District Day in Las Vegas, NV

Posted by Jerry Duchene Saavedra on August 12, 2011

Post by Daniele Monroe-Moreno, ServeNext Organizer for Las Vegas:

Daniele Monroe-Moreno, ServeNext Organizer for Las Vegas and Ms. Shawn Lecker-Pomaville, CEO of Nevada Volunteers along with Jerry P. Tsai, Development Associate Teach for America,
Las Vegas Valley, Jonathan S. AmeriCorps Volunteer, Celena Monroe-Moreno, Community Volunteer, Mr. Sean Corbett, NV State Commissioner, Mr. Gary McDorman, Owner GCE Photography and Mary Simmons, NV State Commissioner together shared an AWESOME Save Service District Day.

Nevada is home to Senator Harry Reid, Senator Dean Heller, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley and Congressman Joe Heck. Our District 2 Congressional seat is open with a Special Election to be held in September. Our motivated group of service provider’s and advocates requested a meeting with each of our Representative’s and had hoped to secure a meeting with a least a few. We are very proud to report that we were invited to share our message, tell our service stories, voice our concerns to recent and potential cut to National and Community Service Programs with Representatives from each of our elected leaders staff.

Our Save Service District Day started at 9:00 am with Mr. Keith Hughes, Case Manager for Rep. Joe Heck. The opportunity to share National Service with Mr. Hughes was crucial. Although he had heard of National Service, we were able to provide him with detailed information about who we are, what we do and the benefit to Nevadans. I would categorize his response as neutral, but VERY interested in visiting services sites. Mr. Hughes expressed that Rep. Heck is a “numbers man” and ask that we provide even more detailed information for the Congressman’s “Battle Book” which is where they put subjects the Congressman wants to learn more about. Ms. Lecker-Pomaville will get the requested information to the office to assist Rep. Heck with learning more about CNCS and the impact of all national service programs in Nevada.  Rep. Heck voted for H.R. 1 and is not currently a member of the National Service Caucus but it is our hope that once he learns more about National Service and the many benefits to our communities, such as helping veterans find jobs and re-acclimate back to civilian life, he will reconsider his position. Before leaving we ask that Mr. Hughes express our sincere thanks to Congressman Heck for his Military Service to our Country.

Our second stop of the day was an 11:00 am meeting with Ms.Nikki Koval, District Representative for Congresswoman Shelley Berkley. We could not say thank you enough for Rep. Berkley’s continued support of National Service in America. Congresswoman Berkley voted for the Serve America Act, she voted against the H.R. 1 and is currently a member of the National Service Caucus. The discussion focused on how we as service providers and advocates can help the Congresswoman reach across the aisle to get the message to those that need to hear our stories. We also talked about creative ways to get more of our citizens involved in service to the community. ServeNext Las Vegas and Nevada Volunteers will be working with the Congressional office to plan a district event to expand service as a solution for addressing Nevada’s and America’s most pressing challenges. Ms. Koval expressed that the Congressional Office has received a number of calls from community members seeking jobs and opportunities to serve, therefore she was very excited to link the Congressional website to NV Volunteers website for a direct link to National and Community Service opportunities and event information.

Following lunch we were very excited to meet with Mr. Matt Morris at 2:00 p.m.. Serving as the Regional Representative for Senator Dean Heller, Mr. Morris understands the importance of service in our community. We first met Mr. Morris when Sen. Heller was a member of the House and at that time he expressed an interest to visit service sites and participate with volunteers from his office. While in the House, Senator Heller voted for the Serve America Act and was a member of the National Service Caucus. We ask that Senator Heller consider joining the Senate National Service Caucus. Mr. Morris expressed excitement to link to the Nevada Volunteers and informed us that the Heller Office will have two positions opening in the fall for interns. Bringing jobs and creating jobs in Nevada is a top priority and National and Community Service provides opportunities to accomplish that goal.

We wrapped up our Save Service District Day with a 3:30 p.m. meeting with three members of Senator Harry Reid’s staff, Regional Representative Ms. Sandra Jauregui, Regional Representative Ms. Melissa Varelis and Manager Strategic Outreach Ms. Mariela Hernandez. Thank yous were again in order Senator Reid was a Co-Sponsor of the Serve America Act and has remained a strong supporter of National Service in America. However with recent cuts to the Corporation for National and Community Service there have been lost AmeriCorps opportunities to serve and it is our youth and seniors who suffer most. Senator Reid’s staff had a general understanding of AmeriCorps and have personally witnessed it working in Nevada. However they agreed that National Service must be embraced by both sides of the aisle and a personal relationship must be fostered between the Senator’s Office and the service providers and advocates. The Senator has a goal to create jobs and Service programs can be a pathway to employment in Nevada.

The Save Service Las Vegas District Day was extremely successful. Ideas, issues and concerns were shared by all, but we believe that this is day has opened the door to a working relationship and line of communication with our Elected Officials. The work is just beginning.


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