District Day in NOLA

Posted by Jerry Duchene Saavedra on February 26, 2011

Post by Tiffany Zapico, ServeNext New Orleans:

Over 40 AmeriCorps Alums, supporters, and advocates joined together at Senator David Vitter’s Metaire office to discuss the impact that would occur in Louisiana if AmeriCorps and the CNCS were to be eliminated as proposed in the recently proposed bill H.R.1. Senator Vitter was not available so the group met with State Director David Doss. Constituents described the economic benefits to Louisiana explaining that the state would lose $7 million in federal funding and 4.6 million in local matching investment. Also, eliminating national service programs would deprive Louisiana citizens of core services provided at an extremely cost effective rate – $233 million worth of direct services to Louisiana with a federal investment of only $19.4 million annually.

Many people also shared their story of service including alums and supporters of City Year, Playworks, Operation Reach, Artist Corps, AmeriCorps NCCC, St. Bernard Project, Louisiana Delta Corps, and Notre Dame Mission Volunteers. Tears fell as one AmeriCorps Alum told his story of working in a low income school where young children were in desperate need of positive role models and extra academic instruction. The group not only described the economic impacts of the programs but also spoke passionately about the positive societal impact, and the life changing experience members go through in only ten months.

The group made two official asks during the meeting. 1. We asked Senator Vitter, as a political leader in a state that has been highly dependent on AmeriCorps as a result of hurricane Katrina, to take a stance against his party and propose a change in the bill that would NOT eliminate AmeriCorps but rather increase funding as President Obama has requested and 2. We invited Senator Vitter to schedule a personal meeting with us and/or tour a local non-profit or school that hosts national service participants.

All in all, participants left proud of the work of the national service movement, ready to continue bringing awareness to this issue, and eager to continue the fight against the possible elimination of AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National and Community Service.


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