April 21, 2011 is the 2nd Anniversary of the
Serve America Act. All over the country, organizations are celebrating the
creation of this landmark bipartisan legislation. Save Service has organized
"bus tours” for elected officials, service leaders, and community members in
Atlanta, GA, Baltimore, MD, Boston MA, Chicago, IL, Denver, CO, Dubuque, IA,
and Tucson, AZ. These tours will visit service sites, many of which are project
sites for state and national AmeriCorps programs, for local organizations to
see service in action and celebrate its impact. ServeNext is also hosting
parties to celebrate the anniversary in Charlotte, NC, Chicago, IL, Columbus,
OH, Des Moines, IA, Las Vegas, NV, Miami, FL, New Haven, CT, Rochester, NY,
Salt Lake City, UT, and San Francisco, CA. In many instances, Alums are organizing,
leading or participating in these education events in their local community.
The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act was signed into law by
President Barack Obama in 2009. Administered by the Corporation for National
and Community Service, the Act expanded the scope of national support for
services, providing the opportunity for millions to serve their communities.
One of the ways the Act did this was by increasing the amount of AmeriCorps
positions from 75,000 to 250,000 by 2017.
As many local and city governments are facing tighter
budgets, more and more people have come to rely on the support and aide of
local and national non-profit organizations. It is important to recognize the
support these organizations provide in the needed service areas of education,
housing, nutrition, youth development, and elderly services.
This time of celebration however, is also a time of
reflection and awareness. With the recent budget cuts to National Service and
AmeriCorps programs in the FY11 budget, including the elimination of the school
based Learn and Service America service learning initiative, it is important
that the impact of national service not be forgotten. By aiding and supporting
the countless local and national service organizations, national service
programs have leveraged $800 million in private and philanthropic funds
annually, countless volunteers, and helped to fill the gap in the time of need
for millions of Americans.
We hope you will join us in celebrating the spirit of
service embodied by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. You can find more
information on the ServeNext parties here
and be sure to follow us on Twitter
and our blog
throughout the day.