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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
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.
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.
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.
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.
When 5-year old Andy Fass attended his first baseball game, it was hard to imagine it would change his life. But a chance meeting with legendary Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte gave Fass the desire to try a game he thought he would never play.
Alison's daily struggles while raising two young children made her dream of a college degree seem unobtainable. But things began to turn around when the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) in Washington, DC connected her with a Promotor.
Stefanie Dwyer’s childhood in East Berlin before the fall of the Berlin Wall shaped her future in a unique way. After growing up in a country that had many limitations, Dwyer held on to memories of horseback riding that inspired her to bring that sense of freedom to people with physical and mental challenges.
Jorge Muñoz's 2004 encounter with homeless day laborers sounds like the pivotal moment in the latest feel-good movie. But the “Angel in Queens” wouldn't be providing up to 140 meals nightly if the need in their words didn't resonate with him: “If we have a job, we will get money to eat tonight; if not, we don't eat anything.”
Once again the Corporation for National and Community Service is collaborating with the New York Yankees during its fourth annual HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) June 25-29 as the baseball franchise recognizes acts of goodwill and the hope and encouragement they provide.
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.
The Coulee Region RSVP in La Crosse, Wisconsin, collaborates with Gundersen Lutheran Health System's environmental stewardship program to mitigate some of the waste that was being sent to the county's landfill and reuse the material to help others in the hospital.
More than 50 years ago, a group of young African-American college students staged a sit-in to demand service at a whites-only lunch counter in Greensboro, NC , and sparked a youth movement throughout the country. As the sit-ins spread, some young people were beaten and even arrested, but they were not deterred. As a result, they helped end racial segregation in America, and showed the world how youth determination and leadership can make a difference.
This week, I had the pleasure of attending the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Chicago, IL. This annual gathering of the nonprofit sector brings together activists and organizers, government officials and nonprofit leaders from around the country.


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