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by
Will Chrysanthos

By: Will ChrysanthosTo those who have lived through devastation as complete as a tornado, every minute following the horror of wind and chaos is a perpetual memorial to the many who did not survive to see the skies clear again.Noon on January 31, 2012 will mark roughly eight months, eight days, and 18 hours since a cataclysmic, multi-vortex EF-5 tornado struck Joplin, MO. Like any other day, it will be a testament to the memory of those who perished, but it will also commemorate a legacy of determination and hope.On that day, the Missouri House of Representatives will recognize the service of AmeriCorps members who responded to disaster with the most noble of human instincts – service.I arrived in Joplin just days after the tornado and witnessed a scale of destruction I had not seen since my time as an AmeriCorps member in Biloxi, MS, following hurricane Katrina. I saw a volunteer response as staggering in its volume, grit, and inspiration as the tornado was in its fury.I saw teams of AmeriCorps members from Missouri, joined by scores from across the country leading volunteers by the thousand to restore Joplin. However, what my eyes could not discern – but which was as clear as day – was the inevitable and indelible strength of heart and spirit of those who contribute to the recovery.Those who choose to serve are great, but those who choose to serve and then stay until the work is done are heroic. I am proud to know and to have served alongside citizens who gave of themselves in Joplin. And I am heartened that AmeriCorps will be there until the city is fully recovered.That day may be far from now, but the honor that will be bestowed on January 31 is a reminder that that day will come, and that every hour of service since the tornado won’t be in vain.

Keywords: AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps NCCC, Disaster, Joplin, Missouri
One volunteer shares the story of how she benefitted personally through service to her community.
Stephanie explained how she would be reading a large print book and described her visual limitations. We stopped after each page for interactive comments and even corrections in the reading of the material! These kids were avid readers and didn’t miss a beat...
There is nothing like brightening a stranger’s day with a thank you, and a kind gesture.
On July 23rd, in support of United We Serve’s Community Renewal Week, Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ron Sims and Director of White House Office of Urban Affairs Adolfo Carrion teamed up with Teens 4 Good at the East Poplar Urban Farm to harvest potatoes for donation.
Governor Timothy M. Kaine of Virginia participated in two United We Serve volunteer projects at the end of July including a park clean up and weatherization of a home.
Believe me, volunteering does wonders for a wounded soul because I received far more than I gave.
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Disheartened by the state of the local cemetary and the lost memory of past neighbors, a Sumter, SC family takes matters into their own hands.
Whole Foods shoppers know that when they donated their unwanted cell phones at Secure the Call’s collection barrels in Ann Arbor and West Bloomfield, MI that not only were they ‘greening’ their community, but they were also helping to keep the Detroit area safe.
The Breakthrough Leaders Program's main focus is leadership and one way we did that was by volunteering at a near by care center.
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Zenniah had the challenge and support she needed to succeed when she was a young scholar at Higher Achievement in DC. After graduating from the program, Zenniah immediately returned as a volunteer to help other young people from her community get on that same path to success.
As part of ARAMARK Building Community and United We Serve's Community Renewal Issue Week, Rodney, Domonique Foxworth of the Baltimore Ravens, and 150 other ARAMARK employees spent the day volunteering at the East Baltimore Development Inc (EBDI) Community Center -- a place of great importance to Rodney.
The mission of Always Ready Kids was inspired by my Aunt Betsy who is a 9/11 survivor. Aunt Betsy was pushing the revolving door of the Center when the first plane hit. She says that what helped her survive is that she “was prepared with basic items” in her purse like a flashlight and handkerchief. Aunt Betsy is proof that preparedness saves lives.
I get an overwhelming sense of satisfaction to be able to give something back to the hospital whose dedicated employees worked so hard to give my husband his life back. They gave me my life back too.
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Z, a middle school student in a Summerbridge learning program, didn't stand out. Until he started doing Calculus...
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By helping to care for others and feeding others, the love and compassion of the souls shines brightly. There is nothing more important in life than love for others.
My name is Robby Riess, Assistant Cubmaster of Pack 353 Brooklyn, NY & Brooklyn District Committee Camping Chairman. We set out to tackle the task of getting a few scouts for the much needed clean up of the shorelines of Floyd Bennett Field which impacts the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge area of Gateway National Parks.
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A little help to get back on their feet.
I started interning with New Jersey Community Water Watch , which is a program ran by AmeriCorps and NJPIRG in a joint project. The program works by informing community members and students and encouraging them to be active stewards of their local water ways.
As a part of United We Serve's Community Renewal Issue Week, USDA Deputy Secretary Merrigan worked alongside volunteers at the Cleveland Food Bank to prepare sandwiches for hungry children.
These Target team members are putting their skills to work for local kids to promote education and literacy. How could you use your own talents to support a community project?
Each spring since the restoration, the Bohemian Hall has a fund raising event called “Long Live the Squeeze Box”. Musicians donate a song or two for the event to help with restoration projects. This year we took it one step further.

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