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 Mar 5, 2014
    By Wendy Spencer

     

    Our nation is more health-conscious and health-aware than ever, but for many there are still obstacles – an untreated disease, obesity, or lack of healthy food -- that prevent them from living their lives to the fullest. That needs to change, and our AmeriCorps members are working to make that happen every day.
  • Posted on Mar 4, 2014
    By Michael Smith

     

    Nearly five years after President Obama announced the creation of the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) in a ceremony at the White House, the program has achieved amazing progress. Its portfolio includes more than a half billion dollars of cross-sector investments in effective community solutions. Many already show promising early results. Nonprofits are establishing new connections and building capacity that will benefit the entire social sector and the country. And the SIF is accomplishing this in a way that demonstrates the importance of combining innovation, evaluation, and scale to accelerate the pace of change.
    Tags: Grants
  • Posted on Feb 28, 2014
    By Tayler Stuger

     

    Last year I served as a City Year AmeriCorps member at DC Scholars Stanton Elementary School in Southeast Washington, DC. In my role, I tutored and mentored the students at Stanton, and worked with teachers and administrators to help turn around one of the District’s lowest performing schools. I’m proud to be part of Stanton’s turnaround success story. This year I lead a team of 18 City Year AmeriCorps members, all serving through the School Turnaround AmeriCorps grant.
  • Posted on Feb 28, 2014
    By Dana Forde

     

    Lacking significant support from family, then-high school student Amanda Parris didn’t believe college was an option. But her enrollment in a dropout prevention program led to night classes at a local community college and awakened a desire to give back to others.
  • Posted on Feb 28, 2014
    By Michael Brown and Jim Balfanz

     

    At many low-performing, high-poverty schools across the country, graduating from high school is a 50-50 proposition. Because of the scale of the challenges faced by students and teachers, extra help is needed to ensure students receive additional personalized support
  • Posted on Feb 28, 2014
    By Scott Cowen

     

    When I get invited to speak at conferences and events, people typically want to hear about the rebirth of Tulane, the story of how Tulane came back stronger and better after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. How did we manage to increase retention and graduation rates, raise student selectivity and invigorate Tulane's national reputation only a few years after the storm? While a number of decisions and people contributed to these successes, I never fail to highlight the single most important factor: our profound commitment to public service and civic engagement.
  • Posted on Feb 27, 2014
    By Wendy Spencer

     

    During your life’s journey, I am sure that you can remember times when your path was made clearer or your baggage lighter because of someone who helped along the way. These thoughts came to mind today as President Obama outlined his plan to expand opportunity for boys and young men of color through the My Brother’s Keeper initiative and a new federal task force on which I am honored to serve.
  • Posted on Feb 27, 2014
    By Dana Forde

     

    Before becoming an AmeriCorps member, John Laderer yearned for a clear direction. “I was somebody who was just floating by in high school,” he said. “I really wasn’t learning…and my reading, writing, and math scores reflected that.”
  • Posted on Feb 26, 2014
    By CNCS Staff

     

    March has been designated Healthy Futures Month for the AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary celebration. So, what does Healthy Futures mean?...
  • Posted on Feb 25, 2014
    By Michael Smith

     

    In 2009, President Obama created the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) with a simple goal: Find solutions that work and provide the resources and spotlight needed so they can work for more people. Nearly five years later, the Social Innovation Fund represents more than a half billion dollars in public and private funds that are evaluating, expanding, and igniting innovative community solutions nationwide.

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