Saving Northwest Service Academy

The Pacific Northwest national service community has been rocked this past week with the news that one of our most vibrant AmeriCorps National programs has lost its AmeriCorps funding starting in September of 2010.

Northwest Service Academy‘s AmeriCorps program partners with local agencies, schools, and organizations to tackle environmental projects in the Pacific Northwest.  Its LINKS program works with partnering agencies to directly address education, public safety, the environment and other community needs. It’s sponsored and supported over 4,000 AmeriCorps members.

The funding situation means that as things currently stand, this year’s members will serve out their terms (as late as November) but the 75 placement sites already selected for the coming year will likely not be able to recruit people to fill needed service positions. Continue reading

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Edward M. Kennedy, 1932-2009

Ted Kennedy

Ted Kennedy

Tonight, Ted Kennedy died at home in Hyannis Port, MA.

The senator from Massachusetts, who’s been suffering from a cancerous brain tumor, was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States.

He fought hard for national service — most recently on the the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act which was signed into law in April and which had been spearheaded by himself and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). That Act represents the largest expansion of national service since the start of AmeriCorps in 1993.

Read the Change/Wire tribute to Senator Kennedy, and sign their Condolence Book.

According to CNN.com, the

“longtime Massachusetts senator was considered one of the most effective legislators of the past few decades. Kennedy, who became known as the ‘Lion of the Senate,’ played major roles in passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, Continue reading

NY Times Editorial Voices Strong Support for AmeriCorps

The NY Times logoSaturday, a New York Times editorial argued strongly for full funding of the Kennedy Serve America Act — the appropriation for which will be considered this week in the Senate.

Last week, the House of Representatives appropriated $90M less to implement the Kennedy Serve America Act than Pres. Obama requested in his proposed budget. In response, The New York Times printed an editorial urging Congress to fund the Act which was passed into law in April and could greatly expand the AmeriCorps family of programs and the number Continue reading

Evaluating the Impact of Youth Civic Engagement on Development

Picture 8As the momentum for youth civic engagement in the US and internationally continues, the need  to evaluate and demonstrate the impact of these activities on development becomes clearer, to encourage both greater and long-term investment in youth service.

Youth voluntary service programs exist in dozens of countries and communities around the world, and new programs and policy initiatives are currently being developed in many others, often with the help of international organizations like UNICEF, UN Volunteers/UNDP, and the International Youth Foundation. These programs engage many more young people in service while also making positive Continue reading

New Online Discussion Board for the Serve America Act Implementation

Serve America ActIn response to the Kennedy Serve America Act that will take effect October 1, the Corporation for National and Community Service is holding listening sessions — Katrina Mathis wrote about these this past week — and launching a few conference calls and an online discussion board where you can share your thoughts.

To achieve the goals of the Serve America Act — including expanding opportunities for all Americans to serve; focusing on important national outcomes; serving as a catalyst for social innovation; and supporting the nonprofit sector — the Corporation is swinging open the door to hear as many ideas as possible, in order to glean the best ideas and thoughts from Continue reading

The Serve America Act—Speak Up About It!

The Corporation for National and Community Service will host conference calls beginning tomorrow to get input about Picture 3the implementation of the Serve America Act.

The new era of service and volunteering officially begins October 1, when the Serve America Act goes into effect. As that date approaches, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNS), the agency charged in the act with both expanding existing programs and creating several new programs and initiatives to increase service opportunities and strengthen our civic infrastructure, will host a series of (6) public forums to get input from the public about how to Continue reading

Summer of Service Creates Positive Alternatives for Middle School Students

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Today’s guest contributor is the ICP Summer of Service Fellow Joshua Truitt.

On Tuesday, April 21, 2009, President Obama took a tremendous stride toward supporting youth civic engagement in the United States by signing the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act into law. Included in the legislation is funding for a new innovative program called Summer of Service (SOS).

A national SOS program — to help communities create positive alternatives for middle school students during summer vacations — was first proposed by Innovations in Civic Participation (ICP), an organization committed to increasing youth service opportunities in the United States and abroad. In the summer months, the lack of constructive activities and opportunities for young people often results in academic decline, risky behavior and an increased likelihood of failing to make the transition to high school. Yet, when young people participate in service activities they are better able to control their own lives in a positive way, avoid risky behaviors, strengthen their community connections and become more engaged in their own education.

A national SOS will enable a large number of young teens to participate in service as a “rite of passage” from middle to Continue reading