National Service Blog
Posted on Mar 6, 2014
For too many years we have addressed the equation of “fit body and fit minds” as requiring two separate interventions. For the mind, we’ve looked toward mentoring. For the body, we’ve turned to physical activity and health education. But our AmeriCorps investment proves that a national service member can be the catalyst to fit bodies and fit minds. Our formula has been to train our AmeriCorps members on how to use the power of coaching to build relationships with at-risk youth that inspire their healthy futures.
Up2Us launched Coach Across America through an AmeriCorps grant in 2009. It is a groundbreaking movement that challenges young adults to spend a year of service as coaches in sports-based youth development organizations in the most underserved communities in America.
Our definition of coach goes beyond just the sports aspect. Our coach is a mentor who understands that the life skills taught through sports can propel children to stay in school, exercise regularly, and set positive goals for their future.
As I’ve traveled the nation, I’ve seen the power of AmeriCorps through Coach Across America.
- A swimming coach who challenged a teenage male who was tough...
Posted on Jul 13, 2013
The suicide of 11-year-old Ty Smalley three years ago shined a spotlight on the bullying he had endured for years at his school in a small Oklahoma town. A father’s grief led Kurt Smalley to begin a personal crusade to end bullying by taking a leadership role in the Stand for the Silent initiative that sprang from his son’s death.
Posted on Jul 12, 2013
Birthdays are big events for most people, but that’s not a given for those who are homeless and have few, if any, resources for life’s luxuries. Knowing that some kids won’t be able to celebrate this special day led three friends to create Birthday Wishes to spread a little joy to young children in homeless shelters.
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.