September is National Preparedness Month, a time when CNCS promotes planning for disasters and other emergencies at the individual, community, and organizational level, in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members have been on the ground and behind the scenes of nearly every major disaster since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
This past week, CNCS was activated at the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) at FEMA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. to support those in Hurricane Dorian's path. The CNCS Disaster Services Unit will continue to monitor Dorian with our federal and nonprofit partners, and AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members are standing by to assist after the storm has safely passed.
Recovery comes months, years, and sometimes decades after a disaster. AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members have the capacity and passion necessary to rebuild. They are committed to serving communities to get things done.
Volunteers from the Kauai Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) chatted with shoppers while manning a collection table Friday at the Safeway store in Hokulei Village. “This is the only place we’ll have volunteers,” said Donna Olivas Kaohi, the Kauai RSVP director. They’ll be at the table one last time Friday, August 30 from 9:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.
"The collection is being done as part of the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance, to remember the tragedy that took place in New York," said Olivas Kaohi. The National Day of Service and Remembrance encourages volunteering on September 11th as a tribute to victims, survivors, and those who rose up in service in response to the terrorist attacks.
Livingston County’s Congresswoman was named an honorary AmeriCorps member and took part in a project at the Howell Nature Center. U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin joined a team of AmeriCorps members at the Howell Nature Center Tuesday for an afternoon of service, becoming an honorary AmeriCorps member for the day as the program prepares to mark its 25th anniversary later this year. Slotkin has spent her career in national service, including serving three tours in Iraq alongside the military as a CIA analyst, and as a senior official at the Defense Department.
The group’s leader administered the AmeriCorps Pledge to the Congresswoman, she donned a pin and work gloves, and joined the AmeriCorps members in building a new hiking trail for the nature center. Slotkin said coming from a service family, it is heartening and inspiring to see young people who have devoted their time and energy to service and the solemn responsibility to improve the lives of those around them. She says that’s needed now more than ever, and it was a joy to serve alongside them.
Each week, we provide a social media shareable for your networks. September 11th is Patriot Day and the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. How will you serve your community this day and throughout the year? Take a few moments to learn more about 911 Remembrance, and share it with others through Facebook and Twitter.
One male student seemed to be slowing down and talking with a girl near him. I asked if they needed more paint, and he said, “No, I am from England, and students there don’t do things like this when they get to university. We spend the first few days in the local pubs.” I quickly answered that Americans teach the work ethic.
Later, when I thought more about what had transpired along the fence, I realized that it is not just the work ethic, but it is volunteerism that we recognize as a virtue in West Virginia. “Volunteer West Virginia” is our state’s Commission for National and Community Service. Volunteer WV sponsors AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA programs in the state. West Virginia is second per capita in the nation for producing AmeriCorps members who give 20 million hours of service. This amount of service is strong evidence of the hard-working and patriotic character of West Virginians.
When Melissa Casper of Blackstone, Mass., was laid off from her job last fall, she wasn’t sure what she was going to do next. The former office worker was interested in making a career switch to education, but had little job experience in the field to back it up.
Then, she came across an online posting for an AmeriCorps position working in Woonsocket schools. The federal program was coordinated locally by Connecting for Children and Families, which works closely with the Woonsocket Education Department to provide summer programs and before and after-school care. Casper decided to apply, and, after some intensive training, found herself working as a teacher’s aide at Kevin K. Coleman Elementary School. “I was changing career paths into education, and I found this, and it was the perfect experience,” she said.
Margaret Williams, retired Jones County teacher and Diane Williams with Coastal Community Action and Director of the Foster Grandparent program, made a collaborative agreement for the Foster Grandma’s to assist the teachers in the public school classrooms at Trenton Elementary School many years ago. They have touched numerous lives, loved and helped countless children throughout the years.
In June 2017, the Foster Grandma’s at Trenton Elementary School obtained the Volunteer of the Year Award presented at the Coastal Community Action’s annual Volunteer Ceremony held at the Havelock Tourist Center.
Lorraine Kracke of Brookings was recognized for five years of service to the Brookings area. She also received the Lifetime Presidential Volunteer Award for serving over 4,000 hours.
Senior Companions provide in-home services to older persons and other adults in need. They assist others with grocery shopping, meal preparation, light housekeeping, transportation to doctor appointments, and various daily tasks necessary to maintaining independence. This service is provided free of charge. Without the help of Senior Companions, many older adults would not be able to continue living in their own home and might require placement in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
When it comes to enrolling in AmeriCorps, Utah residents rank fourth among states, according to new data released August 15 by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that administers the AmeriCorps program and leads the nation’s national service and volunteer programs.
“The service our AmeriCorps members provide is an incredible force for social impact across the State of Utah, and a reflection of the significance all of our community members dedicate to service,” said Elizabeth Oliver, national service program manager at UServeUtah. “Each member providing crucial services at every school, health clinic, homeless shelter, land rehabilitation center and hundreds of other site locations brings our community together and strengthens our culture of service.”
Demmer explains how his business was born, “I worked for an AmeriCorps program called the Minnesota GreenCorps, and I was doing rain gardens in the city of Owatonna and the city of Northfield, and rain gardens are a way to improve water quality by infiltrating the water off of roofs and parking lots and streets. And rain gardens are engineered to fill up with water after a rainfall, and then be dry until the next rainfall, and Minnesota native wetland plants are perfect for those types of conditions. And we also use a lot of the native perennials in those gardens.”
Demmer continues: “And, as I was learning about a lot of these plants, I was like, ‘Wait, why aren’t we planting them in any garden – like the garden around your house or around your mailbox?’ And I realized that most people just don’t know about it.
September 11th is Patriot Day and the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. On this day Americans across the country are called to volunteer in their local communities in tribute to the individuals lost and injured in the attacks, first responders, and the many who have risen in service to defend freedom.
If you are hosting an event or service project, please register it here. Not hosting an event, but still interested in paying tribute? Visit CNCS 911 website for self-starter project ideas, social media shareables, and a list of volunteer opportunities near you.