conf2014_22.jpgWendy Spencer

There was a lot to celebrate at the June 17 National Service Town Hall meeting at the 2014 Conference on Volunteering and Service, with AmeriCorps turning 20 this year. AmeriCorps members shared their stories, explaining the effect national service has had on their lives.

Stanley “Buddy” Barnes spoke about his volunteer service as a foster grandparent helping kids. “It makes me feel good,” he said. “It makes me feel wanted.” AmeriCorps member Ezinne Igbonagwan relayed her experience working with the TEAM (Technology Environment and Mathematics) program to help struggling students get back on track.

The town hall featured a panel of AmeriCorps alums who have maintained their commitment to service. Mary Bruce, co-executive director of AmeriCorps Alums; Major Rebecca Lange, assistant to the joint chiefs of staff; and Joe Holberg, a Google science teaching fellow,  discussed how national service geared them up for their next chapters. “Made in AmeriCorps is the truth,” Lange said.

Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), highlighted some new national service programs, including a CNCS partnership with Bank of America and Points of Light for the Financial Opportunity Corps, which guides people toward financial stability, and a CNCS partnership with the Citi Foundation and Points of Light for ServiceWorks, an emerging program set to prepare low-income youth and young adults for college and careers.

A second panel emphasized the need for continued partnerships with local governments and private corporations. Panelists included Kerry Sullivan, president of the Bank of America Foundation; Paedia Mixon, executive director at Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta; Myung Lee, executive director of Cities of Service; and Michael Lombardo, CEO of Reading Partners.  

For more coverage of the 2014 Conference on Volunteering and Service, sponsored by UPS, click here.