Monday Service News Roundup
These stories will help you start the week off right:
1) One of the great benefits of national service is leverage: AmeriCorps members often recruit and manage volunteers, multiplying the impact of their service. Kara Noran, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer who will spend the coming year recruiting and placing tutors in St. Paul, Minnesota schools, is just one example. But she is a great one. Her target? 100 tutors. Now that's leverage, and you can read all about Kara here.
2) Paula Broadwell, a superstar ServiceNation supporter and West Point grad who is currently at Harvard, pens a trenchant and compelling op-ed in the Boston Globe arguing that women soldiers are crucial to America's military capability and that it's time for the Pentagon to codify the role of women in combat. Here's an excerpt:
On today’s battlefield, there is little differentiation between “front’’ and “rear’’ area operations. Whether they are in “combat units’’ or not, women are on the front lines, and they are invaluable. Period. By not acknowledging that in official policy, we diminish the sacrifices and contributions these women make every day.
Anyone want to argue with that? I didn't think so. Well said, Paula.
3) More AmeriCorps leverage: an AmeriCorps grant of $125K allows the Red Cross to open in 5 new Ohio counties (full story here). Here's why it is such a good investment.
Beginning Oct. 1, Red Cross will place two AmeriCorps members each in of the five counties to work within the assigned county to recruit and train adult volunteers for emergency preparedness and establish youth-oriented Red Cross Clubs. More specifically, members will train residents in CPR and first aid, shelter operations and mass care functions to be ready for when disasters do occur, Kesselring said.
These members will also recruit volunteers in order to establish county-based shelter teams and collaborate with community partners in disaster drills. All Red Cross services available at the Wood County headquarters in Parkersburg will be available in a central county location for the convenience of county residents.
4) A great HuffPost tribute to Senator Kennedy (titled Senator Kennedy made Me Do This"), from Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director of the Coalition on Human Needs. Read the whole thing, but this is a key passage that we can all take to heart:
So that is what Senator Kennedy will make me do -- redouble concrete acts to reach out, persuade, seek opportunities to make real improvements in the lives of the poor, vulnerable, and uninsured. Extending health coverage for all Americans was the work of his life, as has been frequently quoted. It must be our work, too. Raising the minimum wage, helping those out of work, improving the lives of families with children, reducing poverty -- these were all personal commitments for Senator Kennedy; they must be ours, too.
5) More Kennedy inspiration: Another ServiceNation superstar, Shirley Sagawa (who worked for Senator Kennedy), tells (in the Chronicle of Philanthropy) the story of the legislation that created AmeriCorps. Shirley knows this story better than anyone, and here is her take on how it got started:
In the late 1980s, the Democratic Leadership Council, a group of moderate Democrats, unveiled a legislative proposal to require students to give a year of civilian or military service in order to get financial aid. Liberals didn’t like the idea of forcing needy students to serve. The opposition of House Democrats was so strong, it looked like any attempt to authorize national service legislation linking service to benefits was going to die.
But Senator Kennedy saw the wisdom of strengthening Americans’ engagement in public service. For him, it was a value deeply ingrained in his family and in the work he did every day to fight for those in need. He sought to put together legislation that would serve this end — including a test of the controversial idea of tying student aid to full-time service. He worked tirelessly to convince his House colleagues to go along, while at the same time, courting Senate Republicans and President George H.W. Bush.
The legislation that resulted from his vision laid the groundwork for AmeriCorps — which offers an education stipend in exchange for service — as well as the Learn and Serve program to integrate community service into the lives of children in elementary and secondary school.
6) Department Of Good Things Happen To Those Who Do Good (as they should!): Briana Goodwin is an AmeriCorps volunteer who has been working with Ocean Resources in the City of Port Orford, Oregon. That helped put her on scene to take the below photograph. And said photograph (sunset reflected on a Port Orford beach with Port Orford Heads in the background) just won an Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department photo contest. You can read the full story here. Just one more reason to consider a year with AmeriCorps.