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The White House

This article by Wendy Spencer and Jonathan Greenblatt originally appeared on The White House Blog on Jan. 17, 2013.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dedicated his life to improving the world in which he lived—and challenged the rest of us to do the same. He not only championed the equal rights but also equal access to economic opportunity for all Americans. This year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service will honor his legacy as hundreds of thousands of Americans pay tribute by serving their communities on Monday, Jan. 20.

In honor of Martin Luther King Day, President Barack Obama serves lunch in the dining room at So Others Might Eat, a soup kitchen in Washington, DC, Jan. 18, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

 

 

We know there is a great deal we can do to help our cities and neighborhoods thrive, and as President Obama said last week, “the American people … are ready and willing to pitch in and help.” MLK Day exemplifies this spirit as individuals and families around the country come together on this day every year to strengthen their communities through service and volunteering. Through their deeds, they demonstrate that service can accelerate progress on our most pressing priorities.

To encourage more Americans to serve and use them more effectively, the Federal government already manages programs such as AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and Senior Corps. Yet we can still do more to help communities that need our help. For this reason, the President created the Task Force on Expanding National Service last summer. The Task Force focuses on helping more Americans find ways to serve through new interagency partnerships such as FEMA Corps and public-private partnerships such as the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps.

And we hope you’ll get out this Monday to volunteer. You can find projects in your area by visiting Serve.gov or following #MLKDayofService on Twitter.

Please join us in making MLK Day the start of a “year of action.”

Wendy Spencer is CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service and co-chair of the Task Force on Expanding National Service. Jonathan Greenblatt is Special Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation in the Domestic Policy Council. 

Keywords: Economic Opportunity, National Day of Service, President Obama, volunteering, Wendy Spencer, White House
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
On Saturday, Dec. 1, the global community observes World AIDS Day as the march continues toward creating an AIDS-free generation. AIDS United, a Social Innovation Fund (SIF) and AmeriCorps grantee, is one of many groups supporting the work on the front lines of this epidemic.
When asked how to best honor her husband, Coretta Scott King replied, "The greatest birthday gift my husband could receive is if people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds celebrated the holiday by performing individual acts of kindness through service to others." As the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service approaches on Jan. 21, 2013, teachers and students across the country are exploring the idea of service to others through an online curriculum created by the Corporation for National and Community Service and Scholastic
As the Hurricane Sandy recovery continues, the Serve.gov blog will highlight some of the best stories from the field. Today we have a personal reflection from AmeriCorps NCCC member Nicole Wojcik, who is serving with team Delta 10 and staffing a donation hotline in New Jersey.
The transient nature of military life can make life difficult for students in military families, and many are stationed at Fort Leonard Wood for less than two years or experience parental deployment. They often have challenges with making new friends, fitting into social groups, and connecting with the community.
As President Obama said in his proclamation declaring November as Military Family Month, behind each service member "stands a parent, a sibling, a child, a spouse -- proud family members who share the weight of deployment and make profound sacrifices on behalf of our country."
This Thanksgiving, as we gather with loved ones and give thanks for the blessings in our lives, let us also commit to share those blessings through service to others.
As the Hurricane Sandy recovery continues, more stories are starting to come in about our national service members' experiences in the field. Whether they traveled across the country to affected areas or collected much-needed items far from the storm's path, their work continues to inspire.
AS220 Youth Studio, a Rhode Island program to help troubled youth get involved with the arts to bring positive outcomes in their lives and longstanding AmeriCorps VISTA project, was recognized as one of the nation’s 12 most outstanding arts programs for young people during a White House event hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama.
The following post was originally published on the White House Blog on November 19, 2012. Arthur T. Dean is the Chairman and CEO of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, and a retired Major General in the U.S. Army.
A day designed around the idea of “thanks” is a natural for those who want to give back. And as Americans have opened their hearts and wallets to disasters like the Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery efforts, there are many other ways to show thanks by helping those in need this holiday season.
Last week, I led a delegation to New York and New Jersey to visit sites providing disaster assistance to people affected by Hurricane Sandy. Throughout the day, we were joined by local elected officials who are working hard to meet the needs of their communities. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, New Jersey Lt. Gov. and Secretary of State Kim Guadagno, U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), and New York City Councilman Brad Lander each joined us for a portion of the day.
President Obama visited with members of FEMA Corps, a unit of AmeriCorps NCCC, during his November 15 trip to survey the Hurricane Sandy damage in Staten Island, NY. A small contingent of the 428 FEMA Corps members currently serving in New York and New Jersey met the President at a Staten Island Disaster Recovery Center as the scene was broadcast across the nation.
The work continues on the Hurricane Sandy recovery front in New York, New Jersey, and across the Northeast as approximately 1,200 national service members have been deployed in response to the storm. Read on to see some of the stories about service and volunteerism in the super storm’s wake.
Today's Wordless Wednesday focuses on national service in action as members and volunteers from the Corporation for National and Community Service programs join others working on the Hurricane Sandy recovery.
Many members of the national service family are hard at work in areas stricken by Hurricane Sandy, providing services that keep the recovery moving forward. Check out some scenes from the work we captured recently in New York and New Jersey.
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My name is Rebecca Lange and I am a proud alumna of the second class of AmeriCorps NCCC. I served at the Central Region campus in Denver, CO, from 1995-1996, a wide-eyed high school graduate looking for an adventure, a unique way to serve, and beyond excited to begin what I hoped to be an awesome life.
Many of our AmeriCorps members have made cross-country treks to help with the Hurricane Sandy recovery and cleanup. Now one group from the Washington Conservation Corps has had its transition from working on trail projects to helping at a Brooklyn emergency shelter chronicled in The New York Times.
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A six-member crew from the AmeriCorps Cape Cod Fire Corps is currently in the middle of a one-week deployment to the Fort Wadsworth area in Staten Island, NY.

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