This year’s National AmeriCorps Week, May 14 – 21, is a particularly important opportunity to elevate the value and importance of AmeriCorps and national service. In light of recent budget debates in Congress and the threatened elimination of funds for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) in 2012, AmeriCorps Week showcases the extraordinary impact of national service members every day across our nation.
AmeriCorps Week shines a light on the more than 80,000 members currently serving in communities across the country – individuals who are effectively serving and meeting critical needs in our country’s communities. We see this impact front and center in our HandsOn Network where, over the last 12 months, HandsOn Networks’ AmeriCorps members have recruited and mobilized more than 53,900 volunteers in more than 1,200 service projects impacting more than 70,000 citizens.
In addition to 80,000 current members, more than 600,000 have joined AmeriCorps Alums, a division of Points of Light Institute, and have given more than 860 million hours in service since 1994. We believe in the leadership potential of these individuals and have supported them both as an organization and a strategy to continue to create change. We have 26 chapters of AmeriCorps Alums throughout the country actively engaging thousands during AmeriCorps Week in service projects, networking events and thought leadership with elected officials.
The value of AmeriCorps service has been felt in communities both large and small – at Points of Light Institute affiliates, managing volunteers in disaster relief efforts and at the countless organizations that we partner with. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has said he believes the future of his city depends on citizens rolling up their sleeves and working together to tackle complicated challenges – and AmeriCorps Alums have played a major role.
“AmeriCorps Alums working in city government and nonprofit organizations throughout Philadelphia bring a level of experience and commitment to service that directly impacts our collective capacity to engage every day citizens in solving problems and strengthening their communities,” said Mayor Nutter.
The National League of Cities highlighted the impact of AmeriCorps volunteers in an editorial by AmeriCorps Alums Executive Director Ben Duda this week. The article reaches 30,000 mayors, city council members, city managers, police and fire chiefs, public works directors and others who make decisions about local operations. It is important that these individuals understand the valuable impact of service and how they can engage both current AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Alums to address local challenges and create change.
To share best practices, AmeriCorps Alums has convened a national training and professional development webinar called “How to Translate Your AmeriCorps Experience into Future Leadership Opportunities” on May 18 at 12 p.m. EST. This session will showcase the transformational force of service and how it can make an impact in solving our country’s challenging issues.
To register for the webinar or get engaged with your local AmeriCorps Alums, please visit www.AmeriCorpsAlums.org. National service has a critical role to play in our country as we face tough challenges and restricted funds. At Points of Light Institute, we look forward to celebrating AmeriCorps Week with our service partners and colleagues and lifting up currently serving members and the hundreds of thousands of Alums – they are at the forefront of possibility for community change.
Yours in Service,
CEO, Points of Light Institute
Co-Founder, HandsOn Network