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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
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.
For more than 40 years, RSVP has delivered proven results and engaged millions of Americans 55 and over in national and community service. This Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) program is a win-win for America, as senior volunteer service benefits the health of the adult volunteers and addresses vital needs in the communities they serve. Last week, Senior Corps opened its 2013 RSVP Competition.
One of the major factors that contribute to children falling behind in reading is the learning loss that occurs during summer break. Low-income students, in particular, lose two to three months in reading achievement over the summer.
The 2012 Summer Games are in full swing, and while our U.S. athletes are competing in London with dreams of bringing home the gold, a lot of them are more than willing to use their fame to help others back at home.
Paul Reickhoff, president and CEO of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, has an idea about a great, untapped American resource. He believes national service models based on AmeriCorps to harness and leverage the skills of military veterans and can “help people think about us as the cavalry, not as a problem.
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.
Sarah had been living with HIV for 10 years when she discontinued her treatment. After witnessing a murder in her neighborhood, she was afraid to leave her house for care. She was isolated, suffering from post-traumatic stress, and had to cope without HIV treatment for more than three years.
Nearly half of Ohio’s school children qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, and many of these children do not have access to adequate nutrition during the summer months. This lack of access to adequate nutrition has been linked to poorer academic performance, which can easily perpetuate the vicious cycle of poverty.
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.
It seems improbable in a country where 90 million of its citizens are battling obesity that 49 million are also having food security issues, however, that’s the reality in the United States today. And more than 16 million of our most-vulnerable residents -- America’s children --are paying the price.
The opportunity for a diverse group of college kids to join together and work toward a single purpose is something that should not be taken for granted. Imagine a world in which this generation -- from both religious and nonreligious backgrounds -- comes together to serve their communities.
First Lady Michelle Obama is leading the U.S. Delegation to the 2012 Olympic Games and she's calling on families around the country to support Team USA, not just by cheering on our athletes, but by getting active in their own communities.
Earlier this summer, I had the incredible opportunity to attend the graduation of 22 Green City Force AmeriCorps members in New York City. Green City Force recruits young adults, ages 18-24, who are currently unemployed or underemployed high school graduates or GED-holders from low-income neighborhoods.
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.
Americans produce more food, eat more of it (check out our obesity rates), and waste more by sending it to landfills. Finding healthy, affordable food should not be a problem in the United States. But it is.
Travis is a single father of two from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Since 2008, Travis had bounced between part-time and temporary jobs. His wages had peaked at around $10 per hour, though he needed at least $12-$14 an hour to support his family. With limited interviewing and workforce experience, he didn't think he would ever find full-time work – let alone have a career.
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.
Summer learning loss is a growing problem for American children but there is a simple solution. Research shows that reading just five books during the summer can help kids stay on the path to academic success during the next school year.
Josh, 45, was one of the millions of Americans suffering from a mental illness, but he was not receiving treatment. He was unemployed and living in a halfway house, and he could hardly find the motivation to do the dishes or leave his room.
Imagine what would happen if the marketing experts behind your favorite Super Bowl ad developed a campaign to help a nonprofit recruit volunteers or raise awareness of an important national issue. Or if the engineers at a leading technology company volunteered as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) tutors at a local school.
In October 2003, 14-year-old Madison Woytovich was having her hair braided by her mother, Betsy, when large chunks of Madison’s hair began falling out. During the next seven weeks, 75 percent of her hair disappeared.
Stephen Packard, 24, could have taken his degree in Economics from the University of Connecticut and found a comfortable desk job. Instead, he opted for a more adventurous path when he joined AmeriCorps NCCC. Never did he imagine he'd one day be working on the front lines of Colorado's biggest wildfire in history, sleeping just feet from the flames.
As we celebrate the 4th of July, we celebrate our patriotism and the millions who have shown their love of country by wearing the uniform. There are a few Veterans among us -- 16,000 so far -- who came home and volunteered for a second time and served their communities though AmeriCorps.
The school year is over, but that's not an excuse to let your child's brain and body take the summer off. Inspired by the First Lady's Let's Move initiative, the Corporation for National and Community Service's Let's Read. Let's Move. calls on all Americans to combat summer reading loss and childhood obesity through service this summer.
It's the time of year when parents worry about summer learning loss and getting the kids off the couch. Good news! There is a fun and free way to exercise a child's mind and body – your neighborhood playground.
Nursing homes can be scary places for the residents as they yearn for companionship in a situation that doesn’t bring frequent visitors. Knowing those often-unfilled needs of the elderly led Rachel Doyle to turn her focus to improving this situation.
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.
Recent wildfires have threatened communities across Colorado and the Southwest and national service has been working day and night to help put out the flames and support survivors.
John Urbigkit has service in his blood. He has volunteered as an EMT medic, Boy Scout leader and even earned a Purple Heart for his service in the Korean War. But it is his role as a Senior Corps volunteer with the Southeast Wyoming Foster Grandparent Program that earned this community hero a distinguished honor that brought him to Washington, DC.
America's children continue to struggle with summer learning loss and childhood obesity. As part of the effort to battle this problem, the Corporation for National and Community Service continues our Let's Read. Let's Move. initiative for the summer of 2012.

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