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 Feb 7, 2014
Whenever the talk begins about our nation making quality education a priority, it’s no surprise that some may be cynical. After all, we have too many children entering school unprepared, too many falling behind early, and too many dropping out before graduation. Why can’t we change this story? The truth is, we can – and we are.
Posted on Feb 5, 2014
AmeriCorps member Margaret Montague is used to having a steady stream of students come to see her for college advice in her office at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, VA, just outside the nation's capital.
Posted on Feb 3, 2014
Can a simple mentoring relationship rescue a life in peril? In a world with few easy solutions, there are innumerable stories -- and a new survey -- that demonstrate this could be possible. Let's start with one of these stories.
Posted on Jan 31, 2014
Since 1994, over 23,000 YouthBuild AmeriCorps members have served their communities by building over 5,000 units of affordable housing for homeless and low income families in over 150 urban and rural communities. They gutted and rehabbed abandoned buildings that were blights on their neighborhoods, and built whole blocks of new affordable homes.
Posted on Jan 31, 2014
When President Lyndon B. Johnson initiated the “War on Poverty” during his 1964 State of the Union address, he described one of the initiatives as “a National Service Corps to help the economically handicapped of our own country as the Peace Corps now helps those abroad.” By the end of that year, the first class of Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) was on its way to helping the poor in our nation’s most underserved areas.
Posted on Jan 28, 2014
Tonight millions of Americans will watch President Obama deliver his fifth State of the Union Address. One AmeriCorps alum will have a choice seat for all the action. Kathy Hollowell-Makle, who served for two years as an AmeriCorps member with Teach For America, will be a special guest of First Lady Michelle Obama.
Posted on Jan 24, 2014
After watching Hurricane Katrina devastate the gulf coast, I wanted to help. My brother told me about a Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) program called AmeriCorps and said I should look into it. I went online and applied to a few programs, but was hoping I'd get the chance to make a difference in the gulf.
Posted on Jan 17, 2014
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dedicated his life to improving the world in which he lived—and challenged the rest of us to do the same. He not only championed the equal rights but also equal access to economic opportunity for all Americans. This year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service will honor his legacy as hundreds of thousands of Americans pay tribute by serving their communities on Monday, Jan. 20.
Posted on Jan 10, 2014
“I am a guidance counselor and a teacher, den mother, referee, and confidant. I am a newspaper reporter, editor, and printer. I am a public relations man, chauffer, and pawn shop operator. I am also a scribe, medic, friend, buddy, and informer. I’m the low man on the totem pole, but the buck stops with me. I’m the middle man between Corpsman and staff, between staff and staff, and between Corpsmen and Corpsmen.”
Posted on Jan 8, 2014
As Christina Bodison navigated a demanding course load at Howard University, the former biology major actively searched for ways to be of service to others. First, she mentored high school students during an alternative spring break program in Detroit. Then, she researched HIV, AIDS, and the socioeconomic factors that bar access to health care. All of this compelled Christina to join the AmeriCorps VISTA program and the fight against poverty.