There is nothing more American than national service — no other solution capable of uniting the country, solving local problems, and empowering a generation of leaders. Consider the devastating impact on our local communities struggling with poverty, hunger, and natural disasters if the programs where 80,000 young Americans serve are eliminated. What message does that send the next generation of young people who are ready to roll up their sleeves and serve our nation? President Trump’s FY2018 proposed budget would eliminate AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, VetCorps, and the Corporation for National and Community Service (the federal agency that administers these programs).
National service is too powerful an idea to be eliminated. In West Virginia alone, the West Virginia Commission for National and Community Service (dba Volunteer West Virginia) administers 12 AmeriCorps State projects and 2 AmeriCorps VISTA projects statewide. These programs support about 900 AmeriCorps members annually in West Virginia. Preserve WV AmeriCorps and Appalachian Forest Heritage Area AmeriCorps programs provide direct service to preserve West Virginia’s heritage, while other programs address health and food security, conservation, veteran’s programs, and education support.
Volunteer West Virginia is working with the WV Council of Churches, Step by Step, First Choice the Harrison County Family Resource Network and other partners to develop an understanding of how AmeriCorps can be part of the solution to WV’s opioid overdose epidemic. Last year AmeriCorps programs supported 472 local sites in West Virginia by placing AmeriCorps members, coordinating service projects, and recognizing volunteers. Their work supports hundreds of nonprofit partners and volunteers working together to solve some of West Virginia’s most challenging issues.
In 2016, PAWV’s 19 Preserve WV AmeriCorps members served over 24,950 hours helping 17 sites in local communities. They preserved 33 historic assets and engaged 666 community residents in volunteer projects for Main Street development, historic preservation, and heritage tourism. Each Preserve WV AmeriCorps completes projects to enhance and build upon activities at their site. Their service activities are designed with site and community needs in mind.
Urge continuation of and full funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), and for AmeriCorps. Call your Congressional Leaders today!
District 1 – Congressman David McKinley – (202) 225-4172
District 2 – Congressman Alex Mooney – (202) 225-2711
District 3 – Congressman Evan Jenkins – (202) 225-3452
Senator Shelley Moore Capito – 202-224-6472
Senate Joe Manchin – 202-224-3954