Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Speak up for AmeriCorps

In the March edition of East Side Monthly, I wrote about the teaching and learning that's happening at Mt. Hope Learning Center as a result of thoughtful deployment of 15 dedicated AmeriCorps team members. The issue is out and about in the neighborhood now, and I'll republishing it here with a link to the online edition soon.

As I researched the story, I was able to learn about the powerful contributions that AmeriCorps team members make to children and their families in the Mt. Hope neighborhood, and the multiplied impact of AmeriCorps nationwide. The AmeriCorps educators work with students and their teachers at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School's Mt. Hope Learning Center-affiliated afterschool program, providing extended learning, academic support, mentoring, and fun. They work with other young people and their families in the neighborhood, developing innovative, sustainable youth development programs for adolescents and young adults. They're a powerful asset to our community.

That's why I was so disturbed to learn the following, from
Starting on Monday, February 14, the U.S. House of Representatives will begin consideration of a Continuing Resolution that will fund the last 7 months of Fiscal Year 2011. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers has announced that the bill will immediately cut $100 billion from the federal budget. Major news outlets including TIME, AP and others have reported that the bill will eliminate funding for programs of the Corporation for National and Community Service, including AmeriCorps. We know the Republican Study Committee wants to cut deeper, and has proposed to shutdown the whole agency and all service programs.
There's more here and here including talking points and the suggestion that you call your U.S. Representative's office to request that s/he vote no on any proposal to eliminate funding for AmeriCorps or the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Eliminating AmeriCorps creates damage and destruction to communities. It's a false savings that will exacerbate unemployment and distress in under-resourced communities. So, please do this. If you're my neighbor, call David Cicilline's office at 202-225-4911. If you're elsewhere, visit to look up your U.S. Representative's office number. The whole process, from looking up the number to talking with the pleasant staffer in Cicilline's office, took less than five minutes. 

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