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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:
A new video and photos from the National Day of Service and Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend of Service show the enthusiasm of people around the nation as they used the time to volunteer during the holiday weekend.
As the big game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers approaches this Sunday, the mayors from those cities are taking a different approach to the traditional, friendly wager. This year, the focus will be on volunteering and community service.
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This weekend was a major moment for national service, and I want to share some of the many highlights that inspired me.
When people talk about mentoring, the discussion often focuses on the young people being served. But mentors will tell you that they also get something from these special relationships. Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, shared her mentoring story with us.
Volunteers packed the D.C. Armory in Washington, DC, on Jan. 19, 2013, to participate in Dr. Martin Luther King Day of Service and National Day of Service activities. Participants assembled 100,000 care kits for Operation Gratitude and wrote letters to U.S. soldiers during the event. Watch this blog for more National Day of Service photos from around the nation.
On April 9, mayors across the country will highlight the impact of national service in their cities and thank the individuals who serve during the first-ever Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service. The initiative will be led by U.S. Conference of Mayors President and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), Cities of Service, and other organizations.
This weekend, Americans will join their neighbors in the National Day of Service and Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) encourages everyone to take some time during the holiday to make it “a day on, not a day off.
President Obama encourages everyone to join him and the First Family for the National Day of Service on Saturday, Jan. 19 in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. People all across the nation will be participating in service projects – watch the video and learn how you can participate in the event.
Continuing a tradition he started at his first inauguration in 2009, President Barack Obama is calling on Americans all across the country to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and participate in the National Day of Service on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013.
In 1960, when she was just 6 years old, civil rights leader Ruby Bridges was one of four children to integrate the public school system in New Orleans. Every day, she crossed a screaming mob to enter her classroom.
Americans from all 50 states will join thousands of organizations and commit to service this weekend as the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service coincides with the 57th Presidential Inaugural and National Day of Service.
First Lady Michelle Obama lends her voice to encourage Americans to serve as part of the National Day of Service on Saturday, Jan. 19. Read on to watch the video, discover more about the First Family’s commitment to community service, and learn how you can join the effort.
The Service News Digest is a regular feature on the Serve.gov blog. In this series, we showcase articles that feature national service and Corporation for National and Community Service programs. Take a look at some of the great stories that had people talking recently.
In a sermon delivered nearly 55 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. described what he called the "Drum Major Instinct” to the congregation in Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. The words he spoke that day were the inspiration for a national service award that recognizes leaders who give their time serving others but seldom seek the spotlight.
One of the greatest things about the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is that when we pause to celebrate the life and accomplishments of the civil rights leader, we are also inspired to answer what he called life’s most persistent question: “What are you doing for others?” We can respond with action via MLK Day projects and National Day of Service activities surrounding the upcoming inauguration.
We continue to track news coverage of the role national service participants have played in the Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery effort for the last few months. This week, our collection of stories includes one about two AmeriCorps members who spent their holiday away from home, helping people in New York and New Jersey recover from the storm.
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This week, nearly 100 AmeriCorps members boarded planes from Sacramento, CA, to New Jersey and New York where they will help residents affected by Hurricane Sandy rebuild homes, remove debris, and manage volunteers. Southwest Airlines’ decision to donate travel to these young leaders made this deployment possible.
At age 17, Congressman John Lewis was so inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that he wrote a letter to King asking to meet him. Dr. King wrote back and sent Lewis a round-trip Greyhound bus ticket to meet with him.
Last month, we told you that Americans volunteered 7.9 billion hours in the Volunteering and Civic Life in America report and last week, we asked you to join us in a National Day of Service around the Presidential Inauguration and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. We know that January is a time filled with resolve to be better and do better. What better way to fulfill those resolutions than with volunteering?
The Service News Digest is a regular feature on the Serve.gov blog. In this series, we showcase news highlights that feature national service, and Corporation for National and Community Service programs. Take a look at some of the great stories that had people talking recently.
Each new year draws millions to make resolutions designed to change their lives. And while the focus on self-improvement is fine, the arrival of National Mentoring Month gives us an opportunity to recognize men and women who channel their energy to helping and inspiring young people toward a brighter future.
Last month, Corporation for National and Community Service staff visited several sites in New York and New Jersey where national service members were helping with the Hurricane Sandy recovery effort. Today, we'd like to share two of the videos from that trip.
As an AmeriCorps VISTA at Habitat for Humanity International, I spend most of my days planning for events, attending meetings for upcoming projects, and supporting the wonderful and exciting things my fellow Habitaters (coworkers) are doing. Recently, I had an opportunity to see the impact Habitat makes firsthand as we led a project to help homeowners affected by Hurricane Sandy.
We’ve been tracking news coverage of the role our national service participants have played in the Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery effort for the last few months. Here are some of the latest stories, including two personal reflections by AmeriCorps members.
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Millions of Americans will be making the journey to their respective hometowns this weekend to celebrate the holidays with friends and family. Today and tomorrow, a 26-member AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) team will leave Denver, CO, for the East Coast to spend their holidays helping families recover from Hurricane Sandy.
When AmeriCorps NCCC member Melissa Ettman was assigned to lead a Sacramento, CA-based team to help with the Hurricane Sandy cleanup in New York and New Jersey, she was familiar with many of the areas affected by the storm. In fact, her 87-year-old grandmother on Long Island was affected by the hurricane and had to live without electricity for a week.

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