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By Jack Wingate, Teach for AmericaAmeriCorps gave Teach For America alum Jack Wingate (Metro Atlanta ‘13) the opportunity to contribute toward strengthening his community. Now he asks that you join him in calling on Congress to protect funding for AmeriCorps and CNCS.I became a teacher after spending nearly 30 years in the business world. I’d come to the realization that the career ladder I was climbing leaned against the wrong wall, and I began to look for opportunities to serve. I wanted to make a difference, to change the lives of students and partner with their families to strengthen our community. Three years ago, I joined Teach For America, an AmeriCorps program, and doing so has allowed me to devote the rest of my life to the incredible people I’ve had the pleasure to work with here in Atlanta.I teach special education at King Middle School in the Atlanta Public Schools district. Through this work, I’ve been able to make academic gains with my students. I’ve developed wonderful relationships with them and the rest of the community here at King, and I’ve been able to work towards something greater than myself. This career in service wouldn’t have been possible without AmeriCorps, and my experience isn’t unique.This year, 80,000 AmeriCorps members are mobilizing more than 4 million volunteers to help the most vulnerable citizens of this country. Their contributions are invaluable, yet Congress is considering significant cuts in funding to AmeriCorps and its parent agency, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).  These cuts would strip communities of the diverse talent and supports that they’ve benefited from and relied on for key services, and if the current House bill passes, then as many as half of all AmeriCorps positions could be eliminated.When I decided to switch gears and build a career in service, the financial support I received from AmeriCorps as a Teach For America corps member helped make that transition affordable. Going from business to teaching involved a change in income, and I was also required to earn a master’s degree in education. As an AmeriCorps participant, I received a stipend that I used toward that degree, and I also had the option of deferring my student loans for two years while CNCS paid the interest accrued. I’m eternally grateful for AmeriCorps’ role in helping me pay for tuition, books, and activity fees while I simultaneously worked with my students. That support makes it possible for everyone to serve, including those who might otherwise struggle with the financial implications of changing careers midway through life.During my first year as a corps member, nine out of my 11 literacy students passed their standardized reading test, and one student—who entered my classroom grade levels behind—was recommended for promotion to high school by the end of the year. Service truly has a lasting impact on communities, and I see it in the relationships I’ve built with parents, in the ongoing contact I have with students who have graduated, and in the daily conversations I have with my current students.At my school, we wouldn’t be able to make the same progress without AmeriCorps. In addition to the support the professional program has given me, we’ve also had several AmeriCorps volunteers tutor our students and assist with a variety of different educational programs. AmeriCorps has given me and so many others the chance to contribute to stronger communities, so please, join me in calling on members of Congress to protect funding for AmeriCorps and CNCS so we can build a stronger America through service.To read the whole article please visit the link here

Keywords: AmeriCorps, National Service, Teach For America
While the economy continues to show signs of improvement, there are still many workers who are facing challenges in connecting to new careers. The Department of Labor has encouraged dislocated workers to pursue education and training to improve their skills and better position them to compete for employment opportunities. Many workers have taken advantage of these opportunities, but it is also important to lay a path forward for those workers who have not enrolled in training and seek other options to build their skills and increase their chances to find employment.
If you took a snapshot of Americans' volunteer service, what would it look like? What work would attract the most volunteers? Will Boomers be able to teach Millennials a thing or two about helping others? And should you look north, south, east, or west to find the state that spends the most doing it?
I was inspired early in life to try to make a mark on the world. And even though I'm a bit of a natural caretaker -- working as a lifeguard and even helping find jobs for folks suffering from traumatic brain injury -- meetings and organizations just weren't my style.
National Volunteer Week, April 15-21, is a chance for Americans to recognize the volunteers within their community. Here on the blog, that's exactly what we hope to do with our posts this week.Today, this Wordless Wednesday features photos of all kinds of volunteers. Do you have a favorite volunteering photo? Share it with us on the Facebook!
Good news. A recent LinkedIn survey found that 41 percent of professionals considered volunteer work as much as paid work when evaluating job candidates. Now here’s the bad news: Slightly less than half of the 89 percent who had volunteer experience included it on their resumes. That’s a mistake -- put your volunteer experience to work for you.
On Monday, I joined the Corporation for National and Community Service as CEO. It’s been a great first week on the job.
It's an old saying and a profound truth that it is better to give than to receive. During National Volunteer Week, April 15-21, we celebrate the millions of Americans who volunteer and recognize the extraordinary benefits of service to individuals, communities, and our nation.
Having just wrapped up National AmeriCorps Week, another big week for celebrating service is on the horizon: National Volunteer Week. Happening April 15-21, 2012, National Volunteer Week is an opportunity for nonprofit organizations and national service members and alumni to be recognized and celebrated for their efforts. It's also an opportunity of AmeriCorps Alums to tell their story of service, and shine a light on the value of national service in our nation.
Last year, 64.3 million Americans gave their time in service. These volunteers spent hours in schools and shelters, hospitals and hotlines, and faith-based and community-groups. They are the everyday heroes who show up day in, day out and make a difference for millions of women and men around the world.
Today, Wendy Spencer begins her first day as new Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service. While you'll hear more from Wendy in the coming weeks, we wanted to help you get to know her a bit better. Learn more about Wendy and the service experiences that shaped her life with this video below.
Every day, researchers, policymakers, teachers, counselors, and business leaders continue to make the case for the importance of earning a high school diploma and obtaining some post-secondary study. For young adults who drop out of high school, their options and future earning potential become extremely limited. Sadly, 1-in-6 young adults are completely isolated from school and work – and are less likely to become the independent, productive citizens needed to help our nation grow.
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.
These words sit at the heart of my father's tireless efforts to advocate for change. He believed that protection from the hazards of pesticides; fair wages and improved working conditions were not achievable if not founded upon an improvement in the overall well-being of the community.
National service leaders, social entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and innovators from across the country will converge in Chicago for the National Conference on Volunteering and Service (NCVS), sponsored by the Points of Light Institute, June 18-20, 2012, to exchange ideas about and share solutions to some of the nation's toughest problems.
The Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO), a New York City-based Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grant recipient, recently won Harvard University's noteworthy Kennedy School of Government Innovations in American Government Award for its powerful approach to fighting poverty in New York and across the country.
AmeriCorps Week, held this year March 10 to 18, is traditionally an opportunity for the Corporation for National and Community Service and AmeriCorps grantees to celebrate members in service and build community awareness for the impact of AmeriCorps. In recent years, it has also been an opportunity for AmeriCorps Alums, Points of Light's enterprise engaging alumni of national service, to accentuate their passion for service and their continued commitment to a lifetime in service.
Growing up, I had dreams of what my future would look like. But reality taught me that achieving a dream and building a future is a learning process and can't be done alone.
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.
My grandmother lived in Texas, and she would remind me that everything was bigger there -- including their hearts. The work of one person, empowered by a Corporation for National and Community Service program, demonstrates how thousands of people are making a Texas-sized impact on the lives of our nation's veterans.
Today, to celebrate AmeriCorps Week, I served with a group of volunteers – including five enthusiastic AmeriCorps members – at a Habitat for Humanity build site in Washington, DC.
On a daily basis, the employees of the Federal Emergency Management Agency look into the eyes of disaster survivors and convey a calm strength and compassion to assist them on the road to recovery from disasters. Similarly conveying strength and resolve to make our nation stronger are the thousands of Americans who are part of AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
I began my AmeriCorps journey when I was recruited into the program by the Community Action Agency in Annapolis, MD. My first job was to create a mentoring system for families of Head Start students. The next year, I continued serving in the program by training others in mentoring as a regional coordinator, and I returned for a third year with AmeriCorps to lead the program as a state coordinator with Volunteer Maryland.
A new chapter in the history of national service began today with the announcement of a partnership with FEMA to strengthen the nation's ability to respond to and recover from disasters and expand career opportunities for young people. The five-year agreement provides for an additional 1,600 AmeriCorps NCCC members annually to supplement our current NCCC force.
National service is one of America's most hallowed traditions. As Alexis De Tocqueville noted in 1835, we are a nation of joiners. Ours is a country where people take collective action for the good of all.
Year-round AmeriCorps Alums, the national network for all alumni of national service, seeks to positively support and impact the professional life of its members. It is fitting tribute then that this year's AmeriCorps Week theme is AmeriCorps Works, perfectly aligning with the mission of AmeriCorps Alums.
Earlier this week, Chief of Program Operations, Idara Nickelson, accompanied Kelly DeGraff, Senior Advisor for Disaster Services on a tour of disaster areas throughout Missouri -- Joplin, Branson, and Kimberling City. Her first time at a disaster site, she snapped the above photo and had this to say:
More than a quarter of Colorado's third-graders are not reading at grade level, a concerning statistic as early childhood literacy is one of the most important predictors of school success and high school graduation. Stakeholders across diverse sectors including federal, state, and local governments, educators, nonprofits, business leaders, and foundations have teamed up to improving childhood literacy as a top priority for the state.
African American History Month has ended, and while the official celebration is over, our contributions to society don't end on any given particular day. Likewise, our African American service members continue to contribute and make history, even after they take off their uniforms for the last time.
Last week, I joined a community conversation organized by the United Way of the Bay Area. It was one of five forums in my region, of more than 100 gatherings in 30 cities across the country this spring. These events are bringing together local leaders, youth, and citizens to map out a plan to help young people find paths to economic independence.
Every four years, we're given one extra day, a leap day. That's 24 extra hours to spend however you wish. Why not spend a few of those hours making a difference?


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