ServeNext.org Blog

My Meeting with Sen. Marco Rubio’s Regional Director

Posted by Jerry Duchene Saavedra on September 26, 2012

Post by Vanessa Christiansen, ServeNext Organizer for Miami

Last week at the Opportunity Nation Summit, Senator Marco Rubio was a keynote speaker and spoke about his vision for increasing opportunity for all Americans. The same week I had the opportunity to meet with his Miami office Regional Director Alyn Cruz-Higgins about how we need the Senators help with expanding opportunities for Americans to serve their country through national service programs like AmeriCorps.  With me I had diverse representatives from Florida’s service community: Angelica Bertot of City Year, Kevin Bulger with AmeriCorps Alum, and Donovan Pierre of Communities in Schools.

Each representative presented moving stories of impact and data of AmeriCorps members within their organization. Each of them appealed to the Senator as his constituents using qualitative and quantitative data from their personal experiences as well as their organizations. Donovan told of his personal story of growing up as an inner-city youth in the streets of Liberty City and using AmeriCorps as a method of personal and professional development which brought him to his current position, Communities in Schools Site Coordinator for AmeriCorps. While the representatives of each program spoke about the loss to communities across Florida if funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service was cut, they also spoke about the history of national service in the nation and the innovation of AmeriCorps in leveraging federal dollars by acquiring private sector matching funds.

At the end of the visit, I asked Ms. Cruz-Higgins to relay to the Senator two asks:  1.) to join the National Service Caucus in the Senate and increase Republican representation and 2.) visit one of the many service organizations who utilize national service members to better their community.  She happily informed us that although the Senator had never personally visited, she had and so had his wife.  She let us know that he has very limited time but that we could use her e-mail to update her and the office on AmeriCorps Alum Miami Chapter happenings.

As we all breathe a collective sigh of relief over the short-term continuing resolution funding the government including AmeriCorps for the next 6 months, we have to make sure that our voices are continued to be heard. This is not a victory but a quick intermission.

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