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 Oct 1, 2009
    Karen Ehlert is sure “it’s pretty darn cold’ in the mountains of Afghanistan in the winter. With her 27 year old son, Ted, serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, Karen decided she wanted to help his squad. She received an e-mail from Ted with an idea – knitted helmet liners. They cover the head and neck, leaving only the eyes and nose exposed. “They are not exactly a fashion statement, but I can imagine they’re nice and warm” Karen said. “I do a lot of sewing, a lot of crafting, and I don’t think he knew I couldn’t knit,” Karen commented of her son’s suggestion.
  • Posted on Oct 1, 2009
    I attend Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, Virginia, where I am a member of the varsity cheerleading squad. This year I helped organize my team to participate in a community service project to remember September 11. Because I volunteer at Evercare Hospice & Palliative Care, my volunteer coordinator, Jen Jackson suggested my team decorate flower pots to give to nursing home residents at Sunrise Senior Living Center in Leesburg, Virginia. I talked to my team and coach, and they thought it was a great idea.
  • Posted on Sep 29, 2009
    Can you sing, dance, or act? Then you can serve! Usher’s New Look has encouraged youth to answer President Obama’s call for service and change. At Camp New Look 2009, young people explored different ways to address issues in their community using their particular talents. It is based on the “Issue Action Power” model; an exclusive song, by the same name, was presented to the audience at the camp’s annual closing event. Download the song (MP3)
  • Posted on Sep 29, 2009
    One of the most impactful and rewarding ways to serve any community, but particularly my community in Rochester NY, is to mentor a youth. I myself am a mentor in the Mentoring Children of Prisoners Program (a program of Compeer Rochester), which is a federally funded mentoring initiative for youth who have a parent or guardian who is incarcerated.
  • Posted on Sep 29, 2009
    UPS employee volunteers transformed a small patch of unused land into a garden full of hearty produce: corn, onions, okra, squash, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, beans, sweet potatoes and watermelon now fill a space that was previously vacant and unattractive. A team of employees from two UPS departments collaborated to create this garden for Atlanta’s Positive Outlook Foundation, Inc. (POFI), a transitional housing program that assists homeless families working toward obtaining permanent housing. UPS is a HandsOn Network supporter.
  • Posted on Sep 29, 2009
    The Northeast Ecological Corridor, protected as a Nature Reserve in April 2008, lies between the towns of Luquillo and Fajardo on Puerto Rico's northeastern shoreline. Its 3,200 acres include forests, wetlands, beaches, coral communities, a bioluminescent lagoon and one of the hottest surfing spots on Puerto Rico's east coast: "La Selva" (the jungle). The corridor is home to over 850 species, 50 of them endemic and threatened, and its beaches are one of the three most important nesting sites for the leatherback sea turtle in the U.S.
  • Posted on Sep 29, 2009
    Students from 11 New York City schools competed in the first Teen Iron Chef competition of culinary skills and talent organized by HealthCorps®, Family Cook Productions and Urban Assembly School of Music and Art. Guest Judges included: Broadway composer Stepp Stewart; Chef Chris Cheung; School Food Chef William Dougherty, and an array of educators and culinarians. Four teams of four students created four dishes representing four cultures. The teams were judged on a variety of criteria, including: knife skills, food safety, organization, entertainment value, and taste and presentation.
  • Posted on Sep 22, 2009
    As the National Day of Service and Remembrance came to a close, Sprite renewed the urgent call for volunteerism across America by launching the Sprite Step Off Service Challenge on the Mall of Washington on September 12.
  • Posted on Sep 22, 2009
    On September 11th, the 570 children in one of our neighborhood schools folded and prepared to send more than 2000 pocket-sized American flags.  The Flags were folded into the traditional triangle and combined with a note from each student, and will be sent to service men and women serving overseas.  We chose this day to honor the military men and women who sacrifice so much so that we may enjoy the blessings and freedoms of living in the United States of America.
  • Posted on Sep 22, 2009
    When I retired nearly four years ago, I never dreamed I would have so many interesting jobs and experiences. I am part of the Jefferson County SCSEP program and have been assigned to the American Red Cross Service Center in Bessemer, Alabama. My community service assignment is to act as receptionist. However, I am now a volunteer and am receiving training in "Mass Sheltering", "Community Disaster Relief," "Client Casework" and "Health and Safety". I believe this training will prepare me to make a difference in the lives of people in emergency situations.

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