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 Aug 12, 2009
    When I received an email from US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack regarding the President and first Lady’s summer of service initiative, United We Serve, I thought, “Oh no, now what?” As I read about the goals of the program, I wasn’t sure if I would have either the time or the energy to do anything. But, as I thought about how lucky I am at this time to have a job, a roof over my head and a reliable vehicle, it seemed very little to ask me to give up one afternoon. Little did I know how much value I would find in giving up one afternoon of my time.
  • Posted on Aug 12, 2009
    Among the many difficulties facing the Appalachian communities of Southwest Virginia is the quality of education. With limited funding, many primary and high schools struggle to meet the Standards of Learning (SOL), set forth by the state of Virginia in accordance with the No Child Left Behind Act. In recent years, the rural elementary schools of Russell County have sought to incorporate an environmental education aspect in their curriculum. They’ve experienced difficulty in implementing the project due to lack of resources and few qualified instructors.
  • Posted on Aug 11, 2009
  • Posted on Aug 11, 2009
    Parts of the 30th Street Industrial Corridor in the heart of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, recently got a bit of a face lift. Nearly 40 volunteers donned gloves, grabbed shovels and rakes, and hauled trash bag after trash bag to dumpsters in an effort to clean up streets, alleys, and abandoned properties in the area.
  • Posted on Aug 11, 2009
    The North Riverside Public Library, the heart of the Village of North Riverside, IL, had a huge project that needed to be completed as quickly as possible in order to make its DVD collection available to the patrons with the least amount of interruption and inconvenience. The time consuming project consisted of transferring over 1300 DVDs from old CD cases to new, more durable security-lined cases. How could this project be accomplished with the small staff working on the project only during slivers of time between their other projects?
  • Posted on Aug 11, 2009
    On August 4th, six of our Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) volunteers served 18 hours assisting with the annual “National Night Out.” This community event provides our entire community with heightened crime and drug prevention awareness; generates support for and participation in local anticrime programs; strengthens neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and sends a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fightin
  • Posted on Aug 11, 2009
    Linda Loi has been volunteering in the Golden Gate National Park for the last five years. First in the Urban Trail Blazers Program and most recently with the program Inspiring Young Emerging Leaders, Loi has dedicated hours of her time each week to giving back, not just environmentally but also as a youth leader and role model to others in her programs.
  • Posted on Aug 10, 2009
  • Posted on Aug 10, 2009
  • Posted on Aug 10, 2009
    For my birthday on July 12th, I invited about 20 friends to join me for a fun beach day by the ocean in Waikiki. I requested that instead of gifts and flower leis, people please bring cans of food to be donated to my church’s food pantry. Much to my surprise I got a good turn out and a laundry basket full of cans (SPAM).

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