AmeriCorps members will be deployed to Delaware and locations across the country as part of a new partnership between the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the National Guard.
The partnership, announced today by CNCS CEO Wendy Spencer, and Brig. Gen. Marianne E. Watson, National Guard Bureau Director of Manpower and Personnel, is designed to strengthen National Guard support services by giving it access to AmeriCorps VISTA members for all 54 states and territories in the United States.
According to Spencer, the members will work with the Guard to provide services for guardsmen and their families at risk of homelessness, joblessness, or otherwise in need of economic stability assistance.
“National service has always been about applying America’s greatest resource – our citizens – as a solution to our nation’s greatest challenges,” said Spencer. “We are honored to join with the National Guard and leaders like those here in Delaware to honor our nation’s solemn obligation to the brave men and women who have served their country.”
Gen. Watson said that the assistance from AmeriCorps members will be a factor in addressing one of her growing concerns over the past few years: How to provide the education, employment and well-being needs of currently serving military, veterans, and their families.
“AmeriCorps members have the power to support our military members and their families at the state and local level with unprecedented ‘people-power,’” she said. “As our men and women in uniform return home, it is critical that we tap into this resource, align our efforts at the national, state and local levels, and capitalize on the AmeriCorps spirit of getting things done.”
In addition to their partnership with the National Guard, CNCS also announced that members of the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) will work with the Boys and Girls Club of Delaware to assist with the renovation and restoration of a former National Guard armory in the town of Smyrna. That location is now home to a Boys and Girls Club location that serves children and families associated with the military.
“As a 23-year veteran of the Navy, I understand the sacrifice our servicemen and women and their families make to protect and serve our country,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), who also attended the announcement. “This AmeriCorps program will put resources and support behind helping the folks who deserve our thanks. The program is a win-win for Delaware and our nation.”
“This partnership formalizes a collective power of people helping other people in need,” said Delaware Governor Jack Markell. ”This initiative offers all of us a unique way to meet the needs of military families who have already sacrificed so much for their country but find themselves, for whatever reason, struggling in their current circumstance. It will show how when we work together we can make a significant difference in the lives of other people.”
CNCS already had an established history of assisting the military before today’s announcement. Approximately 1.5 million veterans and military families were assisted by the work of AmeriCorps and SeniorCorps members last year. The AmeriCorps program, which sends individuals to locations across the country to aid in a variety of reconstruction projects, has also seen nearly 16,000 military members serve since the program’s inception.