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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
A group of 60 teens from 25 schools in Kentucky raises over $30,000 and does more than 3,000 hours of service each year.
At Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School in Tennessee, a group of students decided to take Do Something’s “Increase Your Green” challenge, where students across the nation competed to see who could make their school most environmentally friendly.
MillionTreesNYC is a 10-year initiative to plant and care for one million new trees throughout the City’s five boroughs.
On June 25th, Molly S headed to a block party, but not for the festivities. Instead, she was busy pre-screening individuals for SNAP (food stamp) benefits - work that she describes as "the most rewarding."
I have been a Red Cross Volunteer affiliated with the Washtenaw County Chapter in Ann Arbor, Michigan for almost 4 years. Because I have a full time job, I cannot volunteer as much as I would like but am able to find 8 or so hours a week to join in the efforts of a fixture of my hometown.
The blind leading the young: DC area woman can't see, but she can read, and she tutors kids to help prevent summer learning loss.
As a longtime blood donor, Kerri P. knows the importance of giving blood. But she never knew that the need for blood would hit so close to home. Her two-year-old daughter, Mary Clare, was born with a heart defect.
This post from the Arizona Republic just scratches the surface of a great story of service, and how we can help increase volunteerism around the nation.
I am an advocate for energy efficiency.
I have been a Community Emergency Response Team member in Cobb County, Georgia since 2004. It all started with my desire to help my family and neighbors to survive a disaster.
A 15 year old sophomore at Great Oak High School in Temecula, contacted Melissa, the Unit Director at the Great Oak Clubhouse in Temecula, CA. She was looking for a community service project that would truly have impact on the community and make a difference for children in her own town.
A community comes together to make the quality of living better for one little girl and, in turn, everyone benefits.
I am the day to day manager of a nonprofit farmers' market that was founded in February, 2008 with the mission of growing and sustaining a local food economy in and around Pass Christian, Mississippi.
One man has found a way to share his art with the world's most appreciative audience.
Can you imagine a program where teachers have to submit grant proposals to their students? Check out how these middle-schoolers in Florida are taking charge of their education and their communities.
One recent graduate finds a renewed sense of purpose in her volunteer efforts.
The Columbus Crew, the 2008 Major League Soccer champs, took Washington, DC, by storm on July 13. First stop was the White House, where they were honored by President Obama for winning the championship and for serving their community.
The US Forest Service has hosted a volunteer historic preservation program called "Passport in Time" since 1989.
Getting to know your neighbors is one of the most meaningful ways to keep your communities safe.
These ten men are answering the president's call to service from within the walls of their correctional facility. Hear what they have to say.
Nearly 50% of residents of Lansing Michigan are living at or near poverty levels. In an effort to help residents stretch their financial resources and improve their access to nutritious, locally grown foods, the Old Town Commercial Association is sponsoring the first ever Community Garden project.
After watching a news story about his local food bank, Peter N. decided to tackle hunger head on and started "One Can a Week."
On June 22nd, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar joined volunteer and youth groups at Shenandoah National Park as part of a national kickoff for President Obama’s new “United We Serve” campaign.
On June 23, 2009 St. Johns Housing Partnership (SJHP) launched its first volunteer-based weatherization project under the President’s United We Serve initiative.
To kick off United We Serve, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates visited wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Medical Center. The Secretary said that meeting with the soldiers “lifted him up.”
On June 22, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan kicked off United We Serve by volunteering with the St. Bernard Project in New Orleans, LA.
Libraries across the country provide opportunities for young people to stay engaged this summer. The Department of Education is fighting summer learning loss and asking all Americans to help children and youth develop a passion for reading. What will you do?
A true testament to how a commitment to serve benefits the community as well as the individual.
First Lady Michelle Obama helps build a new playground in San Francisco, discusses the importance of service in tackling our nation's greatest challenges and discovers her new favorite tool - the ratchet.
Broward in south Florida is known for more than just hanging chads! Families get books and encouragement to keep reading, and PTA commits to staying engaged.


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