New from ORE: Senior Corps Research, Economic Opportunity Brief, Grantee Spotlight

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Corporation for National and Community Service

April 2019

New Research from Senior Corps: Volunteering Is Good for Seniors’ Health

Research shows that volunteering is good for the health and well-being of volunteers. But for older Americans with low-incomes and lower levels of education, a group especially at risk for poor health outcomes, many obstacles can make it difficult to volunteer.

As a result, these individuals may miss out on the health and well-being benefits of volunteering, and communities may miss out on the service these individuals provide.

A new independent report sponsored by Senior Corps and the CNCS Office of Research & Evaluation (ORE) on older adult volunteers offers some good news: Senior Corps provides the access, structure, and financial support for low income, at-risk Americans 55 and older to live happier, healthier lives while making a difference in their communities.

In fact, the research shows that Senior Corps volunteers feel healthier, less depressed, and more connected compared to those who do not volunteer regularly.

Visit to read the full report, issue brief, and more.

Improving the Evidence Exchange

CNCS would like your help conducting a user-focused test to evaluate and organize the Evidence Exchange, our digital repository of research, evaluation reports, and data. Over the next few weeks, we will be conducting a “card sorting” exercise – it takes about 15-30 minutes, and can be taken on your own time using a standard internet browser. Your feedback is important! If you are interested in participating, please email

Stay in Touch With ORE

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State of the Evidence: Economic Opportunity Brief

Through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and other programs, CNCS makes investments in vulnerable and at-risk individuals, families, and communities across the country, working with local partners to solve their most pressing challenges and improve the economic well-being of those served. The evidence-based programs employ a variety of models including sectoral or industry-based skills training, soft skills training, establishing relationships with employers, and other employment and income supports for participants. Other supports can include job placement, post-employment counseling, career advancement coaching, financial literacy training, remediation, and assistance.

Learn more about how CNCS-funded interventions are promoting economic opportunities nationwide in the new Effective CNCS-Funded Economic Opportunity Programs Evidence Brief.

Grantee Spotlight: Understanding Through Photovoice

Members of the ORE team recently traveled with NCCC partners and Nevada Volunteers to Reno, Nevada to meet with 2018 Community Conversations grantees Dr. Jennifer Willet and Dr. Mary Hylton. Youth Scientists from Hug and Sparks High Schools, both Title I schools, are working with our grantees at the University of Nevada and their graduate students using Photovoice as a method to better understand the impact of natural and human made disasters on people experiencing homelessness in their community.

The Youth Scientists engaged a panel of formerly homeless people to understand the issue better, and collected photographic data from all over Reno. They engaged in a lively discussion with their team as they presented a series of photographs and their interpretation for the visitors. Meanwhile, CNCS and Nevada Volunteers staff also conducted a well-received and informative session on National Service Programs, like AmeriCorps VISTA and NCCC, to both upperclassmen at the University of Nevada and the high school students.

Finally, the ORE and NCCC teams brainstormed with University of Nevada grantees about potential NCCC projects, such as improving walkability of the Sun Valley neighborhood, where many students live, and assigning mentorship teams to the local high schools to improve graduation and college attendance rates. The visit was informative, exciting, and an example of how we can connect research projects with CNCS national service programs.

Building Service: A Look Back at the 2017 CNCS Evidence-based Intervention Planning Grants (Part 3)

In 2017, ORE funded seven grantees under AmeriCorps State and National’s (ASN’s) Evidence-based Intervention Planning Grants. These grantees were the first cohort to receive such grants and were assigned program officers representing ASN and ORE. As part of our three-part blog series, we’ve shined a light on how the 2017 cohort of grantees develop their own national service programs with a focus on evidence and evaluation. Throughout this journey, we’ve taken a deeper dive into our grantee’s program development, challenges, how they overcame obstacles, and the research they’ve uncovered along the way.

By now, all the grantees’ planning periods have come to a close. For some, program development will carry on through continued efforts, while others have compiled their findings, which provide valuable guidance for other organizations seeking similar types of grants. With that, we conducted a final follow up with the grantees to hear about their latest program development updates, overall experience with their grants, and what’s next. Check out the third and final installment in the blog series.

Check out All Three Webinars from ORE’s Scaling Series

CNCS is interested in scaling evidence-based programs and using national service to bring effective solutions to communities in need. One way ORE has documented this work is through a three-part webinar series. Part 1 of this scaling webinar series, titled Using Evidence for Scaling Community-Based Interventions That Work, took place in June 2018. During this webinar, CNCS staff provided agency background and vision for this initiative and researchers from Mathematica Policy Research discussed the framework and process that CNCS has been using for this work. This fall, we hosted part 2 of this series, The Power of National Service: Improving Children’s Literacy Outcomes, which highlighted the findings from the impact evaluations of the Minnesota Reading Corps Program and Wisconsin Reading Corps Program.

In February, we hosted part 3 of the series, Perspectives from the Field/Grantee Experiences, to highlight CNCS grantees’ experiences and efforts to scale community-based interventions and the broader implications of this work. Following an overview presentation by CNCS staff, a panel of grantees from Reading Partners, College Possible, Reading & Math, Inc., Playworks, and Citizen Schools came together to discuss their experiences and practices with evidence building and scaling.

Recordings and presentation materials from all three webinars are now available on our webinars page.

What’s New on the Evidence Exchange            

Check out some of the new resources added to the Evidence Exchange:

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