The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) recognized seven outstanding programs and participants with the 2013 National Service Impact Awards.
CNCS CEO Wendy Spencer announced the honorees during the kick-off of the yearlong AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary celebration in Washington, DC, on September 20, 2013.
The National Service Impact Awards recognize the demonstrable impact made by everyday citizens who serve their communities and exemplify the best in national and community service. Awards were judged on the impact made in the one of the six focus areas outlined in the agency's five-year strategic plan: disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and veterans and military families. One additional award was presented after being selected as the People’s Choice winner from online voting that took place on Challenge.gov.
“The Corporation for National and Community Service gives these awards to shine a spotlight on the impact our programs are making in communities throughout the country,” said Spencer. “We know the value in engaging volunteers and national service leaders, and it’s an honor to recognize these great programs and great volunteer leadership in action.”
The 2013 award recipients are listed below with a brief description of their programs. Southwest Airlines will provide one person from each 2013 Service Impact Award honoree with a round-trip ticket good for travel to any of the airline's destinations.
Washington Conservation Corps (AmeriCorps, Washington state)
Members of the Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) not only protect and preserve the environment in Washington state, but they are recognized leaders in disaster response efforts across the country.
In recent years, they have responded to Hurricane Katrina; the Joplin, MO, tornado; the wildfires in Eastern Washington; and most recently, Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey, where WCC crews were deployed within days after the storm hit. To date, 22 WCC Supervisors and 106 WCC AmeriCorps members have served more than 38,000 hours in the Sandy response effort.
Katie Taylor, Women’s Initiative for Self-Employment (AmeriCorps VISTA, San Francisco Bay area)
Katie Taylor serves as the Volunteer Coordinator and Research Assistant for the Women’s Initiative for Self-Employment in Oakland, CA. She initiated the Women’s Initiative AmeriCorps VISTA program in 2010, which has supported 13 VISTAs.
The program is designed to have a high impact on low-income women in California’s Bay Area and in New York City. During 2012, Taylor supervised 504 people in the volunteer program that reached 3,168 clients and put them on the path to economic self-sufficiency through entrepreneurship.
Aimee Dilucido, Pacific Region Education Team – Gold 8 (AmeriCorps NCCC, Nationwide)
Team Leader Aimee Dilucido was singled out for her contributions to a new education program that supports AmeriCorps NCCC members in the Pacific Region, enabling those in the program to learn and serve.
The program – created by NCCC Pacific Region and John Muir Charter School – allows members to complete their education while they continue their duties in traditional NCCC service projects. AmeriCorps members in the program were able to increase their grade-level capacity and earned diplomas and GEDs, enabling those members to maximize their Segal AmeriCorps Education Award after finishing their term of service.
A determined core of team members embarked on the project led by Dilucido, who is credited with creating cohesion among the members who were balancing school and full-time service. She also helped the project succeed by navigating the needs of project sponsors and teachers, and successfully scheduling more than 40 hours of service and over 13 hours of schooling each week.
Parasol AmeriCorps (Tahoe, Nevada)
The Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation AmeriCorps program, now in its 13th year, has 17 full-time AmeriCorps members serving the North Lake Tahoe, Nevada, community in a variety of capacities with a focus on education, public safety, health, and the environment. This year, the team engaged the North Tahoe community by encouraging them to propose compelling projects that meet community needs.
One project example was “Incline Elementary School Rocks! A Day of Dirt, Service and Community,” during which AmeriCorps members educated local students on teamwork, community service, and the different roles that the national service members perform in their community. The second half of the project included two days of hands-on volunteerism and the construction of outdoor classrooms. All students participated in age-appropriate service activities, creating a new resource for the school and the community.
Louisville Metro RSVP (Louisville, Kentucky)
For more than 30 years RSVP and the Louisville Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC) have been partners in service to veterans in Kentucky. Some of the program’s RSVP volunteers have overcome partial or total blindness to serve as bulk mailing clerks for the many primary care and specialized medical clinics on-site and in local communities. The Louisville Metro RSVP usually prepares more than 30,000 personalized appointment reminders annually for veterans.
The RSVP/VAMC Escort Department Volunteers transport patients and/or laboratory samples to and from points within the VAMC, making more than 11,000 escorts errands annually. Eight of the RSVP volunteers also serve in a leadership capacity on the Veterans Administration Volunteer Services (Advisory) Committee. Twenty RSVP volunteers at the medical center provide an average of more than 630 hours of service to the community’s veterans every month.
Veterans and Military Families
Exelis Action Corps, Veteran Leader Corps (AmeriCorps, Nationwide)
As nearly 1 million service members transition out of the military and return home during the next four years, communities across the nation are seeking ways to assist them and their families in a meaningful way. The Community Blueprint is a scalable and adaptable framework of tools, resources, and specific solutions designed to help communities support and engage veterans, military members, and their families.
To support the work of the Blueprint Communities and provide a direct connection to veterans, Points of Light – with support from Exelis, UPS Foundation, and CNCS – established the Veteran Leader Corps (VLC) AmeriCorps program. This unique peer-to-peer program is designed to enlist veterans as local leaders, and help veterans gain meaningful skills they can use during their transition to civilian life.
Since its inception in March 2013, VLC members have assisted 766 veterans with job readiness services and engaged more than 7,596 volunteers in civic opportunities.
Rebuilding Together (MLK Day and AmeriCorps, Oklahoma City)
Members of the Rebuilding Together AmeriCorps program, Capacity Corps, dedicated the 2013 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service to rebuilding homes and revitalizing communities in Oklahoma City. During the event, 62 AmeriCorps members came together from 20 states to perform critical home repair services for veteran and senior citizen homeowners in need.
Rebuilding Together AmeriCorps members repaired nine homes while serving 3,000 hours with the help of area high school students and community members in the Carverdale-Edwards-South Creston Hills triangle area in Oklahoma City. The members also participated in discussions about the legacy of Dr. King and how service is just important now as it was during the Civil Rights struggle of the 1960s.
Rebuilding Together Capacity Corps is a National Direct AmeriCorps program with 65 full-time AmeriCorps members serving around the country.