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Now on to the Senate… AND WE NEED YOUR HELP!

March 23, 2009

As you are probably aware, service legislation is rapidly moving through the Congress.  This week, the GIVE Act passed the House of Representatives, and the Senate is prepared to consider the Serve America Act on the floor next week.

There are 3 STEPS that we need you to take to help convince the following senators to support the Serve America Act ASAP!

1. Get these Senators to support the act…

Texas – Kay Bailey Hutchison

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Florida – Mel Martinez

Ohio – George Voinovich

Tennessee – Lamar Alexander

Louisiana – David Vitter

Virginia – Jim Webb

North Carolina – Kay Hagan and Richard Burr

Maine – Susan Collins

Minnesota – Amy Klobuchar

  1. Call the office of your senator(s), ask for the LA who works on service or education issues, and give them your name and from where you are calling.

  1. Ask them if the Senator will support the Serve America Act, S 277, on the floor this week.
    1. IF YES:

i.Thank them for their support of this important legislation on behalf of your organization, your partners, and service organizations in the state.

ii.Ask them if the Senator is willing/interested in making a floor statement during debate and if you can help with talking points.

iii.Ask if the Senator will sign on as a co-sponsor of the legislation.

    1. IF NO:

i.Explain the importance and value of this bill to your state, community, and organization.

ii.Explain that this bill is critically important to activate citizens in service during this time of great national need.

iii.Give an anecdote of your own experience.

iv.Offer to provide details on the bill and the impact of national service on the state.

    1. If you don’t get an answer:

i.Ask for a response by Monday morning.

ii.Ask what information would be helpful in helping the senator understand the bill’s impact on the state.

Report back with what they said to: wsoenksen@americorpsalums.org!

2.Reach out to 10 or more people in your community or state to place a similar call to these senators.  EVERY CALL MATTERS! These senators guess that each call from a constituent represents 10+ in their state who cares about the issue.

3. We need stories stories stories!  Please provide us anecdotes or stories of your most high impact service activities of recent weeks. If there are projects related to the economic downturn, those are particular helpful. We will be pushing those to your own Senate offices and others.  I can’t stress how important these can be!! Also be prepared to offer these to your senators as components of their floor statements. Short, paragraph-long vignettes; specific, named partner organizations, neighborhoods, etc. that your senators may recognize. Please email any stories to: wsoenksen@americorpsalums.org

Finally, call your local paper’s editorial board and ask them to write a piece in support of national service and the Serve America Act. You can reference any of the information on this blog to help you in this endeavor and if you need a press release contact wsoenksen@americorpsalums.org.

Thank you so much for your enthusiastic response to our calls to action.  For the first time in over 15 years, this is our moment to seize to advance national service into the 21st century!

By Toby Chalberg

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Michelle Spevak permalink
    March 24, 2009 3:20 pm

    I was extremely excited about this act until recently reading agencies doing advocacy (not the AmeriCorps members…but another arm of the agency) would not be eligible to host any national service program. Thinking of the numerous agencies that play dual roles in their communities providing direct services through AmeriCorps programs and advocacy through their staff could be severely affected by the passage of this Act. Please review carefully before taking action. Michelle Spevak – Western NC Alums Chapter Leader

  2. Logan permalink
    March 24, 2009 4:44 pm

    Can I get assurance that the GIVE Acts section 6104 will be struck out? Volunteering is not mandatory and this section wants to look at implementing ‘mandatory’ service. can I get assurance that Section 120 will not lead to some sort of indoctrination of my children by creating mandatory curriculum? Isn’t curriculum a state’s rights issue? I think so.

  3. March 26, 2009 3:23 pm

    Logan,

    Thanks for your comments. The final passed version of the GIVE Act, at least according to thomas.gov, didn’t include a section 6104. In any case, the spirit and intent of this bill is not to make volunteering mandatory. It would have never passed if there were mandatory requirements for volunteering. It seems to be a non-issue given there is no section 6104 in the final version

    In terms of Section 120, it is difficult to predict exactly how that would unfold. I can see your concern there. At the end of the day it would be contingent upon the local school to accept the funding/resources or not. And if they did accept the funding, they would have oversight as to how the curriculum was shaped b/c they would have to ensure that the service learning curriculum was in line with their respective state’s core curriculum requirements.

    -Greg Heinrich
    Alumni Mobilization Manager

  4. March 26, 2009 3:27 pm

    -Michelle, I don’t think the idea you referenced went anywhere. Most Senators were not buying that ideaology, and thus, it didn’t go anywhere.

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