On April 4th, 4,000 mayors and county leaders showed their support for National Service by attending events, issuing proclamations, and participating in service projects alongside their local AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members! In Virginia, 40 mayors and county leaders signed a national registry signifying their praise and support for the outstanding accomplishments of our National Service programs.
Just across the Potomac from our nation’s capital, National Service members and staff welcomed Arlington County Board Member John Vihstadt who issued a special proclamation celebrating National Service. He reflected on his own AmeriCorps VISTA experiences and encouraged current members to continue service to the community. Mr. Vihstadt joined representatives from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) for a tour and overview of Arlington Works! and Aspire! Afterschool Learning AmeriCorps programs. CNCS’ Cindy Salavantis, Samson Girma, Eileen Conoboy, David Hughes, Tess Mason-Elder, and Kellie Mattingly had the opportunity to chat with REEP students and Arlington Neighborhood College graduates about the impact of the program to their lives.
Following the day of information and tours, Aspire! Afterschool Learning hosted an event at Barcroft Park, where students, AmeriCorps members and staff did some spring cleaning and trash removal. The day also marked a program milestone for Aspire! with the program contributing more than 100,000 hours of service to Arlington since 2009! Students and families heard from Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy who commended the group for committing their lives to serving others. The group was joined by REEP and EduFuturo program students and members, as well as Arlington County Board Member Katie Cristol, elementary school principals, and members of Aspire!'s board. The day ended with a BBQ dinner at Barcroft Park.
Just two hours’ south in the Virginia’s capital city of Richmond, Mayor Levar Stoney, Henrico County Deputy Manager Tim Foster, and Virginia Delegate Delores McQuinn welcomed an excited crowd of 118 members. Mayor Stoney applauded the members saying, “Service is necessary . . . I know the power of those serving and without them, we would not be where we are today.” Deputy echoed the mayor’s remarks saying that AmeriCorps and Senior Corps are “vital to the Richmond area and are a cost effective strategy to challenges that don’t stop at county and city lines.” CNCS Chief Operating Officer Jeff Page and AmeriCorps Director Jennifer Bastress Tahmasebi (along with CNCS staff members Lori Giblin, Jerry Prentice, Steven Mazzola, Sueko Kumagai, and Andrea Bedenbaugh) were also on hand to cheer on and offer thanks to the members and staff serving at sites throughout central Virginia. Following the ceremony, more than 100 members and volunteers participated in service projects, including a large-scale cleanup project at historic Evergreen Cemetery. Members jumped into action clearing tree limbs and kudzu root to clear a large section of the cemetery.
In the picturesque town of Crewe, Mayor Greg Eanes met with AmeriCorps members at Twin Lakes State Park and gave a history of the town and discussed some of the factors affecting its economic development and some cultural and socio-political aspects of small town life in Virginia. The Virginia State Parks AmeriCorps staff and members were then interviewed on the air by Steve Winn at the town’s historic WSVS radio station. The group then worked to clear a path in a new park area within the town. Coincidentally, the new park is located near an old baseball diamond built by the Civilian Conservation Corps!
In Southwest Virginia, Bob Martin, chairman of the Carroll County Board of Supervisors, met with 27 AmeriCorps members from the Lift Up AmeriCorps Tutoring Program. Mr. Martin expressed appreciation towards the tutors for their service in the Carroll County Schools and for the many hours of service in different community projects throughout the year. He elaborated on the effects that the tutors have on the students -- not just the academic success -- but the positive relationships that the tutors build with the students with whom they tutor. He also encouraged the AmeriCorps members to take advantage of the education award that they are earning while completing their 900 hours of service to further their college education in their field of interest.