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The Service News Digest is a regular feature on the Serve.Gov blog. In this series, we showcase news highlights that feature national service and Corporation for National and Community Service programs. Take a look at some of the great stories that had people talking recently.

Every day, AmeriCorps members across the country are making a powerful difference in communities and their own lives. Each year during AmeriCorps Week, we recognize the commitment of AmeriCorps members and alums and highlight the extraordinary value AmeriCorps brings to our nation.

Earlier this month an important meeting was held in Washington. It wasn't a meeting you would have heard about on the nightly news, but it was a meeting that addressed critical issues facing a core constituency of this nation – American Indians.

Columbus, OH is home to the second-largest Somali population in the U.S. and the number of low-income, aging immigrants with little or no family nearby is growing. Speaking little or no English and no access to transportation, Somali seniors are struggling to continue living independent lives.

Today marks the beginning of the second annual Senior Corps Week! This week celebrates the commitment and contribution made by Senior Corps volunteers and recognizes their critical impact on addressing tough challenges across our nation.

There was a time when Sydney Jimason's prospects didn't look bright. She was kicked out of high school, unemployed, and spending time on the streets of DC. But that all changed when she learned about the Latin American Youth Corps YouthBuild program.

Every day, volunteers are giving their time and talents to help better their community and their country. Last week, we released our annual Volunteering in America report -- data critical for understanding volunteer trends and demographics, including who is serving, where they are serving and where community needs still exist. This data is vital for elected officials and nonprofit leaders as they develop strategies to mobilize more Americans to address local needs through service.

As the nation works to tackle some of its toughest challenges and expand opportunity for all Americans, volunteers are resolute in their commitment to their neighbors and communities, with 62.8 million adults serving almost 8.1 billion hours in local and national organizations in 2010. This is just one finding from the Corporation for National and Community Service's Volunteering in America 2011 report.

On Wednesday July 12, 2011, I was honored to participate in a White House event on senior volunteerism and service. At the event, Melody Barnes, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, explained that seniors in service creates a “win-win” situation—communities benefit from the volunteers and the volunteers benefit from the act of serving.

Last week, five AmeriCorps alumni received the Congressional Gold Medal Award in Washington, DC. In our post last week, we talked a little bit about their work with the program, but we thought it would be fun to get to know them a bit better.


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