Federal funding for the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS), the agency that supports AmeriCorps, is currently slated for complete elimination from the federal government’s budget, but only accounts for a fraction of federal spending. That investment provides a vast return in needed services in under-resourced communities, civic engagement, career exploration for young people that prepares them to enter the workforce, and resources that enable those young people to pursue further education. Eliminating funding for AmeriCorps would cripple many major nonprofit and charitable organizations across the country, leaving a void that will not soon be filled.
AmeriCorps volunteers and the organizations who utilize their talents inspire a new kind of service to their country. We may not all be able to serve in the military, but if we expand the definition of service to country to include programs like AmeriCorps, we could provide every citizen with an opportunity to serve. Expanding these opportunities would create a new generation of civically engaged citizens, and the changes they make would be felt for generations to come.
Eliminating the funding for CNCS would save little in the federal budget, would strip nonprofit organizations of the capacity needed to serve their missions, and would leave a generation without the opportunity to serve their country. Serving as a VISTA volunteer eight years ago gave me valuable work experience and set me on a road to success. I urge our congressional representatives to support the continuation of funding for these opportunities for young people today.