Posts Tagged ‘Recognition’

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In Celebration of AmeriCorps Week

March 11, 2013

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AmeriCorps: Service, Sacrifice, and Solutions

The post was originally published on the White House Blog on March 11, 2013. Jonathan Greenblatt is Special Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation at the Domestic Policy Council.

Each generation of Americans embraces the belief that no problem is too big for a determined group of people to conquer. This challenge is central to national service, which gives thousands of Americans a chance to unite with like-minded people and work toward improving the lives of our most-vulnerable citizens.

Each year, we take time to honor this American tradition of service as we mark AmeriCorps Week.

During this week, March 9– 17, we saluteAmeriCorps members and alums for their service, thank AmeriCorps community partners, and communicate AmeriCorps’ impact on communities and on the lives of those who serve.

Since 1994, more than 800,000 AmeriCorps members have contributed more than 1 billion hours in service to others across America. Currently, more than 75,000 AmeriCorps members are touching the lives of millions as they tackle challenges that improve lives, strengthen communities, expand economic opportunity, and bolster civic and faith-based organizations.

AmeriCorps may be one of America’s best assets, with members making an impact through organizations such as the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Public Allies, and Teach for America. In addition, AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) and VISTA, the longtime anti-poverty program, are transforming communities every day.

Service is a proven solution for our nation whether national service members are providing disaster relief and recovery services in the AmeriCorps NCCC and its FEMA Corps unit; enhancing educational outcomes through teaching, tutoring, or mentoring efforts; or supporting veterans and military families with re-entry and employment services.

The following are just a few examples of how AmeriCorps members are “working for America”:

  • In the past year, I met with and witnessed the work of the more than 2,400 AmeriCorps members who participated in relief and recovery efforts for Hurricane Sandy. Disasters require an immediate response to needs in the immediate aftermath of the storm as well as longer-term recovery efforts that benefit storm survivors.
  • More than 17,000 veterans have served in AmeriCorps since its inception, helping other veterans and military families get benefits and services; obtain job training and conduct job searches; provide safe and affordable housing; and mentor and tutor children of service members.
  • The Department of Education and the Corporation for National and Community Service recently announced the formation of the School Turnaround AmeriCorps, a new program that will support a dedicated unit of national service members who will provide additional support and resources in the nation’s persistently underachieving schools.

Service initiatives like AmeriCorps do more than move communities forward; they serve their members by creating jobs and providing pathways to opportunity for young people entering the workforce. AmeriCorps places thousands of young adults into intensive service positions where they learn valuable work skills, earn money for education, and develop an appreciation for citizenship.

AmeriCorps is a program that’s right for the times in which we live and demonstrates what happens when our nation invests in “getting things done.”

To find out about national service opportunities in Southern Nevada, contact Jacob Murdock at jacobm@uwsn.org or 702-892-2321.  For a national search of AmeriCorps opportunities, check out the National Service website.

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Teen Volunteer Recognition- Deadline April 1st!

February 28, 2013

NGAGE is a program designed to encourage and recognize volunteerism among Clark County high school students.

As part of United Way of Southern Nevada’s NGAGE: Next Generation Actively Gaining Experience program, Clark County teens will be recognized for their outstanding service to the community through volunteerism this April.  High school students from around Clark County who regularly volunteer in their community are encouraged to be a part of this recognition program.  Students who have volunteered 100 hours or more between April 2012-March 2013 will receive special recognition at the annual recognition celebration at The Fashion Show mall on April 18th.  Graduating seniors will earn a special community service graduation cord.

Check out information about NGAGE on 8 News Now’s Community Pride website.

Do you know a teen volunteer who deserves recognition for their contributions to the community?  Encourage them to sign up for NGAGE!  The deadline to submit volunteer hours for this year is APRIL 1st at 5pm.  To sign up for NGAGE and download the timesheet, click here.  

Questions?  Email Blythe at United Way of Southern Nevada.

NGAGE is sponsored by United Way of Southern Nevada; Clark County School District; 8 News Now and their Community Pride Partners:  NV EnergyFindlay Automotive Group and Greenman, Goldberg, Raby and Martinez; and The Fashion Show mall.

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In Recognition of AmeriCorps Volunteers

August 24, 2012
It’s fair to assume that we are all like-minded. Everyone either works or volunteers for a cause or an organization making a difference. Our communities’ AmeriCorps members and alums have played integral roles in all of our work. You can say that the AmeriCorps members in the Las Vegas Valley are the work horses or the backbone of our sector. I like to think of them as the trailblazers that bring our organization fresh, temporary hands or ideas.

My VISTA position description was vague, like most. On the campus of UNLV for one year, I was tasked with creating partnerships and streamlining communication. I blazed the trail of community meetings, making presentations wherever I was invited, and forged ahead in creating networking groups where ones did not exist. I felt like my VISTA position was for me to craft, for me to meet problems head on and create solutions no one had thought of.

Ultimately, I may have taken the term trailblazer too literally after my own assignment as an AmeriCorps VISTA. I actually lead walks on trails often. Shortly after my assignment ended, I was hired to lead a volunteer program with the Outside Las Vegas Foundation (OLVF), a local group that connects southern Nevada residents to our beautiful outdoor resources.

The network the AmeriCorps program creates in a community is probably more important than the work done by members individually. I don’t mean network here as the dirty word that everyone uses as a verb to hand out their business card. I mean network in the capacity of connecting ourselves to each other through various affinities and interests.

For example, I was hired by the OLVF because of my experience with the VISTA program and, upon attending the first board meeting, I ran into a member, another VISTA alum, and was greeted with open arms. That’s the network I’m talking about.

During my first month of my postion following my VISTA term, I contacted Robin and Jacob [at United Way of Southern Nevada’s Volunteer Center] about when, not if, when, I could host a VISTA. Knowing that the possibility of working with someone who had the same affinity for this community and that trailblazing attitude to think outside the box was exactly the type of person that my organization needed.

That’s exactly what we got in our first VISTA member: someone willing to ask the tough questions about why we do what we do, if we’ve been using our resources best, or if there was an alternative way to do things. Let’s face it, most of us are stuck inside the box. These are tough questions that staff won’t ask themselves. It’s that new fresh look that we need in our organizations and our communities. Because of this, the OLVF is now blazing trails, figuratively too, into new focus areas and creating new connections that will align ourselves more with the VISTA program and other community initiatives.

Knowing that this volunteer would be around to ask these questions and want to leave a mark are a few reasons why being a VISTA supervisor may be more fun than being a VISTA. Having been through the experience, I was ready to handle the questions and the creative ideas that come along with members that start in the position after the enthusiastic pre-service orientation.

The flexibility and optimism that the AmeriCorps program brings to our organizations are simply invaluable. We all apply to be a host site and quickly realize that as much as we train a new person in nonprofit skills or capacity building, that same person is teaching us about the way that we do our work and the ever-changing community around us. We are all a part of this network. Our strength lies in numbers, shared experience, and  passion.

With that, to alum: I want you to remember the pride that you feel as someone who is part of something greater than them. I want you to take that feeling and continue as you step into your next stage of career. Whether you work for a nonprofit, start your own philanthropic or charitable effort, or work for any one of the businesses in this town, the connections that you’ve made to Las Vegas and to others are ones that you should keep. Know that this network can help you. We need more active citizens like you to create a better community as we grow, as we recover, as we continue the work that you’ve done. To supervisors: let’s help them pave the way, give them skills to lead, and allow them room to take over when it’s their time.

(written by Rae Lathrop, the Outside Las Vegas Foundation)

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2012 NGAGE Recognition Ceremony

May 3, 2012
On May 2 at Fashion Show, 93 students from 27 high schools were honored by United Way of Southern Nevada’s Volunteer Center for serving their communities.  Combined, the participants volunteered over 12,000 hours between April 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012!  NGAGE (Next Generation Actively Gaining Experience) is a program designed by UWSN’s Volunteer Center to both encourage and recognize the outstanding service of high school students in their communities.  To register for the NGAGE program, click here.
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Youth Volunteer Recognition Ceremony

March 30, 2012

NGAGE (Next Generation Actively Gaining Experience) wrapped up its first year of service hour submissions on April 1, 2012. The program is open to all high school students in southern Nevada who participate in community service. A recognition ceremony for these participants will be held at Fashion Show in May.

For more information on the NGAGE program, click here.  To schedule a presentation at your school or community organization for the next year of service, please contact TiegenK@uwsn.org.