Saturday, February 25, 2006

Heading to Lousianna soon


Well, we almost got a trail crew project (Oconee State Park, SC), but because things are so crazy with the proposed closure of NCCC, the administration at base has put us on another Disaster Relief project instead. After our debrief time in Charleston (we head back on the first of March), we'll be turning around and heading back to the Gulf Coast area--this time in Abbeville, LA where we will be working with the United Way in that area. At this time we have no idea what we'll be doing or how long we'll be there, but that's where we are headed! It's about 40 miles inland from the Gulf Coast, west of New Orleans.
To be honest, I'm bummed that we won't be spending time in the mountains hiking and enjoying the fresh air. However, I realize, even more so after being down here 5 weeks, the importance of relief projects and the need. This area has been so devestated and come June, they will all be holding thier breaths, waiting and watching to see if another hurricane will come through the area. I know I'll be paying closer attention, worrying about all my new friends that I've made in the area.
I'll let you know more as I can.

Tonight some of my team is headed out to Mobile to check out the Mardi Gras celebrations there. Did you know that Mobile was the first Mardi Gras location? True story.

Grace and Peace.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


If you want to join the efforts to save NCCC, you can go to this website and read about what is going on and how to get involved.

There is some really great information at this website. Please get involved!!!
Thanks. :)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Mardi Gras

I went to my first (and probably last) Mardi Gras in New Orleans this past weekend with some of my fellow AmeriCorps members. I never really had any inclination of attending, but I did enjoy myself. We spent Saturday night walking around Bourban St.--very interesting! I couldn't help but picture some scenes from John Grisham novels. :) We crashed at a couple's home that had volunteered here in Biloxi and they were great. They took in 10 of us and they had us sleeping in every possible place. It was a great sleepover. On Sunday, we went to see the parades which was very fun.
Honestly, I'm very glad I went. I probably won't ever be this close or have such a fun group to go with. It really comes down to who you go joke. :)
In other news, 10 more days here in Biloxi before we head back to Charleston. I've really enjoyed my time here, but I am getting a little weary of the tent. Actually, I think I caught a cold and I'm trying hard to fight it, but when there isn't much heat because the tents lose power in the middle of the night, there's not much you can do. :) I will miss being called "baby," I think. Everyone calls me baby here. It's a cultural thing and it's kinda fun.
More later.
Grace and Peace.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Saying Goodbye

Last night, my Grandma Rosemary went home to heaven.

They waited to take her of the ventilator until I was able to come and say goodbye. I'm so grateful that my team is in Biloxi right now, I might not have had that opportunity otherwise.

My parents and I waited down in the hospital chapel while they took her off the machine that was breathing for her...two nurses and the hospital chaplin were in the room with her. When they took her off the machine, she raised both of her hands, towards heaven, and then gently layed them back down. Then she was gone.

It was like she was reaching out for Jesus.

My Grandmother was a devoted, faithful, compassionate and loving woman. She will be dearly missed by everyone in my family and everyone who knew her.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement during this difficult time.
Grace and Peace.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The end of NCCC

Ever thought about joining AmeriCorps NCCC... well, you probably won't be able to:

Dear Colleagues:

A few minutes ago, the President released his budget request for fiscal year 2007. To continue our vital work to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering, the Administration has requested a FY 2007 budget for the Corporation of $851.5 million.

The proposed budget will enable the Corporation to support 75,000 AmeriCorps members, approximately 500,000 Senior Corps volunteers, and some one million Learn and Serve America participants. In addition, the budget will allow the Corporation's programs to mobilize and manage at least one million community volunteers, bringing to more than 2.5 million the total number of Americans engaged in community service
through our programs.

The President is committed to national service; he is also committed to controlling spending and reducing the deficit. That entails some hard choices for discretionary spending. The budget proposes elimination or significant reduction of 141 programs across the government, including the AmeriCorps*NCCC program within the Corporation for National and Community Service. In the FY 2007 budget, the Corporation has a reduction of 5.4 percent, which adds up to $48.5 million. More than half of that reduction comes from the proposed shut down of AmeriCorps*NCCC.

Our goal with this budget request is to sustain our ability to meet key strategic goals, continue savings through management improvements, and raise our level of service to our partners and grantees. In all of these areas, I believe we succeeded in this proposal.

Here is an overview of the Corporation's 2007 request:

For Senior Corps, this budget requests $217 million, a continuation of the enacted budget for FY 2006. There are no reductions to Senior Corps programs: RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) continues at the FY 06 enacted funding of $59.6 million; the Foster Grandparent Program will continue the 2006 funding of $110 million; and the Senior Companion Program will also hold steady at $46.9 million. The funding will support
more than 1,200 grantees and approximately 500,000 volunteers.

For AmeriCorps Grants and the National Service Trust combined, this budget requests $383.6 million. This level, when combined with the $95.4 million requested for AmeriCorps*VISTA and $13 million carried over from 2006, will support 75,000 members.

For AmeriCorps*NCCC, this budget requests only $4.9 million, which is intended to cover the cost of closing our campuses. This is a difficult decision, given the popularity of the program with our participants and partners, particularly in disaster response. However, the NCCC is costly compared to other AmeriCorps programs and was rated poorly in a recent Federal management assessment. The Corporation is committed to building up the rapid and flexible disaster recovery capacity of the NCCC within the rest of the national service portfolio.

The budget requests $34.1 million for Learn and Serve America, an eight percent decrease from the 2006 enacted budget of $37 million. We expect this budget to support the participation of about 1.2 million students in 1,500 local service-learning programs. In addition, this budget proposes $1.1 million for training and technical assistance, which will go to the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse. We are also proposing new funding of $400,000 for the Students in Service Initiative Support, which will promote the spread of service learning to more schools in America.

In this budget environment, the Corporation will be increasing its focus on management excellence, seeking cost savings and efficiencies wherever possible. In that regard, this request increases the program administration funds, largely for a one-time investment in information technology security upgrades and the consolidation of our administrative service centers, which will unfortunately mean the elimination of some staff positions. We believe, however, that these reforms will allow us to deliver a higher level of service at a lower cost over time.

The release of the President's budget is just the first step in a long journey. Next come appropriations hearings in the House and Senate later this spring, followed by committee mark-ups, floor consideration, conference committees, and more. I pledge to all of you that we will be open, transparent and quick to communicate with you as this situation develops. In that spirit, you will find our entire budget justification posted on the Corporation's website later today, after it is delivered to Congress.


David Eisner
CEO, Corporation for National and Community Service

My team and others are committed to fighting this decision... we will just have to wait and see what happens.