by Gary Bagley
What does the beginning of the school year mean to you? As you might suspect, at New York Cares we are launching education programs and improving better learning environments through New York Cares Day Fall. Another amazing educational experience launches in September that serves us as much as it serves its participants – a new class of AmeriCorps volunteers join our ranks.
At New York Cares, we believe that volunteering has the power to transform lives and communities. Nowhere is this ability to effect positive change more clearly embodied than in AmeriCorps volunteers.
AmeriCorps, run by the federal government’s Corporation for National & Community Service, is a national network of service programs throughout the United States. Each year, 75,000 individuals volunteer through AmeriCorps, many committing to serving full-time for a year.
Each year, nonprofit organizations and communities around the country benefit from the service of AmeriCorps volunteers. In the 2014 “I Will Get Things Done for America” report from CNCS (which marked the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps), over 900,000 AmeriCorps volunteers have provided critical services, volunteering 1.2 billion hours, to alleviate the effects of poverty and rebuild communities impacted by disasters across the United States since the program’s founding in 1994.
In “The Economic Value of National Service,” which you can find here, Clive Belfield estimates that every dollar invested in national service programs translates into nearly four dollars of value, through increased output of nonprofit organizations and other community benefits.
We at New York Cares know the impact of AmeriCorps volunteers well.
Volunteers from AmeriCorps and Civic Corps, a New York City AmeriCorps service year program run by NYC Service, allow us to pilot new programs, find and train volunteer team leaders, provide technical assistance to our community partners, and to expand our ability to address growing needs in education and immediate needs, like meal service.
You can expect to see growth in AmeriCorps members in New York City over the next several years, with the city recently announcing that it is seeking to launch seven to ten programs for several hundred volunteers this coming year. This “Expanding NYC Service Years” initiative seeks to double the number of service year volunteers in New York City.
I am proud to have been recently appointed as a board member to New York State Commission on National and Community Service by Governor Andrew Cuomo, so that I can do my part to advocate for these programs and ensure that New York continues to lead in innovative volunteer service programs.
Gary Bagley is the Executive Director of New York Cares.
NOTE: We are looking for NYC Civic Corps AmeriCorps members to serve from September 2016-July 2017 at New York Cares. These positions are being filled on a rolling basis, so apply now to be considered for a spot. Applications are available here.
Have comments, questions, or just want to be in the loop? Tweet him at @GBagley_NYCares