AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary Toolkit: Get Involved!

Table of Contents

  1. Toolkit Overview
  2. Branding
  3. Engagement
  4. Communications
  5. CNCS Resources
  6. Monthly Highlights
  7. Toolkits
  8. AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary Messaging
  9. Appendix

Download PDF Version


Toolkit Overview - AmeriCorps20 Toolkit: Get Involved!

The following AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary Toolkit: Get Involved! is a resource for AmeriCorps state commissions, grantees, and project sponsors that can be used to equip AmeriCorps members, alumni, community organizations, and leaders to highlight the past and future impact of AmeriCorps during this yearlong celebration.  

To help with these goals the toolkit provides:

  • Engagement and communication tools to highlight the great work AmeriCorps has accomplished in your community, state, and nation.
  • Monthly opportunities for State Commissions, grantees, and project sponsors to amplify their AmeriCorps association via engagements, digital media, and other channels.

These engagement and communication strategies are great ways to solidify AmeriCorps’ role in your community and to expand who you work with in your area. 

National Swearing In Ceremony

Though AmeriCorps programs will have a menu of options from which to choose how to engage in the anniversary-related events throughout the year, the vision for the culminating event on September 12, 2014 is a simultaneous swearing-in of AmeriCorps members in every state and territory, on the same day, at the same time. This replicates the first swearing-in ceremony done on September 12, 1994. This event will feature a “sworn-in again” component for AmeriCorps alums who  can recommit their pledge.

This nationwide ceremony also will include service champions, a bipartisan group of elected leaders, and partners from the private and public sectors.

Month-by-Month: Get Involved!

Throughout the year-long celebration, CNCS will highlight a specific monthly focus that programs can choose to amplify if it connects to their issue area. One source for the monthly menu will be the CNCS focus areas (see chart below).

Month 
SeptemberAnniversary Launch
OctoberNational Service and Inclusion
NovemberVolunteer Mobilization
DecemberPublic-Private Partnerships
JanuaryEconomic Opportunity
FebruaryEducation
MarchHealthy Futures
AprilEnvironmental Stewardship
MaySenior Service
JuneRecruitment
JulyVeterans and Military Families
AugustDisaster Services
SeptemberLifetime of Service

Throughout this yearlong anniversary we hope you will:

  • Brand your AmeriCorps program and its impact using the requirements below,
  • Engage your community around the focus areas above using the techniques suggested,
  • Communicate the focus areas to wider groups of people through traditional and digital media, and
  • Share your AmeriCorps alums' stories and your current members' impact with pressoffice@cns.gov.

Back to Top


Branding

The year-long celebration is an ideal opportunity to ensure that every audience with which we connect knows that their community is benefiting from AmeriCorps. This also is the moment to ensure all grantees are following the branding requirements.

By January 2014, all grantees must verify that all digital properties, media materials, and other relevant items reflect their association with AmeriCorps. Here are prime examples of how to execute the branding association:

  • The standard AmeriCorps logo (or 20th Anniversary logo) prominently displayed on websites, most notably on the home page and “about us” sections.
  • The standardized language used to describe the program in press releases and other public documents will identify the organization’s AmeriCorps affiliation, and, when appropriate, directly reference the 20th anniversary.
  • All gear for AmeriCorps-funded programs will include the AmeriCorps logo (grantees have the option of using the commemorative 20th Anniversary logo, although it is not required, as the principal objective is strong brand association).
  • All sites where AmeriCorps members are serving, especially those to which elected officials or private-sector partners are invited to visit, should have signs or posters that feature the grantee and AmeriCorps logos

Back to Top


Engagement

Outreach and engagement activities are ideal ways to energize those who already are part of the AmeriCorps family and bring more individuals to our community, such as grantees/sponsors, AmeriCorps alums, elected and public officials at all levels of government, community members, and corporate supporters.  Some ways to do this are:

  • Host community AmeriCorps forums to share the AmeriCorps story, experience, and impact.
    • Example: The Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service is an opportunity for Mayor’s to spotlight their impact and thank those who serve.  One way to do so is for a Mayor to invite national service programs (and their members and organization’s board of directors) to City Hall for a public roundtable to discuss how they address city problems.  Find out more at: http://www.nationalservice.gov/special-initiatives/mayors-day-recognition
  • Line up public speaking opportunities with community and civic groups, education institutions, and faith-based organizations to share your stories with community leaders.
    • Example: Executive Directors and CEOs of nonprofit organizations incorporate the accomplishments and impact stories of their AmeriCorps members into their already existing speaking opportunities and schedule new opportunities to do so.
  • Engage local and national celebrities in your various events and activities to lend credibility and provide wider interest.
    • Example: Invite a professional athlete from your state to come and do a keynote speech to open a service event you are hosting.
  • Host community service projects on the topics for each month.
    • Example: Organize a service project in January in honor of MLK Day.
  • Partner with AmeriCorps Alums in your area and organize alumni reunions at your organization or agency to learn what past members are doing now and to gather stories.
    • Example: Organize a meet and greet so current AmeriCorps members meet with former AmeriCorps members and get advice about next steps after AmeriCorps.  Include a panel discussion as a portion of the program. 
  • Announce a new AmeriCorps partnership in a key focus area.
    • Example: An AmeriCorps program develops a new partnership that puts 20 AmeriCorps members in afterschool programs across the county.  Organize an official announcement event and invite press.
  • Coordinate with CNCS to announce a grant with elected leaders and others.
    • Example: If your AmeriCorps program is new, organize an official announcement event, coordinate with CNCS, and invite elected officials.
  • Amplify CNCS research that ties to a specific focus area and share how your organization’s AmeriCorps members are working on that issue.
    • Example:  Use the Volunteering in America Report that is released annually by CNCS, and write a blog post or news article, and share how these statistics connect to the work AmeriCorps members are doing in your communities.
  • Recognize volunteers that are organized by AmeriCorps members with the President’s Volunteer Service Awards.
    • Example: Use the award to highlight the impact that your AmeriCorps recruited volunteers have in your community.  Share statistics, changes in behavior, testimonials, and other information that shares your story.

Back to Top


Communications

In addition to engagement tactics there are numerous communication strategies that you can use to amplify your AmeriCorps association.  By utilizing these you can use our platforms to engage our members, alums, and others in elevating the profile of AmeriCorps.  Some of tactics include:

  • Social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram) – create messaging that communicates your AmeriCorps successes and that are appropriate for each the social media platforms you would use.
    • Example: Facebook status updates can contain a sentence or two along with a photo or a link that highlights AmeriCorps. Twitter messaging can be a 140 character message with a link to important content to promote your work. YouTube and Instagram can highlight videos and pictures that show the impact of your AmeriCorps members.  In addition, follow CNCS’ social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube)
  • Branding (banners, ads, photography) – Use print and digital banners to show your connection to AmeriCorps at events, on websites, and through social media channels.
    • Example: Post the 20th Anniversary logo on your website and link it to a 20th Anniversary special section that highlights the impact that your local AmeriCorps program has in your community.  That section could include photos, videos, and other content that shows how your members are making a difference in the lives of people in your community.  A good is example of logo use is the website of the Minnesota State Commission on National and Community Service: http://www.serveminnesota.org/.
  • Blogs – Write blog posts to incorporate into your organization’s blog.  Place posts that you write in other blogs in your community like ones that are neighborhood or issue specific.  Pitch your story to bloggers in your community that have influence with the audiences you are trying to reach.
  • Traditional media (print, TV, radio) – Contact your local media to write articles about your AmeriCorps story using media advisories, press releases, and phone calls.  Develop ongoing relationships with the journalists and editors that cover your issues.
  • Marketing (posters, stickers, PSAs, advertising, brochures, fact sheet, t-shirts, logos) – CNCS has various tools for the 20th Anniversary and for AmeriCorps that you can use to distribute at your engagement events.  They can be ordered through CNCS’ online ordering system at www.NationalService.gov.
    • Example: Place ads in community publications like newspapers, magazines, community newsletters, digital publications, and other community publications that reach your desired audiences.  Incorporate the 20th Anniversary logo into the ad along with a website to visit and how to connect through social media.
  • Messaging (key messages and talking points) – Use the messaging in the attached monthly tip sheets as you organize your engagement activities and communicate with your various audiences.
    • Example: This messaging can be used on your website, tailored for social media, in fliers and brochures, press releases, talking points, and anywhere you will be communicating about the 20th Anniversary.

Back to Top


CNCS Resources

Below are links to various resources located on the CNCS website that can help strengthen your engagement events and your communications about the 20th Anniversary.  Please visit these links to learn what’s available and how you might be able to use them.

CNCS Website:
www.NationalService.gov

AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary Webpage:
http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps20

AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary Talking Points:
http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps20/resources/talking-points-messaging

AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary Logo:
http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps20/resources/logos-graphics

AmeriCorps Videos:
http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps20/resources/photos-videos

AmeriCorps Marketing Materials:
http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps20/resources/marketing-materials

AmeriCorps Logos:
http://www.nationalservice.gov/newsroom/marketing/logos

AmeriCorps Timeline:
http://www.nationalservice.gov/about/who-we-are/our-history/national-service-timeline

President’s Volunteer Service Award:
http://www.presidentialserviceawards.gov/index.cfm

Drum Majors for Service Award:
http://mlkday.gov/awards/index.php

National Service in Your State:
http://www.nationalservice.gov/impact-our-nation/state-profiles

Back to Top


Monthly Highlights

The grid below contains high level suggestions on how you can apply some of the above engagement and communication ideas.  More specific ideas and details are contained in the monthly focus area tip sheet section of this toolkit.

Month

Theme

Action

September

Anniversary launch

Highlight AmeriCorps history timeline

October

National service and inclusion

Celebrate through using social media

November

Volunteer mobilization

Honor veterans through stories in your blog

December

Public-Private partnerships

Host a corporate roundtable

January

Economic  opportunity

Design a MLK Day project around anti-poverty theme (hunger, homelessness, financial literacy; Give a Drum Major for Service award

February

Education

Teach civic engagement curriculum in schools

March

Healthy futures

Message about Let’s Read Let’s Move!

April

Environmental stewardship

Host a service project for Earth Day

May

Senior service

Use traditional media to tell the senior service story

June

Recruitment

Design a local community outreach plan to bring more community members into AmeriCorps

July

Veterans and military families

Blog about veterans serving in AmeriCorps

August

Disaster services

Flashback – What has AmeriCorps done in disasters for the past 20 years

September

Lifetime of service

Culminating Event – September 12, 2014

Back to Top


Toolkits

The following one-page tip sheets provide you with ways your organization can highlight AmeriCorps each month by using the engagement and communication strategies in this toolkit.  They also contain an overview of the focus areas, sample engagement and communication activities, messaging, and links to CNCS resources.  They are available on our website in both HTML and PDF formats for ease of reading and printing.  We will be adding tip sheets throughout the year in advance of each month.

Months

NovemberDecember
JanuaryFebruary
MarchApril

 


November- Volunteer Mobilization

Key Action: Does your AmeriCorps program help recruit and engage volunteers? We want to hear from you. Read below for details.


Overview

One of the primary charges for AmeriCorps members is to help mobilize volunteers to aid in meeting community needs.  Whether it’s a hurricane, flood, tornado, or routine engagement and service, members recruit and engage millions of volunteers. 

Celebrate the volunteer mobilization of your members and how they impact your community and the issues you work on.  Share the numbers of volunteers mobilized, the number of hours served, and the dollar value of their service using the Independent Sector’s hourly value of volunteers for your state.

If you are a recipient of a grant through CNCS’ Volunteer Generation Fund, you can highlight the impact of your work in that area too. Share how the investment bolsters volunteer management practices that increase both volunteer recruitment and retention and supports efforts that build the career skills of volunteers, expanding opportunity for the unemployed, veterans, and disadvantaged youth.

Engagement and Communication Activities

Incorporate this information into your messaging and share throughout the year at your various events and through your communication channels.  Support these numbers with individual stories of some of your AmeriCorps members’ volunteer mobilization work.  For example, if there was a member that recruited and managed a very large number of volunteers – share how and why they did that and the impact on your community.  Use the messaging below to show how their numbers connect to the other AmeriCorps volunteer mobilization efforts across the country.  Another story could focus on the impact of the volunteer mobilization – as a result of this member’s work, 200 third graders are have a mentor resulting in increased academic achievement.  If you work with veterans, their story would be great to highlight to show how they are contributing and the impact they are making.  Conduct a recognition ceremony that honors your volunteers with the President's Volunteer Service Award.  Invite prominent community leaders to present the awards - elected officials, athletes, or local celebrities.

A key action item for this month is to collect your volunteer mobilization stories – how your organization and AmeriCorps members recruit and mobilize volunteers.  Submit a story with fewer than 200 words to pressoffice@cns.gov.  We will collect stories and share them through social media and other platforms. It will also be great to have this material as we prepare for the release of the Volunteering in America report in early December.

Messaging

  • AmeriCorps is a powerful catalyst and force-multiplier for community volunteering. Last year AmeriCorps members recruited, trained, and supervised more than 4 million community volunteers for the organizations they serve.
  • We believe that volunteering and civic engagement are the cornerstone of a strong nation.
  • Volunteering can also provide important benefits to those who serve – helping them develop and maintain skills, expand professional networks, stay connected to their community, and experience physical and mental health benefits.
  • Through AmeriCorps and the Volunteer Generation Fund, we strengthen the nation’s voluntary sector and the impact of America’s volunteers by bringing more individuals into service and building the capacity of nonprofits and public agencies to effectively manage volunteers.
  • At a time of social need, when Americans of all ages are looking for ways to give back, we need to be ready to engage all those who answer the call to serve. This program will strengthen the ability of nonprofit organizations across the country to recruit and retain volunteers to meet critical challenges.

CNCS Resources

Serve.gov:
http://www.serve.gov/

Volunteering in America:
http://www.volunteeringinamerica.gov/

Volunteer Generation Fund:
http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/volunteer-generation-fund

CNCS Knowledge Network:
https://www.nationalserviceresources.org/

Independent Sector Value of Volunteer Time:
http://independentsector.org/volunteer_time?s=volunteer%20time%20value#sthash.xC48Rafs.dpbs

President's Volunteer Service Award:
http://www.presidentialserviceawards.gov/index.cfm

Back to Top


December - Public - Private Partnerships

Overview

As we continue our year-long focus on the 20th Anniversary of AmeriCorps, December is public-private partnership month.  We will highlight the important contributions the private and philanthropic sectors make in sustaining and growing AmeriCorps.
 
Our grantees are among the nation’s most reputable and recognizable nonprofits, which is the ideal opportunity to show the connection between the grantees, the corporate brands that support them, and AmeriCorps. 
 
Our objectives are simple:
  • Thank our corporate and foundation partners for their commitment to national service.
  • Increase the brand association among AmeriCorps, our grantees, and prominent corporations/foundations.
  • Highlight successful public private partnerships as examples to spur other potential investments in AmeriCorps so we can take full advantage of the momentum of the Task Force on Expanding National Service and the 20th Anniversary to grow and increase our impact.
 
As the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), we are a vital supply line to America's nonprofit community, providing grants, volunteers, training, and other resources to help meet pressing needs in education, housing, the environment, public safety, disaster relief, and other areas.
 
Working hand in hand with thousands of local partners, we improve lives, expand economic opportunity, bolster civic and faith-based organizations, and engage millions of Americans in high-impact service
 
On July 15 at the White House, President Obama announced the creation of the new Task Force on Expanding National Service. The Task Force includes representatives from cabinet agencies who will identify additional ways that the public and private sectors can partner together to support national service as a strategy for tackling national priorities.
 
In addition, the Task Force will make recommendations on policies to expand national service opportunities, recommend ways to coordinate volunteering and service programs across the Federal government, develop opportunities for interagency agreements between CNCS and other federal agencies, and identify public-private partnerships to expand national service.
 

Engagement and Communication Activities

We encourage you to:
  • Utilize social media for daily corporate/foundation thank you messages.
  • Amplify successful public-private partnerships. 
  • Create a conversation about success stories.
Be sure to:
  • Follow CNCS on social media: 
    - FACEBOOK: facebook.com/AmeriCorps 
    - TWITTER: @AmeriCorps (use the hashtag #AmeriCorps20)
    - NATIONAL SERVICE BLOG: NationalService.gov/blog
  • Repost our December messages.
  • Create your own social media plan to recognize your corporate/foundation partners and tag us (@AmeriCorps and #AmeriCorps20).

Messaging

  • AmeriCorps is a cost-effective solution to America’s toughest problems.  
  • AmeriCorps leverages substantial private investment from businesses, foundations, and other sources. AmeriCorps has cut costs and become more efficient by supporting more members with fewer federal dollars.
  • AmeriCorps members help tens of thousands of faith-based and community groups expand services, build capacity, raise funds, develop new partnerships, and create innovative, sustainable programs.
  • The modest federal investment in AmeriCorps leverages hundreds of millions of additional resources from non-federal sources to strengthen community impact and increase return on taxpayer dollars.
  • Through AmeriCorps and the Volunteer Generation Fund, we strengthen the nation’s voluntary sector and the impact America’s volunteers by bringing more individuals into service and building the capacity of nonprofit, public agencies, and the private sector to effectively manage volunteers.
  • The White House Task Force on Expanding National Service will make recommendations on policies to expand national service opportunities, recommend ways to coordinate volunteering and service programs across the Federal government, develop opportunities for interagency agreements between CNCS and other federal agencies, and identify public-private partnerships to expand national service.

CNCS Resources

 

January - Economic Opportunity

Overview

In 2011, 22 percent of U.S. children lived in poverty and 33 percent of our children lived in families in which neither parent had full-time, year-round jobs. On a single night in America, 636,017 people were homeless – essentially as many people as live in Baltimore, MD.
 
At the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), we are dedicated to creating economic opportunity by using national service to improve the financial well-being and security of economically disadvantaged individuals. Community organizations across the country are learning about specific interventions to address the housing, financial literacy, and employment needs of low-income populations.
 
For more than 45 years, national service has proven to be a catalyst when combined with community-based economic opportunity resources and programming. Our programs will boost initiatives that provide financial education, tax preparation services, consumer counseling, connection with community services or benefits, housing construction and repair, and links to job training and placement programs.  
 

Engagement and Communication Activities

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of service takes place on January 21, 2014.  Design a MLK Day service project around an anti-poverty theme (i.e. hunger, homelessness, financial literacy.  Be sure that your theme resonates with your community.  Brand the project with marketing materials such as banners, T-shirts or buttons with the AmeriCorps logo, and fliers.  Invite elected and public officials, journalists, prominent community leaders, donors, and others that can spread the word after the project is over.  Consider giving a Drum Major for Service award to an outstanding volunteer.  Be sure to assign someone to share the project though your social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, blogs.  Use pictures, videos, and other content that show the projects impact.  

 

Messaging

  • Economic Opportunity:  VISTA, AmeriCorps’ poverty-fighting program, engages more than 8,000 members each year in fighting poverty by creating businesses, expanding access to technology, recruiting volunteers to teach literacy, and strengthening antipoverty groups.

CNCS Resources

Economic Opportunity and National Service: http://www.nationalservice.gov/focus-areas/economic-opportunity
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service: http://mlkday.gov
Drum Major for Service Award: http://mlkday.gov/awards/index.php
 

Overview

No challenge is more important than ensuring that every child has access to a quality education. AmeriCorps delivers the right supports to the right students in the right places to strengthen education across the nation.

Key Messages

  • Service is a Solution:  AmeriCorps is a cost-effective solution to America’s toughest problems.  More than 80,000 AmeriCorps members improve the lives of millions of our most vulnerable citizens each year, creating impacts that are proven and measurable.
  • Education and Youth:  AmeriCorps places thousands of teachers, tutors, and mentors into low performing schools, helping students succeed in school and gain skills necessary to get 21st century jobs.
  • Expanding Educational Opportunity:  More than 830,000 AmeriCorps members have earned more than $2.6 billion in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards since 1994, helping hundreds of thousands of alums pay for college or payback student loans.

Opportunities to Get Involved

There will be many opportunities for you to engage with CNCS and AmeriCorps throughout the month, but here are a few days you can mark your calendars for. Be sure to use the #americorps20Ed hashtag so we can hear what you’re up to!

Feb. 4, 2014: Share the AmeriCorps 20 Education badge (Find it on the AmeriCorps Facebook page)

Feb. 10, 2014: AmeriCorps mad libs! Complete the following statement: I teach/taught ______ in AmeriCorps, but AmeriCorps taught me ________________.

Feb. 14, 2014: Tell your fans why you love AmeriCorps and share the “I <3 AmeriCorps” badge found on the AmeriCorps Facebook page.

Feb. 20, 2014:    Twitter chat with CEO Wendy Spencer

Feb. 24, 2014: Higher Education Day

Feb. 25, 2014: School Turnaround AmeriCorps First Anniversary

Feb. 25, 2014: Day of the A! Find a way to show us the A in your classroom, school, or service site.

AmeriCorps Education Day | Feb. 25, 2014

On Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, we are planning a “Day of the A” to highlight the AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary Education month.

On that day, we are asking our AmeriCorps grantees, members, and alums to take a photo creatively showing the AmeriCorps “A” to illuminate the ways AmeriCorps supports education in your community or through your organization.

Spreading the Word on Social Media

Below are some other ways you can highlight the contributions of this program with social media content during the month of February. (We recommend using the hashtag #AmeriCorps20Ed to highlight your comments.)

AmeriCorps Grantees

  • Tweet your support on Twitter: (Twitter handle) is proud to be an AmeriCorps education program #AmeriCorps20Ed
  • Or tweet: We’re proud to have AmeriCorps serving at (YOUR SCHOOL HERE) #AmeriCorps20Ed
  • Ask the school principals, superintendents, or other school administrators you work with to consider submitting op-ed or blog items relating how important AmeriCorps members are to their school or district. You may also submit AmeriCorps success stories to pressoffice@cns.gov (300-500 words)

AmeriCorps Members

  • Currently serving members who serve in education -- tweet about your service in AmeriCorps education programs: I’m making a difference in education through AmeriCorps with (group name) at (school name) #AmeriCorps20Ed
  • Submit your personal AmeriCorps education success stories all month long to pressoffice@cns.gov (300-500 words)

AmeriCorps Alums

  • Educators and tutors -- tweet about your service in AmeriCorps education programs: I’m an @AmeriCorps alum continuing to make a difference in education with (group name) at (school name) #AmeriCorps20Ed
  • Send a message of thanks on Facebook or Twitter if a helped you pay for college: “Thanks to the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, I cut my college costs. #AmeriCorps20Ed”
  • Submit your personal AmeriCorps education success stories all month long to pressoffice@cns.gov (300-500 words)

Higher Education Day Tweet and Response for Colleges | Feb. 24, 2014

HIGHLIGHTING OUTSTANDING COMMITMENT TO SERVICE

Sample Tweet for Higher Education Day for Honor Roll Colleges

We are proud of our students’ service and our recognition on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. #AmeriCorps20Ed

 

HIGHLIGHTING HOW SEGAL AMERICORPS AWARDS REDUCE COLLEGE COSTS

We will tweet:

Over 830,000 members have earned $2.6 billion in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards since 1994. Is your college on the list? #AmeriCorps20Ed

The colleges respond:

Thanks to Segal AmeriCorps Ed Awards, (Number) (College) students saved (dollar amount) on their studies. #AmeriCorps20Ed

(Excel spreadsheet with data to fill in the tweet can be found here: http://www.nationalservice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/segal_americorps_awards_bystate.xls)

AmeriCorps in Education

Our nation cannot reach its full potential until we make a commitment to ensure that every American child has access to a quality education. All the hopes, plans, and dreams of every parent, citizen, or leader cannot be realized until we decide to make education the cornerstone for our country’s future.

A commitment to education must begin with the parents standing around the cradle and continue until that child becomes an adult who has fully realized his or her potential and become a productive citizen of society. That is the ideal.

Unfortunately, the reality is different, and every child won’t have the best opportunity to succeed for a variety of reasons. Too many students enter school unprepared for the learning environment, which makes it tough for them to keep pace with their better-equipped peers. This problem creates dire consequences for those children for the rest of their lives.

For example, research has shown that if a student is unable to become a proficient reader by the third grade, they become four times less likely to graduate from high school, much less college. Others lose interest along the way unless a concerned adult intervenes to prevent behaviors that can lead to them drop out later.

Access to early education support and interventions -- even before a child enters kindergarten -- can place a student on the right path to educational success.

Through AmeriCorps, we’re providing solutions to deliver the right supports to the right students in the right places to strengthen education across the nation.

At CNCS we believe that all students can succeed academically when given the chance. We have a simple strategy: create the conditions that make children and youth want to learn, and give them the opportunity to achieve. The most-important support we can give our students is the attention of caring, capable individuals who are dedicated to helping them learn. We train and support educators, and connect skilled volunteers with students who benefit from their guidance.

Experts agree that the strategies that best help students achieve include family involvement, tutoring, mentoring, teacher support, and expanded learning opportunities. They also include giving students the chance to serve—to contribute through meaningful experiences that teach them about their world inside and outside the classroom or campus.

Strategies that help students learn include extended-day and school year programs, tutoring, mentoring, family involvement, and teacher support. To achieve this, we connect caring, capable people with students who benefit from their time and personal attention. Thousands of people serving to help millions of students succeed.

Our efforts bring proven national service efforts to schools and communities where students lack the attention and support they deserve. We don’t promise a diploma with honors for every student, but we promise to help all students engage with learning and achieve.

YouTube Video Highlighting AmeriCorps in Education

National Service and Education:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYlTCJixAYg&list=PLZ54wDoDlX7cAjIze5irZH_5C6oi8Oa-M&feature=share&index=4

AmeriCorps Education Talking Points

  • Education is a Priority of National Service: CNCS invests more than half of all AmeriCorps grant dollars to education for programs that bring tens of thousands of caring adults to schools across the country. AmeriCorps places thousands of teachers, tutors, and mentors into low performing schools, helping students succeed in school and gain skills necessary to get 21st-century jobs.
  • We Support Interventions that Keep Students on Track:  Every day, AmeriCorps members give students who are off track extra time, attention, and support that can mean the difference between success and failure. Programs such as the Minnesota Reading Corps are providing replicable models that help children become successful readers by the end of the third grade – an important pivot point for future success in school and life.
  • We Support Programs that Deliver Proven Results:  In fiscal year 2012, more than 92,500 students showed improved academic performance, more than 8,500 children demonstrated gains in school readiness, and 22,000 students demonstrated improved academic engagement.
  • We are Innovating to Create Opportunities for Service in Education:  Through initiatives like the School Turnaround AmeriCorps we began with the U.S. Department of Education we are serving to improve student outcomes in some of the nation’s lowest-performing schools. The STEM AmeriCorps initiative is designed to help and inspire students to excel in the science and math disciplines and compete for the jobs of the future.
  • We are Preparing Students for Postsecondary Education: The jobs of the future will require education beyond a high school diploma; however, many students feel that this goal is beyond their reach. We support programs such as College Possible that help students navigate the college admission process and give them the direction they need to aspire to a college education.
  • We Help Veterans Continue to Learn and Serve: Veterans returning home after serving in the military face a variety of challenges as they make the transition to civilian life. Making the most of their post-9/11 GI Bill benefits can be difficult for some, but dedicated AmeriCorps members like those in the Washington Vet Corps serve on campuses across the state to ease the transition and provide an empathetic ear through someone who shares and understands their experiences.
  • We are Helping Combat the Summer Slide: AmeriCorps VISTAs are crucial players in keeping students on the right path during the summer break. Through the Summer Food Service Program, AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates help distribute free meals to children in low-income communities while also providing educational activities that inspire them to continue learning over the summer break.
  • We Inspire the Next Generation of Educators: Through programs like City Year and Teach For America, we are providing opportunities that are creating a new generation of inspired educators in schools across the country. Many are taking their experience to the next level and becoming leaders in the education community  
  • We are Reducing College Costs: AmeriCorps members have earned more than $2.6 billion in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards since 1994, helping hundreds of thousands of AmeriCorps alums pay for college and pay back student loans. Plus, there are hundreds of higher education institutions that provide matching grants that increase the value of these education Awards.
  • We are Encouraging a Lifetime Commitment to Service: The Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll highlights institutions that have inspired young leaders to roll up their sleeves and work alongside community members to solve problems. More than 3.1 million college students attending classes at the institutions on the Honor roll dedicate more than 118 million hours of service across the country, a contribution valued at $2.5 billion.

Sample Education Stories

One of the best ways we can spread the word about AmeriCorps education programs is by sharing our stories on the National Service Blog. The following are examples of recent stories we’ve published about education initiatives.

Partnerships that Change Lives
(http://www.nationalservice.gov/blogs/2013-12-17/partnerships-change-lives)

As AmeriCorps celebrates its 20th anniversary, it’s exciting to reflect on what the authors of the National Community Service Trust Act imagined for the power of national service.  They believed that service should be an innovative public-private partnership, and Minnesota Reading Corps is bringing that vision to life.

Reading Corps tutor Benjamin Mays works with a student in the program. Reading Corps, a strategic initiative of ServeMinnesota and AmeriCorps, is an early literacy program that is changing academic outcomes for thousands of students in urban, suburban, and rural settings. This breakthrough program began in 2003, serving just 250 children. Today, it is one of the nation’s largest AmeriCorps programs, with nearly 1,200 members serving 30,000 children annually – large enough to move the needle on improving third-grade reading proficiency on a significant scale.

AmeriCorps members use the most effective literacy practices to provide hands-on support for struggling readers. Reading Corps consistently delivers impressive results. Preschool participants outperform their peers in kindergarten readiness assessments, and kindergartners-third graders make more than a year’s worth of literacy progress. Perhaps most importantly, students who have Reading Corps are three times less likely to be referred to special education.

These achievements wouldn’t be possible without public-private partnerships. From the beginning, individuals, businesses, and nonprofits joined together to ensure that this proven model was available to more children every year. With extraordinary partners like Target and United Way, we are advancing thought leadership, policy, and philanthropy focused on third-grade reading. Thanks to their investments, the program has helped more than 100,000 students advance their literacy skills.

'I’m no good at reading'

One such student is Garrett, a quiet third grader, who was anxious about his reading abilities.

Garrett is one of the students who has benefited from Reading Partners tutoring. “On the first day of school, he came to my desk and said, ‘I just want you to know that I’m pretty good at math, but I’m no good at reading.’” said Emily Nebben, his teacher. “It was heartbreaking for me.”

Garrett’s parents had placed him in several different programs and worked with him every night – but didn’t see improvement until he started working with his Minnesota Reading Corps tutor. Then there was no holding him back.  Everyone saw the transformation – especially his teacher.

“I just saw him bloom from that first day, like you would not believe,” said Nebben. “His confidence, his demeanor, the way he held his whole body -- He was a different kid. Like caterpillar to butterfly.”

Program Spreads to Other States

More than two-thirds of fourth-grade students nationwide -- as many as 6 million children -- do not read at their grade level. By harnessing the power of national service and public-private partnerships, Reading Corps benefits thousands of children just like Garrett. It is an integrated part of Minnesota’s literacy strategy and has been adopted in seven additional states and Washington, DC.

A recent study from the University of Chicago’s Opinion Research Center found that Reading Corps is highly replicable and “can be transformed into a model for other successful reading tutoring programs.” 

Bolstered by private support, Reading Corps illustrates the bold vision for AmeriCorps service and is poised to meet the growing needs of students and schools nationwide.

Thanks to Target for funding Reading Corps expansion in Colorado and Washington, DC. Audrey Suker is the CEO of Serve Minnesota.

 

AmeriCorps NCCC - Denver Green School

Six Southwest Region AmeriCorps NCCC teams (2011-2014) supported compelling educational needs at Denver Green School (DGS).  Denver Green School is one of the first schools to obtain Innovation Status, providing the school with the autonomy to implement exciting curricular programs while still receiving the support of DPS as a public school.

DGS is the first school in DPS to focus on sustainability. As part of its mission, DGS provides a hands-on, brains-on experience to all students, staff, and community, preparing all learners to lead the way toward a sustainable, bright green future.  The school serves diverse southeast Denver neighborhoods with students from over 25 countries and a free and reduced lunch rate of 65%.  AmeriCorps NCCC Corps members focused primarily on working in classrooms as math and literacy coaches for students. Corps members worked closely with the principal and teachers to help students improve benchmark assessments in core content areas. Additionally, the team supported physical activities during recess and game time to decrease bullying. Lastly, the team worked closely with teachers and administration to implement service-learning projects. Corps members also worked on creating a one-acre farm and 20,000 square foot garden for the school which enabled them to create the first "farm to cafeteria" program in the state of Colorado.

Outcomes:

  • NCCC Corps members worked with third grade math teachers each of the last two years and DGS third grade math students scored 80% proficient or advanced, (in TCAP--our statewide assessments). This is nearly 20 percentage points above the district average for 3rd grade.
  • DGS writing scores jumped by nearly 15% school wide, due to a lot of the small group work with NCCC Corps members
  • DGS 3rd- and 4th-grade reading scores have been 15% points above the district for the last two years.
  • DGS is among the top 25 growth schools in Denver Public Schools. This benchmark shows student growth from year to year.
  • The now thriving one acre farm was literally a weed infested field 3 years ago.  NCCC teams helped us break ground and prepare the land for its first planting in 2011 and each team has been part of the farm since its inception.
  • All of the above led to DGS being the first school in the state of CO and one of 78 in the country to receive the National Green Ribbon School Award from US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, and President Obama.

Outputs over time:

  • 999 elementary and middle school students tutored
  • 6,422 hours spent tutoring elementary and middle school students

CNCS Education Online Resources

Education initiatives- fact sheet

National Service Knowledge Network – Education Focus Area Portal

Let’s Read. Let’s Move

School Turnaround AmeriCorps

Segal AmeriCorps Education Award

Segal AmeriCorps Education Award Matching Program

National Mentoring Month

American Graduate Day

President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

Service Impact Awards – Education

Communities: Colleges and Universities


Back to Top



AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary Messaging

Every day in communities across America, AmeriCorps members are making a powerful impact on the most critical issues facing our nation. 

Since its inception, more than 820,000 men and women have taken the AmeriCorps pledge, serving more than one billion hours and improving the lives of countless Americans.  

Starting in September 2013, we will recognize the commitment of AmeriCorps members and alums and highlight the extraordinary impact AmeriCorps has made for 20 years.

For ideas and guidance on how you can align your activities with our big picture goals throughout the year, please download our Guidance on Outreach and Engagement, and see the messages below.

Key Messages

  • AmeriCorps is a cost-effective solution to America’s toughest problems    
  • AmeriCorps expands education and economic opportunity 
  • AmeriCorps strengthens the impact of our nation’s nonprofits
  • On its 20th anniversary, AmeriCorps is poised for even greater impact and growth

AmeriCorps is a cost-effective solution to America’s toughest problems

  • Service is a Solution:  More than 80,000 AmeriCorps members improve the lives of millions of our most vulnerable citizens each year.  AmeriCorps’ impacts are proven and measurable.
  • Education and Youth:  AmeriCorps places thousands of teachers, tutors, and mentors into low performing schools, helping students succeed in school and gain skills necessary to get 21st century jobs.
  • Veterans and Military Families:  AmeriCorps supports the military community by engaging veterans in service, helping veterans readjust to civilian life, and providing support to military families.
  • Disasters:  From forest fires and floods, to hurricanes and tornadoes, AmeriCorps members have provided critical support to millions of Americans affected by disasters since 1994. 
  • Economic Opportunity:  VISTA, AmeriCorps’ poverty-fighting program, engages more than 8,000 members each year in fighting poverty by creating businesses, expanding access to technology, recruiting volunteers to teach literacy, and strengthening antipoverty groups.
  • Health:  AmeriCorps members save lives and improves health through HIV/AIDS education and outreach, drug and alcohol prevention training, and connecting poor families to health clinics and services.
  • Environment:  Members build trails, restore parks, protect watersheds, run recycling programs, and promote energy efficiency, weatherization, and clean energy.

AmeriCorps expands education and economic opportunity

  • Preparing the 21st Century Workforce:  AmeriCorps is a pathway to economic opportunity that provides members with valuable skills, leadership abilities, and experience to help jumpstart their careers.
  • Expanding Educational Opportunity:  AmeriCorps members have earned more than $2.4 billion in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards since 1994, helping hundreds of thousands of alums pay for college.
  • Building Community Leaders:  An AmeriCorps longitudinal study found that AmeriCorps alums are more attached to their communities, aware of community challenges, and empowered to address them.  
  • Pipeline to Public Service:  AmeriCorps alums are significantly more likely to go into public service careers. This is particularly true of minorities and people from low-income backgrounds.  

AmeriCorps strengthens the impact of our nation’s nonprofits

  • Strengthening Nonprofits:  AmeriCorps members help tens of thousands of faith-based and community groups expand services, build capacity, raise funds, develop new partnerships, and create innovative, sustainable programs.
  • Mobilizing volunteers:  AmeriCorps is a powerful catalyst and force-multiplier for community volunteering. Last year AmeriCorps members recruited, trained, and supervised more than 4 million community volunteers for the organizations they serve.
  • Public-Private Partnership:  AmeriCorps leverages substantial private investment from businesses, foundations, and other sources. AmeriCorps has cut costs and become more efficient by supporting more members with fewer federal dollars.
  • Advancing Social Innovation:  AmeriCorps invests in entrepreneurial organizations that have been recognized for their innovative approaches to citizen problem-solving.

On its 20th anniversary, AmeriCorps is poised for even greater impact and growth

  • AmeriCorps has Strong Momentum:  The President knows first-hand the power of citizens to get things done and is deeply committed to investing in service and community solutions.
  • Task Force on Expanding National Service:  In July 2013, President Obama created a high-level task force identify new ways the public and private sectors can partner to expand national service as a strategy for tackling national priorities.
  • Bipartisan Support:  There is a growing recognition from Members of Congress, Governors, and Mayors of both parties that national service is an essential strategy to address critical problems.  
  • 20 Years Serving America: Starting in September 2013, we will recognize the commitment of AmeriCorps members and alums and highlight the extraordinary impact AmeriCorps has made for 20 years.
  • Celebrating the past, building for the future: The 20th will recognize important moments in AmeriCorps’ history but it will also look ahead to our exciting future by demonstrating impact, building partnerships, and increasing service opportunities to serve

AmeriCorps Fast Facts

  • 820,000: Number of individuals who have served as AmeriCorps members since 1994.
  • 1 Billion: Total number of hours served by AmeriCorps members.
  • $2.4 Billion: Total amount of Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards earned by AmeriCorps members. 
  • 4 Million: Number of community volunteers managed or mobilized by AmeriCorps members in 2012.
  • 15,000: Number of nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations that AmeriCorps members serve with annually.

Back to Top


Appendix

September - Anniversary Launch (2013)

Overview

On Sept. 20, 2013, CNCS kicked off our celebration of the extraordinary impact of AmeriCorps and its 20 years of serving America.  Through events, stories, and service projects, we will recognize the contributions and commitment of AmeriCorps members and alums in strengthening our communities and country through national service.  The 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps will recognize the important moments in AmeriCorps history.  But it will also look forward to the exciting future that lies ahead. It will demonstrate how AmeriCorps is a smart and cost-effective investment.  It will tell the story of AmeriCorps impact on communities and those who serve.  And it will lay the groundwork for expanding opportunities for Americans to serve their communities.  Organize your own launch event to highlight your organization’s year-long celebration of AmeriCorps.

Engagement and Communication Activities

Conduct a media briefing for your local journalists and editors about the impact AmeriCorps has in your community and to highlight its 20-year history nationally.  Throughout the briefing use the message points below, your own messaging and statistics, show the AmeriCorps video, and in your handouts share the AmeriCorps 20-year timeline linked in the CNCS resources section below.  The messaging below can be used through the year to bolster your key points.

Messaging

  • 820,000: Number of individuals who have served as AmeriCorps members since 1994.
  • 1 Billion: Total number of hours served by AmeriCorps members.
  • $2.4 Billion: Total amount of Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards earned by AmeriCorps members. 
  • 4 Million: Number of community volunteers managed or mobilized by AmeriCorps members in 2012.
  • 15,000: Number of nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations that AmeriCorps members serve with.
  • When communicating about AmeriCorps overall be sure to include numbers that reflect your local impact.
  • On its 20th anniversary: AmeriCorps is poised for even greater impact and growth
  • AmeriCorps has Strong Momentum:  The President knows first-hand the power of citizens to get things done and is deeply committed to investing in service and community solutions.
  • Task Force on Expanding National Service:  In July 2013, President Obama created a high-level task force identify new ways the public and private sectors can partner to expand national service as a strategy for tackling national priorities.
  • Bipartisan Support:  There is a growing recognition from Members of Congress, Governors, and Mayors of both parties that national service is an essential strategy to address critical problems.  
  • 20 Years Serving America: Starting in September 2013, we will recognize the commitment of AmeriCorps members and alums and highlight the extraordinary impact AmeriCorps has made for 20 years.
  • Celebrating the past, building for the future: The 20th will recognize important moments in AmeriCorps’ history but it will also look ahead to our exciting future by demonstrating impact, building partnerships, and increasing service opportunities to serve
  • AmeriCorps is a cost-effective solution to America’s toughest problems    
  • Service is a Solution:  More than 80,000 AmeriCorps members improve the lives of millions of our most vulnerable citizens each year.  AmeriCorps’ impacts are proven and measurable.

CNCS Resources

AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary Webpage:
http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps20

AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary Talking Points:
http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps20/resources/talking-points-messaging

AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary Logo:
http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps20/resources/logos-graphics

AmeriCorps Videos:
http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps20/resources/photos-videos

AmeriCorps Timeline:
http://www.nationalservice.gov/about/who-we-are/our-history/national-service-timeline

October - National Service and Inclusion

Overview

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is committed to providing opportunities that change the lives of those who serve, as well as those being served.  With this commitment, we can create avenues for people with disabilities to greater economic opportunity through the service experience in AmeriCorps  and Senior Corps. Some people with disabilities have the desire to give back to their communities but may not know that accommodations will be made to make their service possible. AmeriCorps works with national service members and CNCS grantees at the national and state level to open doors for those who are ready to serve in our programs.

In addition, today’s employment market remains competitive and job seekers need every advantage they can find. Earlier this year, CNCS research concluded that people who volunteer were 27 percent more likely to find a job than those who didn’t. This trend held regardless of a person’s gender, age, ethnicity, geographical area, or the job market conditions. The research also found that volunteers were also able to network and make valuable connections that could later help them in their job searches.

This is all good news for volunteers with disabilities, including our wounded warriors who often seek volunteer opportunities when they complete their military service. Another option to serve communities across the country is through our AmeriCorps program.

Engagement and Communication Activities

Highlight your AmeriCorps members with disabilities that are serving your community through social media.  Link status updates and tweets to a section of your website that contains a blog post about their community impact.  Bolster the post with pictures, videos, and links to additional resources.  This can be an opportunity from not only sharing your story but also to recruit new members.

Messaging

  • AmeriCorps members are diverse and include people of all abilities.
  • AmeriCorps programs provide accommodations for all people that become members.

CNCS Resources

CNCS Research:
http://www.nationalservice.gov/impact-our-nation/research-and-reports/volunteering-pathway-employment-report

Stories of People with Disabilities in National Service:
http://www.nationalservice.gov/pdf/factsheet_disability_stories.pdf

Engaging Veterans with Disabilities in National and Community Service:
http://www.nationalservice.gov/pdf/disability_report2011.pdf

 

Back to Top

AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary Resource Center

Visit these brand-new pages for all of your AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary marketing and publicity needs!

 

 

AmeriCorps Updates

GovDelivery Email

 

 

National Service Timeline

Learn more about our history.

1960's - Our History Begins Here

View the Timeline

Back to Top