AmeriCorps should be strengthened, not cut

March 27, 2011

As an alumna of AmeriCorps VISTA, I can speak firsthand about the benefits of the AmeriCorps program and why funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service should not be eliminated. The work of AmeriCorps members provides essential services to nonprofit organizations and communities they serve. This work supports local efforts to build and strengthen communities.

As a VISTA member, I worked for The Greater Homewood Community Corporation (GHCC) in Baltimore. I served as an education coordinator, working with seven Baltimore City public elementary and middle schools. GHCC provides vital community support to neighborhood schools, connecting schools with volunteers to provide services such as art and music lessons, after school programming, libraries and tutoring. Other VISTA members and I helped to coordinate volunteers, provided child care so that parents could attend PTA meetings, and participated in city-wide advocacy efforts to improve public schools.

It was a great learning experience as well as an opportunity to support community efforts. During these difficult economic times, this is the type of program that should be supported, not eliminated. Providing cost-effective ways to support the work of nonprofits in local communities is more important now than ever.

Gretchen Tome, Baltimore

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