National Service Agency Head Addresses Congressional Black Caucus on Poverty-Fighting Efforts

Sep 23, 2009

Washington, DC - Nicola Goren, Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, served on a panel today with Cabinet Members and Administration officials to discuss the federal agency's initiatives to combat poverty and help rebuild our nation's economy. The panel was hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation as part of its Annual Legislative Conference Hill Day Summit in the Congressional Auditorium, Capitol Visitors Center.

Goren highlighted the agency's 15-year history of deploying hundred of thousands volunteers into neighborhoods across America to alleviate the crippling affects of poverty on the most vulnerable members of society and strengthen communities for long-term prosperity. The agency's efforts include:

  • Leading President Obama's call to service initiative, United We Serve.
  • Supporting an additional 13,000 AmeriCorps members this year under the Recovery Act to serve in distressed communities providing such activities as employment skills training and staving off home foreclosures in struggling neighborhoods and communities.
  • Helping 57,000 elderly Americans continue to live independently—and stay out of expensive institutions—through the assistance of 15,000 Senior Companions
  • Marshaling 6,500 VISTA members who serve each year focusing on fighting poverty through drop-out prevention programs, community development projects, neighborhood technology centers, and financial literacy.
  • Implementing the landmark Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which will engage Americans in tackling unmet social needs.

Below are excerpts from Goren's prepared remarks:

“Leaders from all across our society increasingly recognize that service is not just a nice thing to do. It is an essential part of the solution to our most pressing national problems, including alleviating poverty.”

“We at the Corporation take pride in having quickly distributed our Recovery Act resources into communities like the ones many of you represent – helping, among other things, to prevent mortgage foreclosures and teach financial literacy.”

“We all know that these are tough economic times, and they've hit some communities harder than others. Our job at the Corporation is to put volunteers on the ground with the mission of helping to bridge these gaps, meet unmet needs, build pathways out of poverty and strengthen communities for long-term prosperity.”

“This is what the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which you passed earlier this year, envisions. …Specifically, the new law prioritizes five major areas of service: education, health, clean energy, veterans, and economic opportunity and community renewal.”

“This is at the heart of the President's belief that the sense of collective purpose that was the foundation of civil rights movement can also be a driving force for a new generation to carry forth the service banner and help rebuild our communities, block by block, and neighborhood by neighborhood.”

“Service unites people in common purpose. It is profoundly egalitarian, because, as Dr. King said, ‘anybody can serve.' Today we have an opportunity to build on his vision of an even greater nation, with new resources, new leadership, and a renewed commitment to moving forward.”

Click here to read the prepared remarks.

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