper reporter, editor, and printer. I am a public relations man, chauffer, and pawn shop operator. I am also a scribe, medic, friend, buddy, and informer. I’m the low man on the totem pole, but the buck stops with me. I’m the middle man between Corpsman and staff, between staff and staff, and between Corpsmen and Corpsmen.”
  • Posted on Jan 8, 2014
    By Dana Forde


    As Christina Bodison navigated a demanding course load at Howard University, the former biology major actively searched for ways to be of service to others. First, she mentored high school students during an alternative spring break program in Detroit. Then, she researched HIV, AIDS, and the socioeconomic factors that bar access to health care. All of this compelled Christina to join the AmeriCorps VISTA program and the fight against poverty.
  • Posted on Dec 31, 2013
    By Dana Forde


    This past year, we engaged millions of Americans in high-impact service, meeting pressing needs in communities across the nation. Working hand in hand with thousands of local partners, our members and volunteers improved lives, expanded economic opportunity, and strengthened communities. As 2013 draws to a close, let’s take a look back at some of our favorite national service moments.
  • Posted on Dec 23, 2013
    By Zack Rosenberg


    We always believed that once you became a homeowner, you were insulated from homelessness or hunger, unless a health or work catastrophe occurred, but seeing the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina changed our view of security in America.


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