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National Service Blog

  • Posted on May 20, 2016

    Earlier this week I traveled to Joplin, Missouri, for a trip I will never forget. The Joplin story is one of a community that that never gave up, that demonstrated steely resolve in the face of tragedy, and that is coming back stronger and better than before. It is also the story of volunteers – 130,000 strong and counting – whose selfless service has lifted up an entire community when it needed it most.

    For many residents, the one year anniversary was a painful reminder of the devastating EF-5 tornado that ripped through Joplin, killing 161 people, destroying 7,500 homes and buildings, and leaving a trail of destruction through the heart of the city.

    A destroyed home displays a thank you message by Joplin resididents to volunteers.

    But even more so, the anniversary was a symbol of hope, pride, optimism, and unity. The people of Joplin did not let themselves be defined by what happened on May 22, 2011. Instead they defined themselves by what happened after - their extraordinary resilience and desire to rebuild.

    As President Obama told the graduating seniors at Joplin High School, “Here in Joplin, you've also learned that we have the power to grow...

  • 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.
  • Posted on Aug 19, 2009
    The key to a good story web is to give the yarn plenty of slack when you toss it across the circle. Holding on to your end, unspool it a bit before you throw it to Quincy, or Josanna, or Angel, or any of the 5th graders at Adams Middle School with hands stretched above their heads, anxious to share their insights on the book we’ve been discussing, Joyce Hansen’s “The Gift Giver.”
  • Posted on Aug 19, 2009
    “We’re bored!” This is what we heard from a group of middle school students after our initial meeting to brainstorm a summer youth program for Ames, Iowa. That settled it. We needed to find something for them to do.
  • Posted on Aug 19, 2009
    As part of United We Serve’s Energy and Enviornment Week, the Community Action Agency of Delaware County (CAADC) in Pennsyvania conducted a two-week volunteer initiative. Volunteers came from across the country to make minor home repairs, renovations, and weatherization. Over 200 youth volunteers performed 6,750 hours of work on 33 homes the first week.

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