Service Impact Award Winner: Operation: Military Kids
During the next few weeks, we will be profiling the winners of the 2012 Service Impact Awards. Look for their stories and videos here on the blog.
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.
OMK program components developed by AmeriCorps and VISTA members enhance deployment cycle resilience through life skill development. The national initiative is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Defense, and delivered through a grant received by the University of Arizona 4-H Youth Development.
One component of OMK is the Digital Speak Out Military Kids program that helps military youth learn how to share their stories of a loved one being deployed through the use photography, video, and podcasting while emphasizing digital storytelling and resilience skill development. Another is the OMK Career Pathfinders Summer Camp, where teens participate in a residential summer camp on the University of Arizona campus and get the opportunity to explore a variety of post-high school career options and life skills.
Recently, the OMK Digital Speak Out Military Kids program and OMK Career Pathfinders Summer Camp were recognized as “best practices” during the 2011 and 2012 National 4-H Military Liaisons and OMK Project Directors Meeting. The programs were also recognized during the 2010 Children Youth & Family At Risk National Conference for their continued impact and deployment support for military youth.
Operation: Military Kids was selected as one of the winners in the Veterans and Military Families category in the 2012 National Service Impact Awards.
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.
Recently discharged veterans shouldn’t have to struggle to find work when they return home from service, but they often do. AmeriCorps VISTA Heather Hays is helping vets make the most of a program that lets them serve their country in a new way while placing them on a pathway to permanent employment.
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.
Utilizing the energy and enthusiasm of recent college grads from partner universities to serve as full-time advisers in underserved schools, the National College Advising Corps works to improve the prospects of economically disadvantaged students for post-secondary success.
Many homeless people face significant barriers to employment, including lack of work-appropriate clothing, limited access to computers or computer skills, and transportation issues. The dilemma is that these challenges are tough to surmount when people with a strong desire to work can’t access the practical tools they need to find and maintain long-term employment.
Rising health care costs continue to hit extra hard for people with chronic illnesses who are uninsured or living on fixed incomes. Philadelphia Health Corps AmeriCorps members serve in the city's District Health Centers to help these patients gain access to medications through drug company prescription assistance programs.
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.
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.
Everyone has a story, as the saying goes, and the Corporation for National and Community Service wants to hear ones about the most innovative leaders and programs that are making a difference in our communities. If you know of one, it's time to nominate them for the 2012 National Service Impact Awards.
While Juliana Ko was serving with Teach for America on the outskirts of a Navajo Nation Reservation, she tragically lost one of her students to suicide and knew that she had to do something for her adopted community.
On the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service this January, President Obama will recognize unsung heroes around the country who have answered the call to service. Inspired by Dr. King's historic speech on the Drum Major Instinct, the MLK Drum Majors for Service program --facilitated by the White House and the Corporation for National and Community Service -- welcomes the nomination of people in organizations and businesses who are serving their communities, often without recognition.
Each year the Corporation for National and Community Service recognizes innovative programs and outstanding volunteers with it’s Service Impact Awards. This year, the 2011 Service Impact awardees exemplify important achievements in the six focus areas as outlined by the 2011-2015 Strategic Plan – Education, Disaster Services, Healthy Futures, Economic Opportunity, Environmental Stewardship and Veterans & Military Families.