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by
Greg Tucker

By: Greg TuckerJust hours after a deadly EF-5 tornado struck Joplin, MO, in May 2011, AmeriCorps members began arriving to help with the recovery efforts. Now Missouri state officials are recognizing the national service volunteers who came to the city’s aid after the devastating storm.A unanimous Missouri House of Representatives resolution commends the more than 300 AmeriCorps members who converged on Joplin and provided an immediate and ongoing response to the tornado that killed 161 residents and destroyed more than 7,000 homes, churches, schools, and businesses.A RAPID AND CONTINUING RESPONSEAmeriCorps members serving in Joplin came from 20 organizations and seven states to provide vital services and mobilize more than 60,000 volunteers who assisted in the recovery. City officials estimate that AmeriCorps managed and supported volunteers who provided more than 579,000 hours of service, totaling more than $17.7 million of donated resources.The first members from AmeriCorps St. Louis and AmeriCorps NCCC arrived in Joplin hours after the tornado and immediately began working with local authorities to assist in search and rescue, and establish a missing persons hotline. During the past seven months, AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) deployed more than 200 members who provided 49,000 hours of service, gutted or mucked 725 homes, and served more than 20,000 meals.“In a time of great need, AmeriCorps members rushed to the scene and have stayed for the long haul, providing vital hope and help to the people of Joplin,” said Robert Velasco, Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, AmeriCorps parent federal agency. “Our commitment to the people of Joplin will continue through the work of additional AmeriCorps members who will serve over the coming year.”AmeriCorps NCCC has committed to bringing more than 30 AmeriCorps members to serve in Joplin during the coming year, including:

  • Eight additional full-time members serving with AmeriCorps St. Louis, the primary coordinators of the massive volunteer response, supported through a new AmeriCorps grant from the Missouri Community Service Commission;
  • Eighteen full-time AmeriCorps VISTAs serving in conjunction with the PAVE Eldon Schools - Joplin Schools Bright Futures program and other area non-profits, who will implement and expand programming to improve the health, academic performance, and well-being of children and families in the Joplin area;
  • One or two AmeriCorps NCCC teams of 8-12 members each that will be deployed through July 2012 to bring hands-on assistance to ongoing recovery operations.

The House resolution recognized over 20 AmeriCorps programs for their key role in Joplin recovery efforts. Since 1994 AmeriCorps has provided critical support to millions of Americans affected by tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, forest fires, terror attacks, and other natural and man-disasters, and is a vital resource in America’s emergency management infrastructure.

Keywords: Joplin, AmeriCorps, Disaster, AmeriCorps NCCC, 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.
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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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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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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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.
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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