Have you ever had one of those days where you can't stop smiling? This month was filled with them. Support for national service grows stronger and stronger; during the past two weeks, we've seen this momentum build in several major arenas. Here's the latest news:
- We released Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment, a brand new report that establishes an association between volunteering and employment in the United States. One key finding: Volunteers have a 27 percent higher likelihood of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers.
- TIME magazine released its annual national service issue, including a column by the magazine's managing editor, Richard Stengel, "Service Is a Silver Bullet." Stengel describes the work we do as an efficient and low-cost solution to big problems.
- At the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, we brought together national, state, and local leaders to discuss the critical importance of service. You can read a compelling blog by Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, watch Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware deliver a rousing speech, and hear Chairman of the President's Council on Economic Advisers Alan Krueger praise the Volunteering and Employment report.
- At the conference's closing session, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie joined Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Wendy Spencer to discuss AmeriCorps' crucial role in helping communities recover from disasters. "AmeriCorps members were not only doing substantive, helpful things to build to recovery," Gov. Christie said. "They were rebuilding spirit."
- We were excited to attend a summit hosted by the Aspen Institute where top leaders shared their ideas to expand national service. CEO Wendy Spencer joined CNCS board members, AmeriCorps grantees, state commission directors, and 250 leaders from the nonprofit, military, philanthropic, and private sectors for this important gathering. The focus: How to build on the success of AmeriCorps to encourage large-scale civilian national service. We shared updates on FEMA Corps, School Turnaround AmeriCorps, STEM AmeriCorps, and discussed new ideas for expanding opportunities for more Americans to serve community and country.
All of this momentum is impressive, but it's always the service members who remind us why we do this important work. Hundreds of participants at our National Service Town Hall heard AmeriCorps member Chris Guzman speak about trading the streets for service -- and the Foster Grandparents Senior Corps volunteers who saved his life. If you watch one video or share one story about service this week, make it this one.