Feb 24, 2017

Stand Up for Service - What YOU can do to help.

According to a NY Times article released a week ago, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps are among the programs on the chopping block in the current administration's budget. Earlier this week, we asked you to call, Tweet, or fax your reps to ask them to stand up for national service. You did, and while it made a difference we are still a long way from ensuring that national service remains a priority of Congress, the White House, and the American people. Below are a couple of things you can do to stay involved and have your say.
United States Senator Dick Blumenthal is hosting the following Town Halls this weekend:
SATURDAY (Feb 25): 1:30 pm on Saturday at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven
SUNDAY (Feb 26): 1pm at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain.

UPDATE: Senator Blumenthal's Town Halls have passed, however US Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro will be holding a Town Hall on Monday, March 6th from 5:30-7:00 pm at Hamden Middle School!

When attending a Town Hall, please remember the following tips:
  • Be prepared, both with your own story and the story of AmeriCorps (and other national service) in the state of Connecticut. More information about AmeriCorps' yearly impact in our state can be found here. 
  • Listen to directions and be mindful of others' time and the importance of the issues they came to speak about. When you are there as an AmeriCorps Alum, the hope is to win friends and supporters. 
  • Stick around afterwards (if it's okay!). You may be able to speak to a staffer or make important connections with other like-minded community members who may have never heard of AmeriCorps. 
  • It's okay to write things down - if you think you'll get nervous on the mic, write down what you want to say on an index card and bring it with you!
Sam Rigotti, an AmeriCorps VISTA alum who worked in a Congressional office after his service ended, shared some more tips if you can't make it to a Town Hall in-person:
  • Only contact YOUR Representatives and Senators; out of district mail is nice, but don't get logged or receive any official response. Connecticut's Senators are Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, and you can find your Congresspeople here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
  • Contacting members through their websites is best; phone calls are also good, but due to the high volume of constituent calls lately they might be more easily overlooked.
  • For more social-media savvy members (especially Jim Himes), Tweet at them to get their attention (our friends at Service year Alliance has set up this amazing tool to make it easy - they even give you suggested language!: http://bit.ly/2kLnfku)
  • Try to get on the member's calendar for an in-person meeting; submit an online meeting request but call every couple of weeks to follow up if you haven't received a response (be flexible about the date and office location, if the member has more than one)
Thank you to our friend Sam Rigotti for sharing his expertise. All typos and hanging modifiers are ours. 

Feb 20, 2017

Take Action - Help Save AmeriCorps and Senior Corps

The Corporation for National and Community Service - which funds AmeriCorps and Senior Corps, among other programs aimed at making it easier for Americans to serve - has been marked for elimination, according to a NY Times article recently released.

Voices for National Service has sprung into action, creating this easy way to contact your representatives in Congress: http://voicesforservice.org/take-action/contact-congress/. Please use this link and share with your friends and networks. As we have all experienced, you never know whose been affected by AmeriCorps until you ask!

On March 7th, we will be partnering with Service Year Alliance for an in-person seminar in Hartford on how we can most effectively fight back - save the date!

It's important to note that while the Connecticut delegation have been overwhelmingly supportive of national service in the past, they still need to hear from you and hear your stories to be effective in advocating to keep the Corporation for National and Community Service in the budget.

More to come...