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 Aug 21, 2009
    Once a month several men from my church and I come to cook the dinner for 35-40 men, women, and children at the 8th Street Mission in West Memphis, Arkansas. We try to serve the same meal every month (spaghetti, meat sauce, French bread, green beans and bacon, salad, dessert, and lemonade). Once a week, I try to serve desert (fresh chocolate chip cookies and oranges) to the men and help with dishes.
  • Posted on Aug 21, 2009
    As a communications instructor at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, Tenn., I am always looking for new ways to reinvent my communication courses for first and second-year students. In September 2008, I took 10 students to National Public Lands Day at our local state park, Bledsoe Creek State Park.
  • 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.”

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