Sending Office: Larson (CT), John B.
Currently, only one percent of the nation serves in either the armed forces or through a formal service program, like AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps. For a nation of 320 million citizens, that is not enough. A republic like ours cannot thrive if we continue
to defer to the few, that which is the responsibility of the many.
While the sacrifices made by our military members and their families are beyond compare, national and community service should become a universal opportunity for all Americans. And, the organizations that support service programs deserve the federal government’s
unwavering support and investment in our collective future.
Seven years have passed since Congress enacted the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. It plotted the course to set the nation on a path to achieve 250,000 AmeriCorps volunteers by 2017. However, Congress has fallen short on this promise. For example, in
2011, over 500,000 young people applied to take part in the AmeriCorps programs, but due to a lack of funding and resources, over 80 percent of applicants were turned away. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which directs the federal
service programs (AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and others ) as well as AmeriCorps-partnered groups (Habitat for Humanity, Teach for America, YouthBuild and City Year) have made service possible for thousands of people, but clearly we need to do much more to allow
Americans to take advantage of service opportunities.
A survey by the Franklin Project showed that 80 percent of respondents would support a system of voluntary national service that provided incentives such as a living allowance and an educational award. Unfortunately, the lack of slots available in federal
national service programs, as well as the crushing burdens of student loan debt, it has become impossible for many to be able to serve. That is what the ACTION for National Service Act will change.
The ACTION for National Service Act will greatly expand the federal government’s commitment to service programs across the United States, strengthen the educational benefits offered to those who serve, and provide federal service programs
with enhanced funding to enable all those who wish to serve an opportunity to do so. I hope that you will join me in cosponsoring the ACTION for National Service Act. Please contact Owen Dodd in my office at 5-2265 or
email@example.com if you have any questions or would like to become a cosponsor.
JOHN B. LARSON
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