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By Greg Tucker

Ruby Bridges’ walk to school became a symbol of the Civil Rights struggle 
In 1960, 6-year-old Ruby Bridges’ daily walk to class took her past an angry mob and into Civil Rights history when she became the first African American child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South.
Though she only lived five blocks from her new school, Ruby previously attended an all-black segregated school several miles away. After the Louisiana State Legislature exhausted all its options in a long battle against a federal court order to integrate the schools, Ruby was allowed to attend the classes near her home.
“I understood it was important but it didn’t hit me until I saw that Norman Rockwell painting. And I realize that it wasn’t something that just happened in New Orleans but it was something that people all across the country, all around the world actually, recognized, especially through the painting.” -Ruby Bridges
Each day, Ruby was escorted to the William Frantz School by federal marshals who ensured her safe arrival. Her first year at the school was tumultuous to say the least, and many white parents refused to allow their children to attend classes as long as Ruby was there. She also had to continue to navigate the mob every day, and endure threats to herself and her family.
But Ruby’s trials were eased by the kindness of Barbara Henry, the only white teacher who agreed to work with her at William Frantz.
An interview with a reporter when Bridges was 17 or 18 brought home the significance of her walk past a throng of angry protesters.
“I understood it was important but it didn’t hit me until I saw that Norman Rockwell painting. And I realize that it wasn’t something that just happened in New Orleans but it was something that people all across the country, all around the world actually, recognized, especially through the painting.
“And I always say that the lesson I took away was a lesson that Dr. King tried to teach all of us — and that was we should never look at a person and judge them by the color of their skin.”
In light of recent events, Ruby’s story is a reminder that it only takes a few people to come together and create the change that can help heal our nation’s deepest wounds.
Watch the video below and learn more as Ruby Bridges tells her story, discusses the kindness of Henry, and how her experience relates to Dr. Martin Luther King’s message of racial equality.

Learn more about the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service at MLKDay.gov
Pledge to serve — take the MLK Day Challenge

Keywords: MLK Day, Ruby Bridges, Education, United We Serve
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) just announced a tremendous commitment to support veterans and military families at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. From expanded grants to increased “people power” in areas of need, we are ready to stand with our soldiers to provide opportunities that will help them continue their service here at home while we serve their special needs.
Today the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) announced the winners of the 2012 Service Impact Awards at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Chicago.
As thousands of service leaders gathered at National Conference on Volunteering and Service today, Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Wendy Spencer announced $213 million in new AmeriCorps grants to strengthen the impact of more than 275 organizations across the country in tackling the most pressing challenges facing communities and the nation.
Next week, CNCS is headed to Chicago for the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. There, over 1000 members of the national service family will join the more than 4000 conference attendees for three days of service-focused conversations, lessons, and sessions.
Today's Wordless Wednesday celebrates National Smile Month with a look at the joy volunteers experience while giving back. With smiles like these, who wouldn't volunteer?
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.
In October 2010, I began my first year of service as an AmeriCorps member with the Community Building Partnerships for Youth in Transition program in Denver, Colorado. I was placed with the YMCA of Metropolitan Denver in the Community Programs Branch at Bruce Randolph School and tasked with mentoring ten youth over the course of the year – a job I found both intimidating and exciting.
Minnesota Reading Corps, an AmeriCorps program designed to help every child in the state become a successful reader by the end of third grade, announced positive growth in its results with numbers that surpassed those for students statewide.
“I am the leadership of the now.” That's what Ely Flores told the White House Council for Community Solutions (the Council) during our meeting in October 2011. Ely used this phrase to express his deep frustration with policymakers and organizations that refer to youth as the “leadership of the future” and dismiss any potential contribution that young people can make in their communities today. Ely's words still resonate with me nearly seven months later – and motivate me to push harder to help young people with similar frustrations.
The Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has a rich heritage in food production, but an increased reliance on processed foods has left them susceptible to America's obesity epidemic. One way to battle this problem is to increase the availability of locally grown, healthy food choices, and the Red Cliff Mino Bi Ma De Se Win (Return to the Good Life) Community Farm is tackling the problem head-on.
The Social Innovation Fund is excited to announce the applicants to the 2012 grant competition. We received 31 applications by the due date of March 27, of which 25 were compliant and moved on to the full competition.
We would all like to believe we control our own destiny. But experiences teach us we are sometimes shaped by forces outside ourselves: the opportunities we encounter, the people we meet, those who mentor us, and the communities that surround us. This is not to say that our paths are prescribed—but that we need the skills to recognize and seize opportunities that come our way.
Earlier this week I traveled to Joplin, Missouri, for a trip I will never forget. The Joplin story is one of a community that never gave up, that demonstrated steely resolve in the face of tragedy, and that is coming back stronger and better than before. It is also the story of volunteers – 130,000 strong and counting – whose selfless service has lifted up an entire community when it needed it most.
Earlier this week, National Service traveled to Missouri to help the community of Joplin mark the one-year anniversary of the tornado that struck the town last year. The response to the destruction has been remarkable - with volunteers traveling from near and far to help rebuild Joplin. On Tuesday, May 22, 2012, thousands of Joplin residents, volunteers, and supporters came together to honor those lost and celebrate the last year's progress.
One year ago today, Joplin MO was ravaged by a devastating E5 tornado. In the 12 months that followed, the community responded with an unmatched sense of hope and a determination to rebound. National Service is proud to have been a part of these recovery efforts and continues to provide services there today.
Donations from around the country piled up and volunteers turned out in droves in the days and weeks that followed last year's devastating May 22 tornado in Joplin, MO. City officials estimate that Joplin received donated resources and volunteer hours totaling $17.7 million, the largest amount in Missouri's history and the largest amount ever recorded in FEMA's Region VII.
To mark the one-year anniversary of the May 22 Joplin tornado, we'll be featuring a variety of content on the serve.gov blog, including Q&As with those who served in the community, like this one.
To mark the one-year anniversary of the May 22 Joplin tornado, we'll be featuring a variety of content on the serve.gov blog, including Q&As with those who served in the community, like this one.
To mark the one-year anniversary of the May 22 Joplin tornado, we'll be featuring a variety of content on the serve.gov blog, including Q&As with those who served in the community, like this one.
To mark the one-year anniversary of the May 22 Joplin tornado, we'll be featuring a variety of content on the serve.gov blog, including Q&As with those who served in the community, like this one
On April 20, Nebraska young people paused for seven seconds of silence. These students and young adults were illustrating the fact that every seven seconds someone in our country is bullied. Together, 61,709 students and youth in communities across Nebraska made a personal pledge to fight bullying and stand up for those who are bullied.
May is a time of graduations, fresh spring air and new beginnings. But for many, graduation from high school or college is far from a reality, and opportunities for a fresh start are out of reach. At least one in six young people ages 16-24 are disconnected from school and work – the two pathways that provide the greatest hope for a bright and productive future. Yet, these young people dream of building careers and making important contributions to our communities. That's why we see them as “Opportunity Youth.”
For an aging individual coping with the loss of mobility, lack of proper foundations in and around a home can lead to difficulties remaining independent and mobile. This is especially true of our nation's veterans and as a nation, we have a duty to take care of these individuals who have sacrificed so much for our country.
At 58, Dyann Brown of Rochester, New York found herself in early retirement after a long career in nonprofit management. Seeking to reflect principles rooted in her faith, Brown sought to share her talents and resources with her community.
Shrinking budgets are creating new holes in support services for our most vulnerable citizens at a time when their needs are growing. At the same time, many in the largest and most-influential generation are at a stage in their lives where they are looking for ways to give back. It's almost a perfect storm of supply meeting demand
This week, communities across the nation are taking part in Senior Corps Week, an annual event designed to celebrate the powerful impact of Senior Corps volunteers and encourage more Americans 55+ to give back.
There are people working every day at all levels – and across all sectors – to improve our communities and find lasting and sustainable solutions to expand opportunity for young people. We spoke with Judith Rodin, a member of the White House Council for Community Solutions, who has shown a commitment throughout her professional career for community solutions that support and cultivate the next generation.
3 Billion. That's the number of hours, on average, contributed by Americans aged 55 and older in service between 2008 and 2010. Some of these individuals serve with Senior Corps programs like RSVP while others may give back through local faith-based or community organizations, but all provide valuable human capital which communities in need are able to depend on.
Youth aren't waiting for the call to serve --they are ready to make their mark today. This last weekend, young people around the world celebrated Global Youth Service Day in 100 countries on six continents as children, teens, and young adults demonstrated why they are the most service-oriented generations ever.
While the economy continues to show signs of improvement, there are still many workers who are facing challenges in connecting to new careers. The Department of Labor has encouraged dislocated workers to pursue education and training to improve their skills and better position them to compete for employment opportunities. Many workers have taken advantage of these opportunities, but it is also important to lay a path forward for those workers who have not enrolled in training and seek other options to build their skills and increase their chances to find employment.

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