Mayor’s Office

Mayor Miro Weinberger Honors AmeriCorps and Other Service Members during First-Ever Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 9, 2013
Contact:  Mike Kanarick
                  802.735.7962

Mayor Miro Weinberger Honors AmeriCorps and Other Service Members and Highlights Value of National Service during First-Ever Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger today honored AmeriCorps and other service members and highlighted the value of their national service to the Burlington community during a Mayor’s Office event.  Weinberger joined more than 800 mayors from around the nation offering similar recognition of their cities’ service members during the first-ever Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service, a nationwide, bipartisan effort to:

  • Recognize the positive impact of national service on our cities;
  • Thank AmeriCorps and Senior Corps participants who serve; and
  • Encourage citizens to give back to their communities.    

“I am grateful for the dedication and sacrifice of Burlington’s AmeriCorps members, who are helping make our great City stronger, safer, and healthier,” said Weinberger.  “National service demonstrates the best of the American spirit – people turning toward problems instead of away, working together to find community solutions.  Today, as we thank national service members for their commitment, let us all pledge to do our part to strengthen our City through service and volunteering.”

The nation’s mayors increasingly are turning to national service and volunteerism as a cost-effective strategy to tackle City challenges.  Key partners in Burlington’s service efforts include:

  • The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through AmeriCorps and other programs; and
  • SerVermont, a State of Vermont commission that administers funding to the State’s AmeriCorps National service programs, AmeriCorps*VISTA program, and promotes, supports, and recognizes volunteerism and community service throughout Vermont.

Joining Weinberger at today’s event were: AmeriCorps members past and present; Hal Colston, SerVermont executive director; Beth Truzansky, Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO) We All Belong (WAB) AmeriCorps Program director; Samantha Stevens, VNA Family Room co-director; Phelan Fretz, ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center executive director; and Tom Longstreth, ReSOURCE executive director.

“National service is fundamental to being an American,” said Colston.  “As economic capital continues to shrink, solving the many social needs that our communities face may best be done through service.  Encouraging our citizens to give back through national service will create healthier communities for all.”

The City of Burlington has engaged in national service for more than 20 years to make our City stronger.  Beginning in 1992 and continuing to today, CEDO has managed national service resources to address our City’s toughest challenges, including poverty and racism.  CEDO launched the WAB program in 2008 with a CNCS grant.  Today, the WAB program continues to work with 15 City departments, schools, and non-profits to create more inclusive workplaces and better serve Burlington's diversifying community. 

This year, the WAB AmeriCorps program has 11 members serving in participating agencies, including the VNA Family Room, ECHO, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington School District, YMCA, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, Local Motion, and CEDO.  In addition to the AmeriCorps members, WAB-participating agencies attend an intensive, year-long cultural competency training. 

“National service provides opportunities for the whole community,” said Truzansky, WAB director.  “Our City is stronger because of the service given by AmeriCorps volunteers.  Agencies are more collaborative and have more efficient systems thanks to the infusion of creative energy by AmeriCorps members, who are able to develop rich, professional experiences that often launch them into meaningful careers.” 

WAB is one of many national service programs running in Vermont  Others include Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, AmeriCorps*VISTA, Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition, YouthBuild, and the Vermont Youth Tomorrow Program at the Washington County Youth Services Bureau.  AmeriCorps members serve for one year and receive up to a $12,100 living stipend and a $5,530 education award that can be used to pay for future higher education or qualified school loans.  National service members are all ages and perform many different types of service, from physical labor and direct service with the community to behind-the-scenes help to get organizations to work more effectively.

Francine Serwili-Ngunga, WAB AmeriCorps alumna 2010-12 shared the following thoughts about her positive, national service experience:  “The time I served with the WAB AmeriCorps program opened my eyes and mind to new ways of thinking and behaving and gave me a new set of skills and strategies to better serve my community.  The experience made me feel much more energized and excited about becoming an involved leader in the many communities that live in our beautiful City of Burlington and State of Vermont.  More than anything, I will always be grateful to WAB, because that service brought back the hope that my children and all children can have a rewarding and fulfilling present and future life in this State. There is still a lot of work to be done, but I do know that there are enough people who care very much, and I do know that they will keep putting in the effort necessary to create an equitable and inclusive City and State, free of racism and all other forms of inequalities, prejudices, and oppressions.”

For more information about the City’s We All Belong AmeriCorps Program, please visit the CEDO website.

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Press Release Date: 
04/09/2013
City Department: 
Mayor's Office