Will the House kill the Corporation for National and Community Service?
According to Voices for National Service, this week the U.S. House of Representatives begins consideration of H.R. 1, a Continuing Resolution that will fund the last 7 months of Fiscal Year 2011 and eliminate AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Learn & Serve America and the Volunteer Generation Fund.
The youth worker newspaper Youth Today posted:
And The New York Times’s columnist David Brooks wrote more about the budget mess last week.
Voices for National Service is urging people to contact their Representative and let them know how national and community service programs have made an impact in their lives and communities. From Voices for National Service:
Talking points for Calling the House of Representatives:
- I am calling to urge you to vote NO on H.R. 1. Please do not shutdown the Corporation for National and Community Service or eliminate AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Learn & Serve America or the Volunteer Generation Fund.
- The CR will decimate vital services in our communities when millions of Americans need food, shelter, healthcare, job training and educational support.
- Communities are counting on national service participants and community volunteers to meet the increased demand for services.
- Provide an example of your local impact and what will be lost if your program is eliminated. Example: My organization has 140 AmeriCorps members serving in 10 Boston Public Schools. They are providing targeted and school-wide interventions in literacy, match, attendance and classroom behavior. If Congress eliminates AmeriCorps, nearly 2,000 high-risk 3rd-9th graders will no longer receive this additional support in the classroom.
- The CR will only push unemployment rates up. Unemployment numbers — particularly for young people, veterans and military spouses, older Americans and people of color-remain alarmingly high.
- For Americans who are struggling to find work, national service programs offer participants the opportunity to earn a subsistence-level stipend, develop skills, and create pathways to future employment. Eliminating programs like AmeriCorps will result in jobs lost for the corps members and the staff who supervise them. Example: If Congress eliminates AmeriCorps, our 140 AmeriCorps members and the staff that supervise them will be out of work.
- The federal investment made in faith based and community organizations through the Corporation for National and Community Service leverages $799 million in matching funds from companies, foundations and other sources.
- If you defund the national service programs, whole organizations will shut down and most will not be able to reopen again even if funding is restored.
How to Contact Your Member of Congress:
- If you need help determining the members of your congressional delegation, visit www.congress.org. This database will provide you with contact information for your elected officials.
- You can call your Representatives directly or be connected through the House Operator (202-225-3121). Once connected, identify yourself as a constituent and ask to speak to the Legislative Assistant in change of national service and education issues.
- Given the severity of the cuts proposed by the House, you may experience some difficulty calling the Capitol. It is important that you keep trying. If you can’t reach your representative by phone, please send a fax communication to their office. This is time sensitive ask. Emails or mailed letters will not reach the decision makers in time. It is critical that our lawmakers hear from the constituents directly impacted by their decisions.
Voices for National Service also highlighted the many weeks this year when the House plans not to be in session, in honor of district “work weeks” when Representatives will be in their home districts. If you’re part of a national service corps, consider inviting Representative(s) for your region to visit service sites, meet with corps members, and see first hand what your program is doing in communities.
It’s hard to imagine that if Congressional Representatives knew what AmeriCorps members actually do, that they could turn their backs on communities in their own backyards by yanking such cost-effective, grassroots, direct & indirect support.