Contact: Elyse V. Walter
More than 47,000 Michigan residents of all ages and backgrounds are helping to meet local needs, strengthen communities, and increase civic engagement through national service programs (AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve, and Senior Corps) in the state. Their efforts have assisted countless individuals and organizations and helped to place Michigan on its road to recovery.
Early Saturday morning, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, a bill that would immediately cut $61 billion from the federal budget and eliminate funding for programs of the Corporation for National and Community Service; including AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Learn and Serve. It passed 235-189. The bill is part of a Continuing Resolution that will fund the last seven months of Fiscal Year 2011.
The bill has been sent to the Senate for their consideration, and the Senate and the President will have opportunities to shape and influence the final spending package.
"Michigan would be greatly affected by the elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service," said Paula Kaiser VanDam, executive director of the Michigan Community Service Commission, the agency that administers AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve programs in the state. "Schools and organizations in communities across the state would be unable to address critical issues with the loss of individuals who participate in national service programs."
Michigan receives more than $28 million to support national service efforts.
In Michigan, more than 1,700 individuals are currently serving with AmeriCorps and providing intensive, results-driven service to meet education, environmental, health, economic, and other pressing needs in communities across the state. They serve with 350 different organizations, representing all 83 counties in the state; including homeless providers/housing agencies, Detroit Public Schools buildings, Grand Rapids Public Schools buildings, Red Cross chapters, Habitat for Humanity Affiliates, community health centers, Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies, and countless others. AmeriCorps provides a pathway to employment for more than 1,700 Michiganians by providing them with skills training and professional development opportunities. The education award members receive also makes college more affordable or allows individuals to pay off qualified student loans.
More than 11,000 seniors in Michigan are serving with 55 Senior Corps projects and are acting as one-on-one tutors and mentors to disadvantaged youth; helping homebound seniors and adults maintain their independence; and conducting safety patrols for local police departments, protecting the environment, responding to natural disasters, and providing other services. Volunteers receive a small stipend ($2.65 an hour) which allows many low-income seniors to afford prescriptions, heating bills, and other necessities.
There are also more than 34,000 Michigan students engaged in service linked to academic learning and the development of civic skills through 25 Learn and Serve programs. Their efforts strengthen communities, improve academic engagement, and prepare young people for a lifetime of responsible citizenship.
For more information on national service in Michigan, visit http://www.mnaonline.org/servicefunding.aspx.
The Michigan Community Service Commission builds a culture of service by providing vision and resources to strengthen communities through volunteerism. In 2010-2011, the MCSC is granting nearly $9 million in federal funds to local communities for volunteer programs and activities. The MCSC is funding 26 AmeriCorps programs, 25 Learn and Serve programs, and seven Volunteer Michigan grantees. The Governor's Service Awards and Mentor Michigan are also premier programs of the MCSC. The MCSC is housed in the Michigan Department of Human Services, whose mission is to assist children, families, and vulnerable adults to be safe, stable, and self-supporting. The Corporation for National and Community Service grants the federal funding the MCSC administers.