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Honor Service Stars with the National Service Impact Awards

by Greg Tucker

Everyone has a story, as the saying goes, and the Corporation for National and Community Service wants to hear ones about the most innovative leaders and programs that are making a difference in our communities. If you know of one, it's time to nominate them for the 2012 National Service Impact Awards.

Each year, CNCS recognizes people and organizations that represent the best practices in solution-driven service in six focus areas: disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and veterans and military families.

Award-Winning Stories of Service

Last year, we selected nine winners from a plethora of submissions that represented sharp thinking and the commitment to solve difficult problems wherever they occur.

One winner, the Red Cross Ready! Tennessee Rural Initiative, received an award for VISTAs who led disaster preparedness efforts that paid dividends during a 1,000-year flood that struck the western and central areas of the state. ReSOURCE Vermont was recognized for the YouthBuild members who performed deconstruction services that allow the recycling of building materials and diverted more than 1,000 tons of debris from landfills in 2009 alone.

Juliana Ko, an AmeriCorps member with Teach for America, received a Service Impact Award when she responded to the suicide of one of her students by developing a community center and after-school program on a Navajo Nation Reservation. The center has become a valuable resource for the community and provides a positive place for children to go when the school day ends.

These are just a few of the stories of how our best and brightest are changing lives and communities. You can read more about these winners and others on our Service Impact Award page.

How to Enter

To qualify for the award, nominees must be current service participants or alumni, program directors, or programs and initiatives funded through grants (or sub grants) from CNCS.

Eligible programs and initiatives include Senior Corps; AmeriCorps; Learn and Serve America; the Social Innovation Fund; the Nonprofit Capacity Building Fund; the Volunteer Generation Fund; the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service; and the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance.

Learn and Serve America funded programs may nominate a teacher, student, school, college or university, or school system. Nominations within the veterans and military families category should also choose one of three focus areas -- education, employment, or wellness – in which they would like to compete.

Entries must be submitted by 5 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 1, 2012, at the Challenge.gov contest page, which also has additional guidelines, rules, and information about the awards. Winners will attend the 2012 National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Chicago from June 18-20 as guests of CNCS and will receive conference registration, round-trip airfare, lodging, ground transportation, and per diem for the event.

We know there are a lot of great national and community service stories out there, so take this opportunity to help us recognize our most outstanding service leaders by submitting your nominations today.

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