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National Service Blog - Archive
by
Erwin Tan

On Veterans Day, we honor the brave men and women who have risked their lives to protect our freedoms. As Americans, it is our solemn obligation to not only honor them 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.

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, we are increasing of support of programs that serve veterans and military families, or that engage veterans in service. We are learning a great deal from existing programs and pilots. Here are a few examples:

  • The Washington Commission on National and Community Service worked with the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs to establish an AmeriCorps veterans corps. The success of this program has led to similar veterans corps being funded by State Commissions in California, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
  • Thousands of Senior Corps volunteers assist elderly and disabled veterans, help military retirees acclimate to life after active duty, and provide transportation to former service members in need of medical treatment.
  • We are in the second year of a partnership with the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) and their Call to Service Consortium. Through this AmeriCorps VISTA program, the ALA serves as an intermediary engaging 14 other organizations in veterans-related national service. These veterans service organizations have a long and proud history of serving veterans. We have much to learn from them, just as we have much to offer.
  • Students in Learn and Serve America programs send letters and care packages to troops overseas, create education exhibits, and conduct interviews with veterans to document their war experiences.

There is still much more to do. As we celebrate Veterans Day, I’d like to engage the entire national service field in an intentional strategy of growing the number of organizations who can leverage national service resources to engage veterans and impact military communities. One big opportunity to do so is the 2011 AmeriCorps grant competition, which has made veterans and military families a funding priority.

In addition, I would like to encourage everyone to honor our nation’s veterans by participating in service on Veterans Day. Mission Serve, an initiative of ServiceNation, has worked with nonprofits, national service programs, and veterans’ service organizations across the country to develop Veterans Day service projects that benefit and engage military communities. You can search for a Veterans Day opportunity on Mission Serve’s website or on Serve.gov.

I also encourage you to explore the new veterans and military families page on Serve.gov. This site provides a listing of service opportunities to support veterans throughout the year and project ideas for citizens to support our troops, veterans, and military families. You can learn more about the Corporation’s work with veterans and the military community here.

Erwin J. Tan M.D. is the Director of SeniorCorps and Strategic Advisor for Veterans and Military Families at the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Keywords:
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.
The Sons of Norway answer the President's call to service.
One woman's personal satisfaction in service.
A Big Brother volunteer in St. Louis helps out at the MLB All-Star Game
Working with other community organizations, businesses, the City Council, Solano County, faith-based groups, non-profits, WIA and colleges, I am happy to report that we are helping to develop youth training programs, which empower youth to finish school and get jobs. Solano Community College also plans to have a Green Center, teaching green job practices, which will lead to more jobs with livable wages.
These local kids aren't letting summer pass them by - they're taking action to keep learning and to make their community better.
I know as I look back on this year, I will regard it as one of the most transformational experiences of my life.
Volunteers from the Grand County Senior Center and member of the Delicate Stitchers Quilt Guild give "Children in Crisis" a sense of stability with Love Bags.
When Darius decided to boldly take action, he was able to make an impact in his life and the lives of countless others.
Over 4,500 pounds of water chestnut were hand pulled from the pond in just one day, a volume of 14 cubic yards.
Young Sabrina was acting out and needed some extra help staying focused in school. Carol, a Foster Grandparent, is helping her make it through.
We all know the Red Cross responds to natural disasters through stories and pictures that generate horror, sympathy for lives that were lost or uprooted, admiration for selfless dedication of volunteers, and the dreadful conditions in which they worked. However, they were also remote, happening to other people in other places. In February of 2007, my concept of the Red Cross was forever changed.
Over a six-week session 16 kids called the "Skilleteers" planned, filmed, and starred in a children's cooking show that now airs on CAT TV in Columbia, Missouri.
On June 14, 2009 groups of volunteers emerged to “Go Beyond” and help clean and restore the baseball field and park surrounding the Roller and Recreation Facility in St. Louis, Missouri.
Rain or shine, we show up to parks on Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons to read to anyone who wants to listen.
The state of Oklahoma knows too well the devastation that disasters can cause. Whatever type of disaster, such as tornadoes, flooding, or terrorist attacks (such as the bombing of the Murrah Building) the physical, emotional and financial harm to people and property can be enormous.
A week of volunteering in rural Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia opens Abraham's eyes and pushes him to serve in his own community and beyond.
On June 23rd, Nothing But Nets engaged youth in a global campaign to fight one of the biggest killers in Africa, malaria.
The NFL Players Association and its players have joined President Barack Obama in his mission to build a stronger nation through the “United We Serve” initiative, a national effort designed to encourage more Americans to serve their communities.
LHVA is currently building a 40-mile trail along the Lackawanna River. A mile and a half of it runs through Scranton and this section of the trail tends to be one of the dirtiest areas
In the summer of 2006, saddened by the sight of local schoolyards that had been abandoned by children and occupied by troublemakers and drug users, Marco and Jennifer Chiappetta began reaching out to youth in their community. What started out as a single game of catch has evolved into a powerful mentorship program that is shifting the culture of their neighborhood. On Monday, July 20th the New York Yankees helped celebrate the Chiappettas as part of their HOPE Week.
Nearly 800 million people in the world cannot read. This is only one story.
Reports state that families of children with special needs are 80% more at risk for divorce, and the children are 30% more at risk for out of home placement. Respite days help families to cope with the stress of caring for these special children.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius knows how important early childhood literacy is. Do you?
“Will you marry me?” were the last words I expected to hear on my first day of volunteering with Kids Enjoy Exercise Now (KEEN).
My name is Mitch and I am a volunteer fishing instructor for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and an Anglers’ Legacy Ambassador. The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) Anglers’ Legacy Program is a nationwide mentoring program to introduce newcomers to fishing and boating.
In Minnesota, a collaborative of citizens has emerged to provide a forum for veterans to share their stories and begin the process of healing.
On Saturday, July 11th, over 300 volunteers turned out for the first of a year long monthly Downtown Skidrow Clean Up Initiative in Los Angeles.
When disaster strikes, often a home fire, John and other team members are on the spot to help those affected. He finds out what’s needed and may arrange hotel lodging and provide funds for immediate needs.
What happens to those elementary students who do not need special education, but need additional help in the classroom? Darlene, a former teacher, asked that question and decided to take action.

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