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by
Samantha Jo Warfield

By: CNCS StaffTo mark the one-year anniversary of the May 22 Joplin tornado, we’ll be featuring a variety of content on the serve.gov blog, including Q&As with those who served in the community, like this one.Question: What went through your mind when you first landed in Joplin?Simons: Despite having driven through the night to arrive the morning of the 23rd, I felt energized and ready to face the uncertainty that would be coming. I joined my team, who had arrived a few hours before, and stepped up to fill the holes that had not yet been met. While adrenaline was pumping through my veins, I actually felt a sense of calm because my team and I were prepared to get the process of our response started. Things were coming together in those first few hours by simply utilizing the resources and knowledge we had brought from our St. Louis office. We were getting things done.Question: Tell us about the moment that touched you most.Simons: While we had thousands of inspirational volunteers in Joplin, but a few really made an impact on me. One young man, Toshi, traveled from Japan to volunteer with us. While his community was still recovering from the terrible earthquake earlier that year, he devoted his time in a town he had never heard of: Joplin, Missouri. He was paying forward the American support that flooded to Japan after its disasters.While Toshi left us several inspirational stories, he told me that he wanted to take what he had learned in Joplin back home and create a volunteer center, one that would be ready to respond during a disaster. This led me to look back at my personal service trips to New Orleans and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina and how those volunteer trips influenced me. They inspired me to continue serving and to lead others into service in hopes that they will bring it back home with them.Question: How are you continuing your service?Simons: I signed up for a second year [in AmeriCorps] because I feel in love with AmeriCorps St. Louis and want to see it succeed. I want to continue to be a part of a program that had accomplished amazing things in the short time I had been serving. Being such a member driven program, I also felt that there was even more to gain from signing up for another year with AmeriCorps St. Louis.Question: How have you changed? What skills have you gained since first arriving in Joplin?Simons: My service during the Joplin Tornado response pushed me in to roles of responsibility and leadership that I couldn’t have ever imagined for myself. Now, I feel confident that I can and will succeed when I am faced with a challenge or opportunity that seems a little far out of reach.Question: What do you see yourself doing in 5 years? How has your service in Joplin influenced that vision?Simons: I am currently researching graduate programs in Public Administration with an emphasis in Emergency Management and Nonprofit Management. I hope to become a facilitator of change in our county. The Joplin response definitely had a big part in paving this path for me by allowing me to work directly with our State and Federal Emergency Management partners.

Keywords: AmeriCorps NCCC, Disaster, Joplin, Missouri
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.
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. This week, we’re focusing on some of the great stories about the National Day of Service and the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service from around the nation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. changed the course of history and inspired us to build what he called "the beloved community." The King Legacy of Service video tells the story of how Dr. King's birthday evolved into a national day of service.
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.
Growing up, I was fortunate enough to live a different experience than most. My parents were treasure hunters and I spent a majority of my childhood on their boat traveling in the Bahamas. Looking back, I almost feel as if I took those years a bit for granted; I never would have thought that the very boat I grew up on would be lifted and dropped in someone else’s yard.
This is the final stretch for holiday shoppers, and you know who you are if you belong to the procrastinators club. But you can still give the gift of service and help to others, even while the rush to the malls reaches a fever pitch.
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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