National Service Blog
Posted on Feb 11, 2016
Rebecca is confined to a wheelchair and has some difficulty speaking due to her Cerebral Palsy. Three days a week, however, she has been a devoted volunteer for the Salinas Family YMCA in California for over two years. She greets people with a wonderful smile and her entire body, joking with “the regulars” and exemplifying the kind of welcoming atmosphere that YMCA wishes to offer its communities.
“I wanted to do different kinds of work and to help people,” said Rebecca when asked why she chose to volunteer with the Salinas Community YMCA. Working at the YMCA “makes me very happy. I have a lot of friends. I help people out. People are nice to me. I have Cerebral Palsy and I am in a wheelchair. I have a speech problem.” Because of the Y, “I’m more comfortable talking with other people. The YMCA has given me more self confidence. I’m more comfortable with people. My mom is happy that I work at the YMCA.”
This spring, Rebecca made a step toward independence and moved into an apartment with a roommate. After working at the Y for a while, “it made me think. Think I could live on my own.”
“Rebecca helps us achieve our goal to build positive relationships with the members we see each day,” says Dave Kretsinger, executive director. “Our members look forward to seeing and interacting with Rebecca. She comes to work with a positive attitude and is a role model for other staff members. Rebecca and our members celebrate holidays, birthday and...
Posted on Jul 11, 2013
While Pedro Rosario’s love of animals was the impetus behind a successful 16-year career at New York City Animal Care and Control, the realities of the job meant he had to witness the euthanizing of many unadopted animals. Rosario believed he could do more to save animals on his own, leading him to create the nonprofit New Beginning Animal Rescue (NBAR) in the East Bronx in 2012.
Posted on Jul 10, 2013
When 10-year-old Autumn Blinn’s grandmother taught her to sew, they decided to make a pillow for her grandfather John Santiago, who undergoes kidney dialysis three times a week at a Utica, NY, hospital. After John asked her to make another to rest his arm on during his treatments, Autumn was inspired to use her skills to make “Pillows of Love” for as many people as possible.
Posted on Jul 9, 2013
Hurricane Sandy not only caused physical damage but wreaked havoc on many long-established community connections. In Rockaway Park, water damage to the St. Camillus-St. Virgilius Parish (SCSVP) gym scuttled a weekly gathering for children and adults with disabilities. But the community behind Rockaway Special Athletes worked to keep the Monday night tradition alive.“Parents kept telling me, ‘The kids need their Mondays back,’” said Joe Featherston, the group’s founder. “For some, it had been part of their routine for 16 years. We had to figure out a way to keep it going.”
Posted on Jul 8, 2013
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is again collaborating with the New York Yankees during its fifth-annual HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) to highlight acts of goodwill and service in the community.Individuals and groups recognized during HOPE Week will be honored by the team during a Yankees game this week, and team members will attempt to personally connect with them in locations that honor the spirit of their service.
Posted on Jul 3, 2013
The Statue of Liberty withstood the force of Hurricane Sandy when it struck last fall, but storm damage closed Liberty Island to tourists just weeks after renovations were completed to the area.
Posted on Jun 28, 2013
Have you ever had one of those days where you can't stop smiling? This month was filled with them. Support for national service grows stronger and stronger; during the past two weeks, we've seen this momentum build in several major arenas. Here's the latest news:
Posted on Jun 25, 2013
Did you know students can experience learning loss when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer months? On average, students lose the equivalent of two months of math and reading skills during the summer months. More than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities.
Posted on Jun 24, 2013
This week, I had the opportunity to speak at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service here in Washington, DC. Sponsored by Points of Light, the conference is the world’s largest annual gathering of volunteering and service leaders and supporters.I also announced that President Obama and the First Lady will host a celebration at the White House, on July 15, 2013, in honor of the 5,000th Daily Point of Light award.
Posted on Jun 21, 2013
A year ago, I visited the Qi Life Center, a veterans' transition home in Washington, DC. There I met a neatly dressed gentleman who was focused intently at a computer screen. "That's Ken Harris," the center's director said. "When he came to us, he was lost. He's a veteran who has been homeless for almost 20 years since he was discharged. He became homeless the day he left the military."
Posted on Jun 7, 2013
A construction project in the shadow of the Washington Monument brought 40 AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA national service members to Washington, DC. to assemble frames and construct accessible ramps for new Habitat for Humanity homes during the 2013 Veterans Build on the Mall June 2-5.