National Service News: We Are One American Family

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USCG Air Station Houston responds to search and rescue requests after Hurricane Harvey. (USCG Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Johanna Strickland)


We Are One American Family

The scenes of people caught in the path of Hurricane Harvey's flooding rains are heartbreaking to watch. Like all Americans, we are keeping the residents along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana in our thoughts and prayers. And we are inspired by those who are coming to the aid of those stranded by the floodwaters.

While the rescue and the recovery that follows this storm will continue for months and years to come, the images of our first responders, Coast Guard and National Guard service members, and ordinary citizen volunteers bringing their boats to join the effort reveals the heart of the American people.

"Always look for the helpers. There’s always someone who is trying to help." was a lesson that Fred Rogers (Yes, that Mister Rogers) said his mother told him to remember whenever he would encounter alarming stories in the news.

We need to remind ourselves of the basic kindness of our nation during times of crisis. 

"We see neighbor helping neighbor, friend helping friend and stranger helping stranger,” said President Trump on Monday. “We are one American family. We hurt together, we struggle together and believe me, we endure together."

It is part of our character as Americans that we bond and rise to the occasion to help our neighbors in need. It is who we are.

The Corporation for National and Community service is working closely with state officials in coordination with FEMA and our other federal partners. We have mobilized our AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams to allow them to respond as soon as it’s safe. Our FEMA Corps teams – part of AmeriCorps NCCC – are deploying, and Senior Corps volunteers will join this effort as well.

These teams provide expert manpower that supports the recovery effort: logistics, sandbagging, shelter operations, debris removal, home repairs, and volunteer management. The ultimate goal is to assist the communities with the short- and long-term effects of the storm – for as long as it takes. 

To learn more about how you can help by donating or volunteering to relief and recovery efforts, click and bookmark our Hurricane Harvey response page.

And keep looking for the helpers.

In service, 

CNCS Office of External Affairs

P.S. The above photo comes from the Coast Guard Air Station Houston during Hurricane Harvey search and rescue efforts on Aug. 27, 2017. It was taken by U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Johanna Strickland.

The Impact of National Service

24 AmeriCorps members and WCC staff deployed to Texas on Saturday to assist communities affected by Hurricane Harvey,

Heading to Houston

Pictured above are some of the 24 Washington Conservation Corps AmeriCorps members and staff who deployed to Texas on Saturday to assist communities affected by Hurricane Harvey. CNCS has placed more than 700 members of the AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team (A-DRTs) and FEMA Corps on standby to deploy at the request of the state and local managers. Since 2011, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs have responded to more than 200 federally declared disasters.

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Americorps members in prevention at Positive Alternatives Courtney Wagner, left, and Paige Reed put items into a Blessing Box.

Mini Pantry Offering Food, Personal Hygiene Products Set Up Near Menomonie Church, Elementary School (AmeriCorps)

A new small food shelf in Menomonie may well be a blessing for those in need of food or personal hygiene products. A Blessing Box has been set up outside Oak Ridge Lutheran Brethren Church, 620 24th Ave. W., just across the street from River Heights Elementary School. The Blessing Box, similar to a Little Free Library, is stocked with nonperishable food and personal care items, including first aid, free for anyone in need to take. UW-Stout seniors Courtney Wagner and Paige Reed set up the Blessing Box. They’re members of Positive Alternatives, which provides services for at-risk youth and their families in Dunn County and seven surrounding counties.

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Senior Corps Foster Grandparent tutors students at Oak Grove Elementary in Hillsborough County Florida.

Hillsborough County Program Connects Generations (Senior Corps)    

Enita Heyward has a large family: two children of her own, two others she raised, nine grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren. And then there are the 100 children at the Hillsborough County Head Start/Early Head Start Center, where she volunteers. Heyward, a 68-year-old Tampa resident, participates in the Foster Grandparent Program, a collaborative effort between the County and Seniors in Service of Tampa Bay. The program helps children in Head Start and Early Head Start who need individualized attention with life skills and other learning needs. "I sit down with them and help them write their names, teach them how to count, and learn their ABCs, and if they feel like drawing, I sit down with them to do that, too," says Heyward, who volunteers at the North Tampa Center. 

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