We are Wild(cats) about Service

By CNCS Staff


National Service News Week In Review

Our AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers prove that service is a tool that empowers communities, strengthens families, and shapes students’ futures.

This week, Wendy Spencer, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, and Rep. Hal Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, announced a new AmeriCorps VISTA project in Eastern Kentucky. (Thanks to our colleague Cat Becker, from our CNCS office in Kentucky, we now have the official AmeriCorps Kentucky Wildcats #AmeriBall.)

Also, Wendy and AmeriCorps members and alums joined Education Secretary Arne Duncan to launch the Let’s Read! Let’s Move! initiative at the amazing National Museum of the American Indian.

Read more below for more details.

But one last thing before we start the week in review. Have you heard of the Social Innovation Fund’s Pay for Success grant competition? It is getting a lot of buzz, so check out the latest, including info on the upcoming webinar.


Lifting Up Service in Kentucky: On Monday, we announced our $1 million investment in the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) initiative: a program through which 52 AmeriCorps VISTA members will provide more than 100,000 volunteer hours over the next year to Eastern Kentucky families. As a result of this AmeriCorps investment, the community will get greater access to health care and healthy foods as well as job training and financial literacy skills.

“National service perfectly aligns with the mission of SOAR, to tap the energy of local citizens to solve problems,” said Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky, who is the chairman of the Appropriations Committee. “AmeriCorps members have impacted the lives of so many families in our region already, and I have no doubt that this investment will make a significant difference as we shape the future of the region.”


Summer Reading, Moving, and Learning: On Wednesday, CEO Wendy Spencer joined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to kick off Let’s Read! Let’s Move! for the summer. 

During their field trip to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Wendy, Secretary Duncan, and others engaged in activities incorporating native culture and traditions. The goal of Let’s Read! Let’s Move! is to keep children reading, moving, and active during the summer months.


Engaging and Inspiring Students: Our Senior Corps volunteers inspire students in classrooms across the country.  Every week, Patty Young—a volunteer with a Senior Corps RSVP program in Franklin, TN—holds one-on-one reading sessions with students and helps them improve their literacy skills.

“The FLIP program allows me to get to know each student and see them gain confidence and skills throughout the school year,” Young said. “Most of all, it allows me to watch as they begin to see how much fun reading can be.”


Answering the Call to Serve: Our national service members help communities recover and rebuild after disaster strikes. A 14-member AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team recently answered the call to help the town of Clarksville, MO. Members performed flood protection work in Clarksville’s historic district, businesses, and homes.

The latest reports from earlier this week found that AmeriCorps St. Louis members had served more than 1,072 hours, registered 268 volunteers, leveraged another 2,143 volunteers, and supervised 382 volunteers.  

National Service in the News


University of Miami legal clinic helps secure benefits for ill Army veteran
The Miami Herald - Online (FL), July 5, 2014
Smith, 54, was denied federal benefits twice until he found legal assistance in what he now calls his “A team,” attorney Ryan Foley and third-year law student Col. Noel Pace. Both are Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellows who help veterans apply for federal assistance through a clinic at the University of Miami School of Law.

AmeriCorps NCCC

AmeriCorps helps with Big Ugly make-over
Lincoln Journal Inc - Online (WV), July 3, 2014
From May 22 through June 28, 2014, a dynamic group of hard-working, energetic, diverse 18-24 year olds have worked with Step by Step. A team with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), they worked to address unmet needs in the Big Ugly community as a part of their 10-month commitment to community service.

AmeriCorps VISTA

Federal agencies announce $1.3 million for effort
Lexington Herald-Leader (KY), July 7, 2014
The additional $1 million is from the Corporation for National and Community Service, which will finance the work of 52 AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers in the region to help with job training and placement, student achievement, financial counseling for families and other services.

Senior Corps

Area Foster Grandparents honored for work
Sauk Valley (IL), July 5, 2014
Members of the Tri-County Opportunities Council’s Foster Grandparent Program received special recognition, with a buffet luncheon and magic program, May 8 at White Pines Inn Dinner Theatre in Mount Morris.Nine grandparents received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for serving more than 4,000 hours. 

National Service Blog

STEM AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Projects in Action Across South
NationalService.Tumblr.com, July 10, 2014
This summer, STEM AmeriCorps is taking on a new challenge as 256 AmeriCorps VISTAs fan out across six Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and West Virginia) to connect 18,000 students in low-performing schools with learning opportunities. As expected, reports from the field about the program are filling our inboxes.

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