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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
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
“Where do you find the time?” is a question that could be posed to many parents, but the 2012 Volunteering and Civic Life in America (VCLA) report shows that many in this group are carving space in their busy schedules to help others in their communities. Allison Moore, a military spouse and mother of three young children in Missouri, is a prime example.
The new Volunteering and Civic Life in America report gives researchers at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) a chance to examine some of the trends in these two important areas of life in these United States. This data from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 51 cities provides a snapshot of how Americans are coming together to improve our communities and who is leading the way.
As Hurricane Sandy efforts transition from emergency response to long-term recovery, AmeriCorps members are providing vital leadership in communities up and down the East Coast.
Working together to strengthen our communities is at the core of our national values. New research indicates that this commitment to service burns brighter than ever.
The Hurricane Sandy recovery continues with more than 1,660 national service participants deployed in response to the storm and 715 currently serving on the ground and working with the storm’s victims. At this time 407 members of FEMA Corps, an AmeriCorps NCCC unit, have deployed or are being re-routed to New York and New Jersey to support FEMA Emergency Response operations in those areas.
Our friends weigh in often on our Facebook page with comments, opinions, and all kinds of interesting observations.
As military deployments became more common for National Guard and Reserve troops, the emotional strain hits children left behind especially hard. Operation: Military Kids (OMK) supports military youth age 5-18 with outreach programs to help them cope with the stresses of being away from their parents serving far from home.
Even though there are plenty of distractions around the holiday season, let’s not forget the victims of Hurricane Sandy who are still reassembling their lives in the storm’s aftermath. The Corporation for National and Community Service joins other federal and national agencies in the recovery effort with a commitment that’s used by our Disaster Services Unit: “You can count on us to respond fast and stay last.”
Did you know that some of the programs under the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) banner have been in existence for nearly 50 years? We’ve created a new national service timeline to show how we got to where we are today.


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