Last Friday, I attended Save the Service at my Senator’s District Office.  I was not sure what to expect, except that when I signed up it said that 65 other community members were attending.  However, when I arrived I was one of five supporters of the movement to save service that showed up to visit Senator Marco Rubio’s office for Service Nation’s District Day.  Even though we were small in numbers, we were big and strong with our message.  We, each a staff member of a local non-profit attending Save the Service on our own time, were truly able to be heard as there were only five of us.  It was somewhat of an intimate setting as we each got to share our voice with one of Senator Rubio’s staff members.  We also were able to exchange contact information and will be writing a comprehensive email explaining our words in greater detail.  It was a pleasure to meet fellow non-profit members all serving a great cause here in South Florida and all ultimately working towards the same mission of positive social change.  We had a discussion about the need for collaboration among the South Florida non-profit community.  We decided that it began today, between us five and that we would stay in touch and try to spread our wings with other organization’s staff that we must be passing right by on a daily basis.  I felt the day went as well as it could, given that we had a small turn out.  It  was definitely clear that South Florida has a lot of work to do in joining together and really voicing the importance of AmeriCorps.
In regards to AmeriCorps, as I shared the impact that funding cuts would have on us.  I also listened to the destruction it would cause for my counterparts and their programming.  After hearing the pleas of other leaders from local organizations, it only became more apparent how crucial AmeriCorps funding is for the operation of programming directly in South Florida and across the board in the United States.  I shared with my district office that it is not only about the money that AmeriCorps provides, but what that money goes towards and the return of investment our nation is receiving.  The reputation of AmeriCorps is what drives and attracts the incredible individuals that go out into each and every one of our communities to help make our world, right in our back door, a better place.  The citizens that dedicate their lives to service are dedicated, passionate, educated, and qualified people that would never be able to commit to such positions without the help of funded programs like AmeriCorps.  I myself am an AmeriCorps member and without their funding for my fellowship would not be able to be such a big part of Strong Women, Strong Girls.  Here in South Florida Strong Women, Strong Girls has twenty-nine AmeriCorps members in which our programming relies on.  Twenty-eight members are college students who would not be able to engage in this opportunity to reach out as mentors to young girls.  By dedicating their service these 28 college women will mentor 350 energetic, elementary school girls by the end of the fiscal year.  AmeriCorps is a key factor in our organization’s ability to reach the large amount of girls in the wide spread locations in South Florida that we are currently able to.  If AmeriCorps funding were to tragically get cut Strong Women, Strong Girls would struggle greatly and face many setbacks in our efforts to maintain and expand extensive programming.  In addition to Strong Women, Strong Girls, our partners, our community leaders, and our fellow mission driven organizations will have eminent difficulties running their programs effectively without the current support that AmeriCorps and its members provide our local communities and our nation day in and day out.  If we truly want to save our service we have a lot more effort that need to be made in attempt to keep AmeriCorps funding alive and well!
Participation in Save the Service Day, writing this blog and additional related activities were and will continue to be completed on personal time, at my own expense, and on my own initiative.  No service or trainings hours towards an education award were or will be received while completing these activities. No AmeriCorps service gear was or will be worn while completing these activities.