AmeriCorps Week Concludes with Day of Service in Rockaways
By Mel Fabrikant Monday, March 18, 2013, 07:35 AM EDT
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) will conclude “AmeriCorps Week” with a day of service in Rockaway, NY. This event will not only honor the effort of relief workers so far, but will highlight the work that still needs to be done.
Alongside more than 200 AmeriCorps members, CNCS CEO Wendy Spencer and Director of AmeriCorps Bill Basl will join local representatives and volunteers to clean up a damaged beach, repair a daycare center, and help area residents get back on their feet. These efforts build on AmeriCorps’ long-standing commitment to helping communities use service to spark local solutions to local challenges. The service projects were made possible by Time-Warner’s contribution to the AmeriCorps recovery efforts.
Other attendees include Gary Bagley, Executive Director of New York Cares; Diahann Billings-Burford, Chief Service Officer for the City of New York; and Susan Stern, Chair of NY Volunteers at the New York State Commission on National and Community Service.
“National service bolsters disaster relief efforts,” said Spencer, CEO of CNCS. “It brings together businesses, nonprofits and community groups, federal agencies, state and local government, and everyday citizens to help communities that need it most. AmeriCorps members have been at the forefront of the Hurricane Sandy recovery, and are helping people respond, rebuild, and recover every day.”
More than 2,400 AmeriCorps members have been part of the federal response to Hurricane Sandy, including the first class of AmeriCorps NCCC members serving with FEMA Corps. In New York alone, AmeriCorps members have:
• Mucked and gutted 1,270 homes,
• Mobilized 16,000 volunteers for 128,000 hours of service (valued at $2.68 million), and
• Touched the lives of nearly 30,000 New York residents.
“I want to thank all the AmeriCorps members who traveled across the country to help New York families rebuild in the aftermath of the storm,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “AmeriCorps has helped so many young people in our communities create a path to a better future. Together, we will continue to work to meet New York’s needs to recover and rebuild.”
Under the director of CNCS’s Disaster Services Unit, the AmeriCorps response to Hurricane Sandy has involved programs from many states across the country. Participating programs include American Youth Works, Iowa Commission on National Service, Minnesota/Iowa Conservation Corps, Montana Conservation Corps, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, St. Bernard Project, St. Louis Safety Corps, TCCC Hoopa, The Corps Network, Utah Conservation Corps, Washington Conservation Corps, and YouthBuild. In addition, AmeriCorps NCCC, including its first-ever FEMA Corps units, placed hundreds of members on the ground in affected areas.
“Hurricane Sandy had a far reaching and devastating impact on many communities throughout our city,” said Diahann Billings-Burford, Chief Service Officer for the City of New York. “Thanks to the support and service of community volunteers and partners such as the Corporation for National and Community Service and AmeriCorps, our city continues to recover. The invaluable partnership of community and non-profit organizations with city government dramatically improved our ability to meet the diverse needs of our residents and help our city come back stronger than ever.”
The project will wrap up AmeriCorps Week 2013, which was marked by service projects, forums, presentations, and recognition ceremonies across the country. The theme, “AmeriCorps Works,” focuses on three groups that benefit from the program: the recipients of service, the people who serve, and the larger community and nation.
“AmeriCorps members have provided invaluable support to citizens and communities affected by Hurricane Sandy and other disasters,” said Basl, Director of AmeriCorps. “They’ve made substantial progress in New York and other affected areas, and there’s more work to be done. Americans know they can count on national service members before, during, and after a disaster.”