Alums Leading the Way: AmeriCorps Week 2011
AmeriCorps Week 2011 has come to close and what a week it was! AmeriCorps was center stage the nation over and, in many cities, Alums was in the spotlight. There were over 330 projects registered online, leveraging over 2,200 volunteers who served nearly 10,000 hours. Almost 300 alums served with pride along side 1,200current AmeriCorps members.
National AmeriCorps Week was officially proclaimed in 7 states. Thank you very much Governors Snyder (R-Mich), Quinn (D-Illinois), Brewer (R-Arizona), Lynch (D-New Hampshire), Brandstad (R-Iowa), Perdue (D-North Carolina), and Sandoval (R-Nevada) for their support. Also, many cities joined in their support for AmeriCorps. In Arizona: Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Chandler, Prescott, and Flagstaff all proclaimed May 14-21 as AmeriCorps week, along with Washington, DC and Portland, OR. Thank you two these cities as well for their support and example to the rest of the country.
Events and service projects were held all over the country, led by Alums. Here’s just a few quick examples of some of the many projects!
- Miami AmeriCorps Alums did an excellent job getting Alums and the community together for service this week. They kicked off with a community picnic and whiffle ball game followed up later in the week by an excellent project
where 71 volunteers participated in a clean-up effort in Oleta State Park.
- Alums in Maine celebrated with a great combination of service projects, outreach, and social events..
- In New Hampshire, 40 Alumni, current AmeriCorps members, and volunteers braved soggy conditions on Wednesday to work in the gardens of the New Hampshire Food Bank. Along with a successful service project, 20 current members and Alums toured the New Hampshire Senate where they met with Gov. Lynch and were recognized for their service on the Senate floor!
- Our Connecticut Alums also had a great week with a successful service project working on community gardens with the New Haven Land Trust, complete with a visit from Sen. Blumenthal where he signed a commitment to continue the fight to keep AmeriCorps funded into the future.
- In Des Moines, 37 Alums, current members, and volunteers came out on a cold and rainy day to work on a very successful Alums organized community beautification project. The day was capped off by a visit from State Rep. Abdul-Samad who thanks AmeriCorps members and Alums for their service along with reading the official AmeriCorps Week proclamation from Iowa Gov. Brandstad.
- In Austin, Alums put on several events including an “I Am AmeriCorps” sign campaign and youth basketball tournament. They finished the week with a rally for AmeriCorps in downtown Austin where over 100 attendees listened to speeches on the importance of service from Alums, current members, and special guests including Texas State Rep. Elliot Naishtat and US Rep. Lloyd Doggett.
- In St. Louis, Alums lead an excellently organized AmeriCorps Summit in St. Louis which included a speech by St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. They finished the week with a Non-Profit Career fair that was attended by 40 organizations!
- Along with a successful service project and Alumni mixer event, the Philadelphia Alums chapter organized a rally for AmeriCorps at City Hall that was attended by over 300 participants. Guest speakers included AmeriCorps Alums Executive Director, Ben Duda; new AmeriCorps VISTA director Mary Strasser, Chief Service Officer Catie Wolfgang, and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.
There was also some great media attention. At the start of the week, an article by Alums Executive Director Ben Duda was featured in Nations Cities Weekly, the leading news paper of Mayors and City Councils. VISTA member Alex Drzycimski had an article featured in his home paper supporting AmeriCorps. There were also articles covering projects in Connecticut and Iowa.
This year’s AmeriCorps Week was one of the most successful to date. We’d like to take a second to thank all of you for your hard work and dedication in continuing to serve your communities. We are proud to work with such a dedicated group of people who truly take the AmeriCorps pledge to heart and “carry this commitment with you this year and beyond.”