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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
Students at Woodmere Middle School on Long Island completed a service-learning project at the Town of Hempstead's Marine Nature Study Area in honor of the 16th Annual National Public Lands Day. They lent a helping hand to Long Island's tidal wetlands, which provide protection for shellfish, small fish, migratory birds, and other animals.
For low income non-English speaking families, tax season can be a daunting time. In Pinal County, Arizona, Ricardo Banuelos has opened up 16 centers to help residents overcome language barriers and recover the benefits they are entitled to.
Pratyusha Yalamanchi is making a difference locally and globally.
The Bronx Wash is a cement covered arroyo that is an uninviting eyesore in the Northwest Neighborhood in Tucson, Arizona. The goal of the Bronx Wash Mural Project is to encourage a sense of pride and ownership in the area, to reconnect the neighborhood and involve local residents in beautifying this shared space.
On the first-ever September 11 Day of Service and Remembrance, young people from across the nation planted trees in Keystone, Colorado, to honor fallen heroes and increase their knowledge of nature.
United States Embassy staff and families in Tokyo, Japan have embraced the State Departments Embassy Community Action Program (ECAP) by leading book drives in local libraries.
With the Citizen Corps Council/VOAD, RSVP hosted an informational meeting on August 24, 2009 - to kick off Safety and Security Week and also build up to 9/11.
EducationWorks, which serves children and youth in urban neighborhoods, including Trenton in NJ, wanted to participate in a service event to recognize the new National Day of Service and Remembrance on 9/11/2009.
This August, a group of Girls Inc girls at our Brooklyn site volunteered at Rooftop Farms in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
I am a senior and member of the varsity cheerleading squad at Stone Bridge High School. This year I helped organize my team to participate in a community service project to commemorate September 11.
Professional athletes in Austin, Texas answer the President's call on the first ever National Day of Service and Rememberance.
Mother organizes her community to knit 130 helmet liners for her son's fellow troops in Afghanistan.
Students from 11 New York City schools competed in the first Teen Iron Chef competition of culinary skills and talent organized by HealthCorps®, Family Cook Productions and Urban Assembly School of Music and Art.
Usher helps youth use their creative talents to address problems in their communities.
UPS employees have completed a project that benefits both Atlanta residents and the environment. These employee volunteers transformed a small patch of unused land into a garden full of hearty produce: corn, onions, okra, squash, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, beans, sweet potatoes and watermelon now fill a space that was previously vacant and unattractive.
The Northeast Ecological Corridor, protected as a Nature Reserve in April 2008, lies between the towns of Luquillo and Fajardo on Puerto Rico's northeastern shoreline. Its 3,200 acres include forests, wetlands, beaches, coral communities, a bioluminescent lagoon and one of the hottest surfing spots on Puerto Rico's east coast: "La Selva" (the jungle).
Danielle talks about the challenges ("try getting a physically combative 60 lb. 5 yr. old in a car seat by yourself") and triumphs ("I could see him carrying himself differently") of mentoring 5-year old Tyler, a young boy struck by the instability and stigma of having an incarcerated parent.
How one school got involved on September 11th by honoring our service members.
When I first found out I’d be interning in the New York City Mayor’s Office this summer, I resigned myself to a summer of desk work, with perhaps some filing thrown in for variety. So imagine my surprise when I began working at NYC Service, an office launched by Mayor Bloomberg in April in response to President Obama’s national call to service.
A Pittsburgh, PA couple takes time out every day to talk to the "Mayor of Main Street."
When I retired nearly four years ago, I never dreamed I would have so many interesting jobs and experiences.
Eastern Colorado experiences blizzard conditions every winter. Living snow fences are tree plantings strategically planned to provide protection along roadways by capturing wind driven snow, keeping snow and ice from creating driving hazards. In my career, I have coordinated or participated in 36 living snow fence plantings.
Mike L., a member with the American Red Cross’ AmeriCorps Together We Prepare program, has been making quite an impact on Washtenaw County in Michigan. Through his service with the county’s Red Cross chapter, Mike’s usual service has been organizing a youth service group called Youth Community Action Team (YCAT) and responding to local disasters. But following an AmeriCorps training session, another opportunity presented itself.
As the National Day of Service and Remembrance came to a close, Sprite renewed the urgent call for volunteerism across America by launching the Sprite Step Off Service Challenge on the Mall of Washington on September 12. As part of the Sprite Step Off, the largest college Greek competition ever, the Service Challenge presents an opportunity for young people to refresh their communities through volunteerism.
A retail store in Los Angeles opens its doors to help children read.
Boston-based rockers Thirteen Yards to Victory couldn't help but notice the headlines in the local newspapers and the announcements on social media sites that many arts and music education programs in their area were being cut severely. The bad economy was going to mean a poor education for so many students.
On September 11, more than a dozen Cabinet secretaries and senior administration officials commemorated the heroism of those who lost their lives on September 11th, 2001, and remembered their spirit of sacrifice by engaging in service and volunteerism as part of the first officially recognized September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance.
I wanted to share some news with you that the First Lady and I are excited to share on this National Day of Service and Remembrance.
Beverley is a volunteers with Prisoner Visitation & Support in rural West Virginia. Her experiences have allowed her to inspire others and be inspired. Through her visits, she hopes to serve as a role model for those inside and outside of the prison walls.
In 2007 we started the Boston Latin School Youth Climate Action Network as a student led extracurricular club devoted to helping the environment.


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