Archive for the ‘Martin Luther King Jr.’ Category

“A Day On” or Off for Congress?

Posted by Jerry Duchene Saavedra on January 20, 2012

If an MLK Day of Service project happened in the middle of the forest, would your members of Congress hear about it?  What about in their own districts?  National days of service like MLK Day are great times to plan service projects and mobilize members of the local community to come together in service but they are also great opportunities to invite your members of Congress to see firsthand the value and impact of AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and all national service.

Here at ServeNext we asked our Organizers to focus their time and energy on reaching out to their members of Congress to invite and urge them to participate in this year’s MLK Day of service events.  The goal was to get members of Congress and/or their staff to serve side by side with AmeriCorps members to better understand how the programs work and discuss how AmeriCorps members make a difference every day and not just on big service days.   While we didn’t get any members of Congress to participate locally since most of them were in Washington, we did succeed in getting their staff to attend and commit to sharing their experience with their boss.  Great job team!

Read below for a few highlights from the field.

ServeNext Montana

Heather Margolis, ServeNext Organizer for Montana, invited Congressman Denny Rehberg’s new Regional Director Jocelyn Galt to attend the MLK Day pancake breakfast and food drive in Helena organized by AmeriCorps VISTA’s. Heather unfortunately had to miss the event but Jocelyn still attended was able to talk with AmeriCorps members.  She reported back to Heather that she had a great time and is available to visit other Montana AmeriCorps program sites with Heather to learn more about the impact and value of AmeriCorps bring to Montana.

Also participating in the event were Montana Lt. Governor John Bohlinger and Montana National Guard Adj. Gen. John E. Walsh who both served pancakes.


ServeNext Rochester, NY

Stephanie Sacco, ServeNext Organizer in Rochester, NY, partnered with RochesterCares, Rochester AmeriCorps, and Rochester Youth Year VISTA for an MLK “King for a Day” event. AmeriCorps members joined with community volunteers to serve a number of local agencies with sorting donations, organizing materials, and community gardening. Beth LeValley from Congresswoman Slaughter’s office came and spoke to the importance of this kind of service in our community. See the local news story here. 

Simultaneously, other ServeNext members attended a “Skate to Commemorate” event, organized by Rochester AmeriCorps member Tiffany Lopez. Local hockey team the “Amerks” skated at a local rink that was accepting donations instead of fees for community members to skate, too. Deb Essley, staff member at the office of Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle, attended the event and spoke with Tiffany about her service to the community as an AmeriCorps member.

ServeNext Columbus, OH

Rachel Diskin, ServeNext Organizer in Columbus, OH, found out via twitter that Congressman Steve Stivers was having “office hours” and decided to use that opportunity to invite him and his staff in person to participate in the MLK Day event put on by the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Food Banks, Capital University, the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, and the Red Cross.   Going to the office hours paid off as not one but four staff members from Congressman Stivers’ office attended and participated in assembling disaster preparedness kits.

ServeNext Miami, FL

Catherine Houlihan, ServeNext Organizer in Miami, FL, reached out to her Senators and was successful in getting staff members from both offices to participate in local MLK Day of Service events.  Alyn Cruz-Higgins and Nury Valerie Soler from Senator Marco Rubio’s office attended the MLK Day of Service Project at Goulds Park, Miami. As luck would have it, these where the same Rubio staff members who Catherine delivered the Save Service holiday ornaments and they served as an affirmation of the success of Catherine’s Purple Cow (see previous blog post) saying they knew instantly that the ornaments were advocating for AmeriCorps and CNCS.  They also mentioned that the ornaments still decorate their office to this day and stand as a reminder of AmeriCorps and service.

Senator Bill Nelson’s staff member participated in a separate MLK Day event on Sunday night where both Catherine and AmeriCorps Alum Darrill where able to speak with her about CNCS and sharing with Senator Nelson the need for his support for service in 2012.


Posted in AmeriCorps, Martin Luther King Jr. | Leave a Comment »

Green Light for MLK Day of Service

Posted by Jerry Duchene Saavedra on February 3, 2011



Post by Tiffany Zapico:

In recognition of the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, ServeNext New Orleans, New Orleans area AmeriCorps Alums Chapter, AmeriCorps NCCC, Catholic Charities, Girls Hope Boys Hope, and Cabrini High School participated in an all day service project around the issue of energy conservation. The members and volunteers worked with Green Light New Orleans, a community based nonprofit focused on having “a positive environmental impact by increasing the use of CFLs (compact fluorescent lights), helping low income residents reduce their utility bills and creating a connection between the volunteers and recipients of the service.”

The focus was on two different projects: CFL installations and SmartView Outreach, a new program that will allow homeowners the opportunity to track their energy usage in real-time through Smart Meter devices. The NCCC teams trained volunteers in the CFL installation process, which includes how to interact with homeowners and the education piece at the end of the appointment showing the homeowner the impact of their new light bulbs as well as other energy conservation opportunities. Volunteers then went into the community and installed 133 compact florescent light bulbs in 10 homes, saving homeowners a total of $6,118 in energy costs and preventing 59,451 lbs of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. Through the SmartView Outreach canvassing, the teams had 3 homeowners sign up for Smart Meter devices.

Overall, forty-nine volunteers participated in the day of service.  Great job ServeNext New Orleans!

Posted in AmeriCorps, Martin Luther King Jr., ServeNext | Leave a Comment »

A Day On with ServeNext Las Vegas

Posted by Jerry Duchene Saavedra on January 24, 2011



Post by Daniele Monroe-Moreno:

ServeNext Las Vegas team members began their MLK Day by participating in the Annual Las Vegas MLK Day Parade. With record numbers of participants and parade attendees the fun was just beginning!

With our Community Partners, Las Vegas Centennial Optimist Club, For the Least of These Ministries, KidScape Productions, Jeffrey Simister DDS, ServeNext Las Vegas was able to provide more than 1000 new books and dental hygiene goodie bags to the children who utilize the services of the James Boys and Girls Club in North Las Vegas, an AmeriCorps Service site. We were told to expect 50 – 100 youth and we so excited to share the day with over sixty youth.

Our special guest Congresswoman Shelley Berkley was unable to attend due to illness, however her District Staff Assistant Ms. Nicole Wright was an awesome replacement. Filling the shoes of our Congresswoman Ms. Wright entertained the children with the reading of an inspiring book. A great supporter and friend of ServeNext Las Vegas, North Las Vegas City Councilwoman Anita Wood and her family assisted with the event set up, clean up and serving our little guest lunch.

Fourteen ServeNext and Community Volunteer’s along with the AmeriCorps Volunteers shared the story of Martin Luther King and how MLK Day became a National Holiday. Volunteers encouraged and assisted the children with shareing their dreams for the future in writing. The children served us with a moving “I Have a Dream” Speech and a short theatrical skit they learned from KidScape Production’s Director Ms. Marissa Filippis.

A special thank you goes out to Mr. Raul R. Gomez Jr. and his Boys & Girls Club staff for their continued service to our community and to photographer Mr. Gary McDorman for capturing the special moments. The day would not have been possible without the very generous donations from UPS Store #4987, the Optimist Club, Dr. Simister, KidScape Production, For the Least of These Ministries, Sin City Pleasure Bakery, Wal-Mart NLV-Ann Rd. Store and the Moreno Family.

Posted in AmeriCorps, Martin Luther King Jr., National Service, ServeNext | 1 Comment »

Thank You for Helping to Improve Chicago Public Schools!

Posted by Jerry Duchene Saavedra on January 19, 2011

MLK Jr. Day of Service – 2011

Post by Patti Kurtz:

Dear ServeNext Chicago Partners,

Thank you so much for taking part in one of the many initiatives that went on throughout Chicago in the past month to help improve literacy in Chicago Public Schools! We appreciate your help and support and could not have done this without YOU.

What all did we accomplish and who did we work with to make this happen? Great question!

Organized by ServeNext Chicago, we started in December with a city-wide book drive to collect children’s book. We were able to collect an entire U-haul truck full of books donated from people throughout the city. With your help, we set up about 50 donation boxes in offices, coffee shops, restaurants, local ward offices, and other places of business. We partnered with Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer’s Office to help promote the event and collected even more books!

With AmeriCorps Alums Chicago, we set up additional donation boxes throughout the city to collect small electronics donations.

On the 25th anniversary of MLK Jr. Day on January 17th, 2011, we brought the books to Chicago Public School – Cameron Elementary and hit the ground running with our amazing corporate sponsor – Allstate to put the books to use.

The day of volunteering included:

* Sorting out all of the book donations
* Working in small groups to help teachers in their classroom with book leveling, paper grading, bulletin board decorating, and other activities needed to support the teachers
* Packaging and sending out the small electronic donations to Recycle Fundraising, an organizing that collects the electronics and in turn provides a donation to a local charity

We sorted out the children’s paperback books from the donations and sent them to the Chicago Juvenile Detention Center that is supported by Chicago Public Schools. These books will be used to educate the children to help promote literacy and break the cycle of limited access to books in the detention center.

In addition, we donated the adult books that could not be used in the school (about 15 boxes) to Open Books, a local non-profit that resells the books, provide community programs, and mobilizes volunteers to promote literacy in Chicago.

We accomplished more than we ever ancitipated!!

Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. once said “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”

You answered the call. Because of you, one more child will have a book to take home from school today. One more child will have the tools needed to learn to read. And one more child will know that someone, a complete stranger, took time out of their day and cared about them.

Thank you again!
Patti Kurtz
ServeNext Chicago Organizer

Posted in Advocacy and Policy, AmeriCorps, Martin Luther King Jr., ServeNext | 1 Comment »

%d bloggers like this: