Thursday, February 17, 2011


So the budget needs some major help. Yes, I understand. Some things will need to be cut or pared down. Definitely.

However! We, and by we I mean our representatives in Congress, who are supposed to represent the PEOPLE, not the industries and interests, need to think very carefully about how to pare down the budget, because of the way it affects our people.

I see on facebook that people are signing a petition to save PBS and NPR. And you know, I like those programs. They're educational and interesting.

The House Republicans want to eliminate those, but they also want to cut AmeriCorps.

AmeriCorps isn't as trendy or as well-known as NPR or PBS. But AmeriCorps is a (huge) family of programs that make people's lives better. AmeriCorps quite literally makes the country better, on an individual and an institutional level.

I've talked about AmeriCorps here before, so I hope I don't have to preach to you about how it affected me. Suffice it to say that without AmeriCorps, I wouldn't be here today, in New York, after directly affecting at least 500 children, as well as volunteering in cities around the country.

Here's a great article whose title really sums up the issue: Show Me a Program that Does as Much as AmeriCorps. You should read the entire thing, but I want to highlight the last few paragraphs, because he's just perfectly captured the key point:

As one of the oldest threads in our national fabric, service shouldn’t be partisan issue, especially in a recession. The loss of AmeriCorps would do the most harm to vulnerable families and communities already struggling to weather the recession.

AmeriCorps instills the ethic of service in members, places them in community organizations that are desperate for resources, and charges them with tasks that provide critical resources and support to struggling Americans.

Just over a year ago, Congress voted to expand AmeriCorps to 250,000 members, based on the program’s overwhelmingly positive impact in helping build a stronger America. Since then, our economy has suffered, millions of Americans have lost their jobs, and the poverty rate is growing dangerously. This is a moment when we should be looking to grow AmeriCorps to help keep the nation strong.

Last week I finally emailed my Representative (for the first time ever!) in support of keeping AmeriCorps. I believe that the House has already debated the budget, but I'm not sure if they've voted yet.

Are you a person? Do you support other people having the best life they can? AmeriCorps helps.

Please, please share the power of AmeriCorps with your friends and family. Please contact your representatives in Congress and urge them to keep AmeriCorps running and making America a better place for all of her citizens.

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