AmeriCorps is community aid
March 9 marked the start of AmeriCorps Week as a nationwide effort to celebrate the work AmeriCorps members are contributing to their communities. More than 80,000 Americans dedicate six to 12 months of direct service and capacity building activities every year through one of three AmeriCorps programs: State and National, Volunteers in Service to America, and National Civilian Community Corps. In Roseburg, 15 AmeriCorps and VISTA members, including myself, are serving in organizations like the YMCA, United Way, Umpqua Community College, and Umpqua Watersheds to help with programs in education, environment, health, and community development.
However, Congress’ impasse on a budget deficit reduction plan does not bode well for the AmeriCorps program. The $85 billion across-the-board budget cuts of “sequestration” threaten to reduce the AmeriCorps budget to $38 million in 2013, an eight percent decrease from 2012. This will have a significant impact on the AmeriCorps program in the future.
AmeriCorps members are a vital asset to communities across Oregon and the nation. I ask readers to use the next few weeks as an opportunity to thank AmeriCorps members for their work, dedication and service in the community. After all, we pledged to “get things done for America – to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier.”