On April 1, 2014 mayors across the country will participate in the second annual Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service. On this day, mayors will hold public events and use traditional and social media to highlight the value and impact of national service to the nation’s cities. Last year, 832 Mayors representing nearly 100 million citizens participated in the inaugural Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service. The initiative is being led by the Corporation for National and Community Service; Cities of Service; the National League of Cities; and Mesa, AZ, Mayor Scott Smith, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Impact Alabama is pleased to showcase their SpeakFirst debate initiative, including the launch of a Birmingham middle school debate league, in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of AmeriCorps!
SpeakFirst: An Alabama Student Debate Initiative enriches the academic experience of gifted students from Birmingham area high schools through participation in an “all-star” debate team. This highly collaborative initiative addresses a wide array of needs created by the deficit of opportunities and resources in the students’ local communities. Impact’s first six graduating classes (24 students) have earned more than $3.4 million in college scholarships. SpeakFirst has also established incredible partnerships with The University of Alabama, UAB, and UAHuntsville. Each of these institutions has committed to providing, in perpetuity, full, four-year academic scholarships, including tuition and fees, to Birmingham school students who complete at least three years of SpeakFirst.
AmeriCorps State Programs in Alabama are now well into their service year across the state, but over the past 12 months AmeriCorps members in these organizations have served thousands of Alabama residents. Here are a few service highlights.
In 2013, Serve Alabama AmeriCorps State programs succeeded in meeting many goals and milestones. The AmeriCorps Instructional Support Team (AIST) AmeriCorps members located in Butler County exceeded their goal of non-AmeriCorps volunteer service hours by 4,604 hours. Non-AmeriCorps volunteers were expected to serve 4,400 service hours, but served a total of 9,004 service hours in 2013.
Impact Alabama AmeriCorps State Team began their SpeakFirst middle school initiative, which is an extracurricular debate program for sixth, seventh and eighth grade students in Birmingham City schools. During the inaugural fall 2013 season over 80 students from six Birmingham City middle schools competed in three tournaments.
Photo above: Impact Alabama SpeakFirst Initiative
Celebrating Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s life of service, Birmingham READS AmeriCorps continues empowering children through reading. READS members hosted their 4th Annual Martin Luther King Jr Literacy Celebration for the 300+ students served by Birmingham READS members. The day was filled with fun activities for the students, story time, plus each student was given a book to start their own personal library; which will help serve the students far beyond the MLK Day of Service.
2013-2014 AmeriCorps Instructional Support Team members make Paracord “Survival” Bracelets for their MLK Day project.
For several weeks leading up to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service, Teach for America teachers throughout Alabama taught their students about the value of service and specifically about the service of our military. Students from across the state wrote letters to active duty service men and women. Our goal was to have 1,000 letters to send to our troops to show our love, support, and appreciation for the sacrifices they make every day to keep us safe.
Alabama State AmeriCorps programs participate in “A Day On, Not A Day Off” National Day of Service across our state.
Kicking off tax season in Birmingham and Montgomery today for the #MLKDay of service! @ServeAlabama #americorps #SaveFirst - @ImpactAlabama