2006.07.31: July 31, 2006: Headlines: Americorps: Congress: Budget: Speaking Out: Buffalo News: The House Appropriations subcommittee has approved a $60 million cut in Americorps

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Peace Corps Library: Americorps: January 23, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: Americorps : 2006.07.31: July 31, 2006: Headlines: Americorps: Congress: Budget: Speaking Out: Buffalo News: The House Appropriations subcommittee has approved a $60 million cut in Americorps

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The House Appropriations subcommittee has approved a $60 million cut in Americorps

The House Appropriations subcommittee has approved a $60 million cut in Americorps

AmeriCorps has long served as a safety net in our country, filling in the gaps where there are the greatest needs. Without a safety net, what or who will be there to help these communities back on their feet? Take a stand; don't allow this service movement to wither into non-existence.

The House Appropriations subcommittee has approved a $60 million cut in Americorps

If AmeriCorps loses, everyone in WNY loses

Communities nationwide are in danger, because AmeriCorps is once again in crisis. AmeriCorps, the program that stands for communities, for the American people, for helping our neighbors, for access to higher education and for helping our environment, has been threatened. The House Appropriations subcommittee has approved a $60 million cut in federal funding for the nation's largest national service program, a cut that threatens to severely limit, or even close, AmeriCorps programs around the country.

Known as the domestic Peace Corps, AmeriCorps programs have engaged more than 1.5 million volunteers in service nationwide, helping to meet critical needs in education, public safety, health, the environment and disaster response each year. Federal cuts will reduce the number of members throughout the country and lessen the impact they have in their communities.

Currently, Western New York AmeriCorps has 400 members performing more than a million hours of service. These members are involved in tutoring and mentoring inner-city students, building low-income housing, restoring community centers, caring for senior citizens, delivering food to area pantries and protecting our urban and rural environments. Some members have traveled to Louisiana and Mississippi to help rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. The proposed cuts would jeopardize all of these programs and translate to immense loss of services to those who need them most.

Not only will this budget cut hurt the people and areas AmeriCorps supports and sustains, but it will also drastically affect AmeriCorps members. Along with the overall reduction in program funding, Congress also voted to reduce by $650,000 the educational award for members who successfully complete 1,700 hours of service.

Despite ever-rising education costs, the amount of the education stipend has remained stagnant throughout AmeriCorps' 13-year history. The few pennies the government will save by the proposed cut will not only make college and graduate school an even heftier financial burden for young people, but it will send the wrong message about the importance of national service in this country and devalue the hard work of AmeriCorps members.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that volunteerism is on the rise across the nation, with 65 million volunteers donating the equivalent of $150 billion in services per year. Western New York is one of the wealthiest communities when it comes to the spirit and willingness of people to volunteer, and AmeriCorps plays a big role in mobilizing these volunteers throughout the area.

AmeriCorps has long served as a safety net in our country, filling in the gaps where there are the greatest needs. Without a safety net, what or who will be there to help these communities back on their feet? Take a stand; don't allow this service movement to wither into non-existence.

Mark P. Lazzara is executive director of West Seneca Youth Bureau/AmeriCorps.

When this story was posted in September 2006, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
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Senator Chris Dodd (RPCV Dominican Republic) spoke at the ceremony for this year's Shriver Award and elaborated on issues he raised at Ron Tschetter's hearings. Dodd plans to introduce legislation that may include: setting aside a portion of Peace Corps' budget as seed money for demonstration projects and third goal activities (after adjusting the annual budget upward to accommodate the added expense), more volunteer input into Peace Corps operations, removing medical, healthcare and tax impediments that discourage older volunteers, providing more transparency in the medical screening and appeals process, a more comprehensive health safety net for recently-returned volunteers, and authorizing volunteers to accept, under certain circumstances, private donations to support their development projects. He plans to circulate draft legislation for review to members of the Peace Corps community and welcomes RPCV comments.

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The Peace Corps Library is now available online with over 40,000 index entries in 500 categories. Looking for a Returned Volunteer? Check our RPCV Directory or leave a message on our Bulletin Board. New: Sign up to receive our free Monthly Magazine by email, research the History of the Peace Corps, or sign up for a daily news summary of Peace Corps stories. FAQ: Visit our FAQ for more information about PCOL.

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Story Source: Buffalo News

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Americorps; Congress; Budget; Speaking Out


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