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National Service Blog - Archive
by
Samantha Jo Warfield

By: CNCS StaffTo mark the one-year anniversary of the May 22 Joplin tornado, we’ll be featuring a variety of content on the serve.gov blog, including Q&As with those who served in the community, like this one.Question: What went through your mind when you first landed in Joplin?Simons: Despite having driven through the night to arrive the morning of the 23rd, I felt energized and ready to face the uncertainty that would be coming. I joined my team, who had arrived a few hours before, and stepped up to fill the holes that had not yet been met. While adrenaline was pumping through my veins, I actually felt a sense of calm because my team and I were prepared to get the process of our response started. Things were coming together in those first few hours by simply utilizing the resources and knowledge we had brought from our St. Louis office. We were getting things done.Question: Tell us about the moment that touched you most.Simons: While we had thousands of inspirational volunteers in Joplin, but a few really made an impact on me. One young man, Toshi, traveled from Japan to volunteer with us. While his community was still recovering from the terrible earthquake earlier that year, he devoted his time in a town he had never heard of: Joplin, Missouri. He was paying forward the American support that flooded to Japan after its disasters.While Toshi left us several inspirational stories, he told me that he wanted to take what he had learned in Joplin back home and create a volunteer center, one that would be ready to respond during a disaster. This led me to look back at my personal service trips to New Orleans and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina and how those volunteer trips influenced me. They inspired me to continue serving and to lead others into service in hopes that they will bring it back home with them.Question: How are you continuing your service?Simons: I signed up for a second year [in AmeriCorps] because I feel in love with AmeriCorps St. Louis and want to see it succeed. I want to continue to be a part of a program that had accomplished amazing things in the short time I had been serving. Being such a member driven program, I also felt that there was even more to gain from signing up for another year with AmeriCorps St. Louis.Question: How have you changed? What skills have you gained since first arriving in Joplin?Simons: My service during the Joplin Tornado response pushed me in to roles of responsibility and leadership that I couldn’t have ever imagined for myself. Now, I feel confident that I can and will succeed when I am faced with a challenge or opportunity that seems a little far out of reach.Question: What do you see yourself doing in 5 years? How has your service in Joplin influenced that vision?Simons: I am currently researching graduate programs in Public Administration with an emphasis in Emergency Management and Nonprofit Management. I hope to become a facilitator of change in our county. The Joplin response definitely had a big part in paving this path for me by allowing me to work directly with our State and Federal Emergency Management partners.

Keywords: AmeriCorps NCCC, Disaster, Joplin, Missouri
On August 27, 2009, I took part in United We Serve Safety and Security Week by touring our new Volunteer Reception Center, housed in the new Salvation Army Family Services Building.
“With Ike’s devastation still so fresh on everyone’s mind, we are experiencing an increase in interest from people that desire to participate in training,” said Mark Sloan. “Current students in our class feel we are giving them more insight and greater ability to respond to disasters.”
As a professional athlete, Rams linebacker Chris Draft has had to deal with many challenges on the field. No challenge may have been bigger than trying to tackle asthma through every stage of his career. Chris knows the challenges of having asthma as an athlete, and that’s why he’s partnered with the National Lt. Governor’s Association to challenge coaches across the country to educate themselves about the challenges and dangers of asthma to athletes.
As a tornado touched down a few blocks away, volunteers from the Twin Cities Interfaith Youth Leadership Coalition gathered in the basement of a church, and without skipping a beat, continued their work with Groveland Food shelf.
“Number 3, number 3 number 2, number 2 number 9, number 9 number number 9, number 9 number 5!” The Student Conservation Association (SCA) youth crew chants out their rhythm game to warm up before hiking into National Park Service land to perform trail work at the Phleger Estate.
The Mission Continues…even after the military. David has been awarded a Mission Continues Fellowship that will allow him to continue his work as head coach of the Baltimore Broncos. In this role, he not only teaches the game of football, but also strengthens the lives of his players. This non-profit football team focuses on providing an outlet for underprivileged youth, through football.
The US Department of Health and Human Services partnered with Safe Shores on a back to school supply drive and flu educational event.
First-year students at American University participated in the school's largest-ever Freshman Service Experience.
Jim Thome of the Chicago White Sox talks about the White Sox Volunteer Corps and how his team is "stepping up to the plate" in the Chicagoland community.
Our Western Fraternal Life Association Lodge 236 members have done community services for decades and plan to expand our volunteer efforts - reminding present and future generations of historical events so that, hopefully, we can help prevent them from occurring again.
I'm a member of a couple of Tucson, Arizona groups that bring the barn-raising model to community greening projects.
I know cancer all too well. It robbed me of my father, aunt, grandmother, and grandfather. Because of that, I know how important a helping hand can be for cancer patients and their families.
“It’s a good feeling to use my skills to volunteer and help the school," said Anne, a retired nurse serving her community.
All across the country, humanities scholars partner with national service members to engage in critical discussions of service, justice, and more. Here's one example of a parks crew in Montana that moves from cutting trail to digging deep into questions of community and social change.
The US Department of Commerce is answering the President's call to service through an all-volunteer "Green Team" at our headquarters building in Washington, DC. The Team is comprised 134 volunteers with representatives from the Office of the Secretary and all seven Operating Units located at, or nearby, the Herbert C. Hoover Building (HCHB).
Despite growing up in New Orleans, David never thought there was a reason for him to stay, especially when so much of what he loved about the city had been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and crime. David's work with the Gulfsouth Youth Action Corps and Desire Street Ministries camp this summer, however, has made him realize that he plays a big part in the rebuilding of his hometown.
Operation Homefront, military families and local volunteers teamed up to take part in the President’s call to service during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction weekend. On Saturday, July 25, Operation Homefront hosted a project to prepare care packages for deployed service members and back-to-school backpacks for New York’s military children.
Voluntary organizations, governments, are working together to rebuild flood-damaged homes before winter.
It's never too late to start helping others.
Yesenia was taking filmmaking classes at Raw Art Works (RAW), in Lynn, MA, where she was learning to get creative. As she thought about applying for college – she would be the first in her family to go – she found the support she needed right at RAW.
I decided since I can't throw away things from my toothbrush to computers, to microwave or deck furniture; one thing I sure can do is to use reusable grocery bags to reduce the toxic trash.
Two weeks ago, Oregon residents came together with Clackamas County Volunteer Connection Center, RSVP and local service agencies to discuss who is homeless in the county and why, what is being done to support them and how local individuals and groups could help meet the needs of the community.
Our first mission was to inform the local community, who for the most part, were unaware that the purpose of the USO was to make a ‘Home Away from Home ‘ for our military service members and their families many of whom were away from home for the first time in their lives. Deployments for six or more months at sea or years in the war zones were highly stressful for both they and their loved ones. This was what the USO was created to support during WW ll.
Ella M. was restless during a brief period of retirement in Florida. Looking for new purpose in this phase of her life, she returned to her home state of New Jersey and started volunteering at the local hospital. It turned out to be the perfect fit. Now 93 years old, and after having battled and defeated cancer twice herself, Ella has volunteered nearly 32,000 hours at the hospital and has no plans to stop.
This was the first I’d even heard of a Duck Drop Race, so I was intrigued and wanted to participate. It was a chance to bring together community youth, families, the Chamber of Commerce who started the event, and the community watershed organization with which I work: the Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance (SCRA).
While completing certification for mediation and facilitation, Rebecca is volunteering as a mediator with the City of David, California's Community Mediation Services. During these tough economic times, she hopes to help those in her community who feel helpless and intimidated by small-claims court.
Find a whole new community at your local Veterans Administration facility. They will welcome you with open arms - and there is BBQ!
Because of the time, talent, and treasure of the Foresters, more than 600 children impacted by cancer will have a summer camp experience to remember.
A public school and a charter school in NYC put on the gloves and battle it out. Not boxing gloves, though - work gloves. And they're in the same corner.
This summer, Sierra Club’s Cool Cities program launched its Home Energy Ambassador Training program in partnership with United We Serve

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