ServeNext Des Moines Celebrates the Serve America Act

Posted by Jerry Duchene Saavedra on May 2, 2011

Post by Jordan Jones:

On Thursday, April 21st, myself and fifteen other service supporters (including an adorable six month-old) gathered at a neighborhood pizza parlor on Des Moines’ South Side. We were there to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of the Serve America Act, the landmark piece of bipartisan legislation that expanded national service and seemed to mark the beginning of a new era of service, volunteerism and community involvement in America.

The recent and ongoing budget battles in Congress, though, taught us that we cannot take anything for granted. The Serve America Act and the values it represents are in danger and if indispensable programs like AmeriCorps are going to be preserved, it will take a lot of hard work on the part of service supporters. That’s a daunting task, to be sure, and that was why we were all in the cozy backroom of Bordenaro’s Pizza.

We had come to share our stories of service with one another, to remind ourselves why we do what we do. It was wonderful to hear about the experiences of other service supporters. Their diverse stories underscored how adaptable national service programs are. Our guests had done everything from construction, to clerical work, to neighborhood revitalization. Service definitely can be a solution to many problems.

But the presence of all these great people in a room was also an opportunity to take action. During our little get-together, we authored fourteen letters to our members of Congress and recorded five video testimonials to put on You Tube. This was on top of the refreshing conversation and reinvigorating stories we shared with one another.

All in all, a good time. We all came away with the feeling that we had done something and that our purpose had been renewed. All that and free pizza too!


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