Whenever and wherever disasters strike, destruction and confusion trail in their wake. AmeriCorps and national service members trained in disaster response are proving to be a valuable and cost-efficient resource for America as they help victims and survivors begin to rebuild their lives.
As part of AmeriCorps Week, we put the spotlight on how national service works for communities hit by disasters.
By forming relationships with local, state, and national leaders, AmeriCorps and national service are able to expand the capacity of emergency and community programs that make a difference when disasters happen. The latest example followed the devastation left behind by Hurricane Sandy across parts of the Northeastern United States.
Under the leadership of our Disaster Services Unit, more than 2,400 AmeriCorps members from programs across the nation participated in the federal response to Hurricane Sandy, including the first class of AmeriCorps NCCC members serving with FEMA Corps. These AmeriCorps members mucked and gutted more than 2,000 homes in New York and New Jersey, and they mobilized 16,000 volunteers in New York for 128,000 hours of service, valued at $2.68 million.
On Saturday, March 16, more than 200 AmeriCorps members converged in Rockaway, NY, to remove 420 bags of debris from damaged beach, repair a daycare center, and help area residents get back on their feet. Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Wendy Spencer, Director of AmeriCorps Bill Basl, AmeriCorps NCCC Director Kate Raftery and representatives from local partners New York Cares and New Yorkers Volunteer joined the effort.
“The collective work of AmeriCorps members constitutes an invaluable national resource,” U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, wrote in a letter marking AmeriCorps Week. “It is my hope that your professionalism and dedication inspire others to take part in actions large and small, public and private to help communities not just recover, but thrive.”
“AmeriCorps members have provided invaluable support to citizens and communities affected by Hurricane Sandy and other disasters,” said Basl. “They've made substantial progress in New York and other affected areas, and there's more work to be done. Americans know they can count on national service members before, during, and after a disaster.”
The work in New York builds on the AmeriCorps efforts in disasters. You can see another example of national service in action in the video below, which highlights the response to an F-4 tornado that struck Yazoo City, MS, in 2010.
So, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and florists will be scrambling to fill orders and chocolate consumption is expected to rise by maybe a jillion percent. Suppose we take this day dedicated to love and use it to show that we have big hearts by serving or giving to others?
Last month, Corporation for National and Community Service staff visited several sites in New York and New Jersey where national service members were helping with the Hurricane Sandy recovery effort. Today, we'd like to share two of the videos from that trip.
This is the final stretch for holiday shoppers, and you know who you are if you belong to the procrastinators club. But you can still give the gift of service and help to others, even while the rush to the malls reaches a fever pitch.
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.
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.
Olive Eckstein was making copies of her resume at a Kinko's in Queens on the morning of September 11, 2001. After serving for a year with AmeriCorps NCCC, she was looking for a job in her native New York.
Earlier this summer, I had the incredible opportunity to attend the graduation of 22 Green City Force AmeriCorpsmembers 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO), a New York City-based Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grant recipient, recently won Harvard University's noteworthy Kennedy School of Government Innovations in American Government Award for its powerful approach to fighting poverty in New York and across the country.
Hurricane season is an anxious time for Americans living along the coastal regions of the United States. But when Tropical Storm Lee spread its destruction inland last September, volunteer leaders like Bruce Barney and Sharon Early made a difference in their community's recovery efforts. Their commitment led to their selection as 2012 Martin Luther King Drum Major for Service award recipients.
This week I am being recognized as a Champion of Change for my work empowering Arab and Muslim Americans nationally through civic engagement, direct service and advocacy campaigns. Born in Brooklyn, New York to parents who emigrated here from Palestine and attending NYC public schools my whole life, I would say I was an ordinary kid with an ordinary life.
As a native of Long Island, the attacks of September 11th, 2001 hit close to home for Tracy Connelly. Loved ones working in the World Trade Center were missing. Family members responding to the attacks were injured. For 36 hours, she had no idea where her father was. Days after the events, Connelly learned of friends' deaths by passing their memorials in Penn Station.
Through the Social Innovation Fund, The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City is also supporting the expansion of WorkAdvance. WorkAdvance seeks to boost the earnings of unemployed and low-wage working adults by helping them prepare for and enter quality jobs in targeted industries with opportunities for career growth.
The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City has made SIF-leveraged investments to leading job training non-profits to expand and scale evidence-based innovations that are designed to break the cycle of poverty and build economic self-sufficiency in diverse communities across the country.
It's not often you'll catch professional baseball players tossing around water balloons. But on Tuesday, you would have seen just that – when New York Yankees players surprised the non-profit organization, Tuesday's Children at the Beekman Beach Club. The Yankees presented the organization with a $10,000 check and then took a water taxi to Yankee Stadium for the night's game against the Mariners, all part of the team's HOPE Week.
Acting CEO Robert Velasco, II, honored the Steinbrenner family for their commitment to making their community stronger with the President's Volunteer Service Award. The Steinbrenner family has dedicated themselves to a diverse group of New York- and Tampa-based charities, including the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, Hank's Yanks, and the Boys and Girls Club of Tampa Bay.
Music reached Daniel Trush when nothing else could. In March 1997, at age 12, he had a brain aneurysm and was placed in a medically induced coma to relieve the swelling in his skull. Doctors said that he was brain dead and that recovery to anything resembling his former self was unlikely. This week, Daniel is being honored during Yankee Hope Week.
As part of the President's Call to Service initiative, United We Serve, the Corporation for National and Community Service is working with the New York Yankees for their annual HOPE Week, (Helping Others Persevere & Excel).