At City Year, we are grateful to be a part of a movement that encourages everyone to take part in making a positive impact in their communities.
The opportunity to serve our country though national service is made possible by many—and it’s this collaboration that truly amplifies the impact of national service. From the support of the Corporation for National and Community Service and programs like AmeriCorps, to the thousands of eager Americans who pledge a year or more of their lives to help make a difference, we are truly honored give back to our community.
Here our five reasons why we are thankful for national service this Thanksgiving:
1. National service helps students graduate high school and prepare for college, careers and life.
AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members serve in nearly 12,000 public, parochial and public charter schools across the country. They play a vital role in helping improve education in some of the highest need schools in the country. City Year’s own 3,000+ AmeriCorps members are serving in a record 327 schools this year across 29 cities. And, they’re having measurable impact—a 2015 third-party study found that schools that partner with City Year were up to 2-3 times more likely to improve on math and English assessments.
2. National service is an investment that offers invaluable returns.
National service offers a 4 to 1 return on investment, including higher earnings increased output and other community-wide benefits.
Every federal dollar invested in AmeriCorps is matched by private and local sources, and many local programs match federal funds two, three and four to one. There is more than $1 billion this year alone in matching funds.
3. National service motivates others to pay it forward.
The spirit of national service continues long after the service has been completed. Beyond the immediate impact it provides, alumni of national service programs are more likely to report higher levels of civic engagement.
City Year alumni, for example, are 65% more likely to volunteer and 45% more likely to belong to a community group or civic organization after graduating from City Year when compared to other service-minded peers. National service transforms the career aspirations of those who serve, setting them on a path to tackle the most pressing problems facing our nation.
4. National service impacts millions of lives.
More than one million Americans have answered the call to serve since 1994. Imagine how many lives have been impacted!
This includes more than 25,000 AmeriCorps members who served 42 million hours providing one-on-one or small group tutoring throughout the school day, organizing afterschool programming, making connections with families on student progress and leading activities, celebrations and projects to improve the school and community as a whole.
5. National service brings together Americans from all walks of life under a common experience, in service to something greater than self.
One of City Year’s core values is “Service to A Cause Greater Than Self” because we believe in the personal decision to dedicate one’s time, energy and effort to a cause greater than oneself and to change the lives of others. As our CEO and Founder, Michael Brown explains, “National service can address pressing societal problems, unite diverse Americans, develop the next generation of leaders and strengthen the fabric of our democracy. It is in every way vital to the future of our nation.”