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National Service Blog - Archive
by
Robert Velasco, II

Veterans Day is a time to reflect on the tremendous sacrifices that military service members and families have made while protecting our nation.

As Americans, it is our solemn obligation to not only honor veterans with our words, but to support them through our deeds. Veterans and the families that support them deserve our respect, gratitude, and service - on Veterans Day and throughout the year.

At the Corporation for National and Community Service, we are committed to expanding our work with veterans and military families. Building on years of experience, and consistent with the Serve America Act and our Strategic Plan, we are working with our partners to increase support for programs that serve veterans and military families and to engage more veterans in service. 

A Few Highlights

  • All week on our National Service Blog, we are sharing stories of veterans in national service - including some amazing WWII vets still serving today through Senior Corps. You can also learn more about how to support and honor a veteran.
  • On Monday, Koby Langley joined CNCS as Strategic Advisor for Veterans, Wounded Warriors and Military Family Initiatives, bringing a wealth of experience as a decorated veteran, JAG attorney, and special assistant at the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Tomorrow we will join the National Guard and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America to launch a multi-state VetCorps supported through AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA. Click here to watch a live webcast of the press conference tomorrow at 9:30 am EDT.
  • Organizations including The Mission Continues, Mission Serve, colleges in the President's Interfaith Collegiate Challenge, and national service programs across the country are leading service projects for Veterans Day, part of a broader effort to connect military and civilian service.

How You Can Help

There is still much more to do. As we celebrate Veterans Day, we encourage the national service field to expand support for veterans and military families, and recruit more veterans into service. Veterans bring extraordinary skills and leadership abilities to national service.

More than 16,000 veterans have served in AmeriCorps, and tens of thousands have served in Senior Corps - applying their unique skills to solve problems here at home. Here are some ways volunteers can help.

  • SERVE: Organize or join a project through Serve.gov. The search engine provides a great tool for individuals and groups to find local projects or start a project using our online toolkits.
  • HONOR: Memorialize the story of a veteran by recording his or her story for the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress. The Veterans History Project Field Kit provides straightforward, step-by-step guidelines on how to interview a veteran.
  • PLEDGE: Operation Honor Cards is a project inspired by the First Lady's Joining Forces campaign to encourage Americans to pledge to serve military families and veterans. National service programs are pitching in, such as Montana Senior Corps programs that generated more than 185,000 hours of service, helping the project reach 9 million hours of pledges. Make your pledge here.

Thank you for your support of our veterans and military communities, on Veterans Day and throughout the year.

PS: Learn more about the Corporation's work with veterans and military families and join the conversation or share your stories about Veterans Day on Facebook or http://twitter.com/ServeDotGov.

Keywords: CEO, National Service, Veterans, Volunteer
In Detroit, MI, parents expect crowded schools and budget cuts. So they're stepping up to make sure kids in the Detroit area get a solid education. Here's what one mother of four is doing.
It took a lot of time but the rewards of serving in the hospital and on the ambulance are well worth it.
As part of their Leadership Morgan Hill class project, the Class of 2009 is organizing a community Volunteer Fair in September that will connect organizations with community members looking for opportunities to volunteer. Their goal is to make their new organization, Volunteer Morgan Hill, and the Volunteer Faire a permanent part of the community.
I am a summer intern in the Office of the Mayor of New York City, and I am a proud member of the brand new NYC Service team. NYC Service is a new municipal initiative by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to answer President Obama’s national call to service, and its primary goal is to increase volunteerism and civic engagement in the city
If you are reading these words with your eyes scanning across the screen, you might forget that there are many for whom that is not possible. Nancy wants to make sure all people, whether blind or sighted, have a chance at a great education.
I know that volunteering makes our community a better place to live and extends a helping hand to those in need.
Approximately 1,500 global Cisco employees and contingent workers volunteer their time to train and respond to a variety of emergency situations through Cisco's Emergency Response Team (ERT).
Mary was weary of responding to the President's call to service, but during an afternoon working with special needs children at a local pool, she quickly discovered that volunteering offered much more.
Veterans First Executive Director, Deanne Tate, was moved to tears thanking volunteers for volunteering and spending the day helping veterans in need. It was an honor to participate on this rebuild project and help honor the service men and women who have given so much to our country.
Among the many difficulties facing the Appalachian communities of Southwest Virginia is the quality of education. With limited funding, many primary and high schools struggle to meet the Standards of Learning (SOL), set forth by the state of Virginia in accordance with the No Child Left Behind Act. In recent years, the rural elementary schools of Russell County have sought to incorporate an environmental education aspect in their curriculum. They’ve experienced difficulty in implementing the project due to lack of resources and few qualified instructors.
Kids and teens with behavior problems often fall far behind in their academic development. Mary knew this because of her own son. She decided to get involved with a local literacy program to help youth involved in the juvenile justice system get a solid education.
Right To Play sponsored an exchange program between athletes in Jordan and the United States. The program recognizes the universal appeal of sport as an ideal vehicle to inform, educate and empower entire communities.
On August 6th, nearly 40 volunteers - some as young as 7, donned gloves, grabbed shovels and rakes, and hauled trash to help beautify and revitalize Milwaukee's 30th Street Industrial Corridor. Many of the community's industrial sites are underutilized and volunteers hope that clean-up projects like this one will help attract new business and revitalize the community.
Linda Loi has been volunteering in the Golden Gate National Park for the last five years. First in the Urban Trail Blazers Program and most recently with the program Inspiring Young Emerging Leaders, Loi has dedicated hours of her time each week to giving back, not just environmentally but also as a youth leader and role model to others in her programs.
The local Czechoslovak Society of America group in North Riverside, IL, volunteered over 300 hours at the town library to complete a special project.
Health Corps strives to help stem the crisis of child obesity through school-based health education and mentoring, as well as community events and outreach to underserved populations.
This community event provides our entire community with heightened crime and drug prevention awareness; generates support for and participation in local anticrime programs; strengthens neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and sends a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
For her July birthday party, Cara M. told friends and family to forget the usual gifts and leis. Instead, she asked guests to bring cans of food for her church's food pantry, reminding them that even in idyllic Honolulu neighbors were struggling with hunger and homelessness.
What started with a single vegetable garden on the grounds of USDA headquarters in Washington, D.C. has grown into global movement. In their offices across the country and all over the world, USDA employees are volunteering their time to create community gardens, demonstrate sustainable agricultural techniques that everyday people can incorporate into their homes and lives, and showcase the importance of preserving the environment and conserving energy.
Summer Advantage USA, a national non-profit that provides summer learning opportunities for youth in grades K - 8, led its young scholars through a process of identifying community challenges and implementing service projects. Here, these young people reflect on their work.
These citizens will be especially active during National Health Center Week, August 9th - 16th, 2009. Visit NACHC’s site www.healthcenterweek.com to find out about Health Center Week events near you.
Keeping the veterans community active is the best way to honor those who have served.
We found a solution to help military girls fight low self-esteem, grow in leadership, and unite with those who understand their struggles. The Sisterhood of the Traveling BDUs will bring together 500 military girls from across California for the first ever weekend conference for military girls to empower one another in sisterly support.
Busy working mom Kenya was driving home from her children's little league game when she wondered, "why don't we have this for service?" To teach her children and others in the community the importance of service and time with family, Kenya came up with the Family Service Team Program.
The YMCA Earth Service Corps joined forces with the Washington Trails Association to get dirty at Mount Saint Helens for a week of environmental restoration.
This young man learns that putting his still-struggling second-language skills to work in his community parent education role is a win-win.
A Community Health Corps member shares their story of service.
I am not done serving yet but I have slowed down since I turned 80.
One volunteer shares the story of how she benefitted personally through service to her community.
160 Odyssey House staff, clients and community volunteers tackle record breaking rainfall to build a new playground at the Family Re-Entry supportive housing facility in the South Bronx.

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