AmeriCorps CEO Tours National Service Projects in California
Michael D. Smith announced new Public Health AmeriCorps investments, honored Bay Area volunteers and NCCC Pacific Region team and toured AmeriCorps sites
WASHINGTON, D.C.– Michael D. Smith, AmeriCorps CEO, visited California on June 27 through June 30 to meet with local leaders, present the President’s Volunteer Service Lifetime Achievement Awards, speak at the Commonwealth Club and honor an AmeriCorps NCCC Pacific Region team who recently completed its service year.
On Tuesday, June 28, Smith met with AmeriCorps members serving through the VISTA program with Safe Passages in Oakland for a member roundtable and site tour. Smith, joined by Oakland Unified School District Elementary Network superintendent Leroy Gaines, Safe Passages CEO Josefina Alvarado Mena and Safe Passages board chair Colin Lacon, gave remarks at an event hosted by AmeriCorps to announce a nearly $300,000 Public Health AmeriCorps grant for Safe Passages. This program grant is one of the many ways AmeriCorps is investing in health education and support for organizations across California.
Smith then joined Impact Justice’s vice president Aishatu Yusuf and regional manager Mel Flanagan for a roundtable discussion. Impact Justice is a national innovation and research center advancing new ideas and solutions for justice reform. During the roundtable, AmeriCorps members and Impact Justice staff shared their personal experiences with reintegration after incarceration and discussed the organization’s justice reform mission.
AmeriCorps and the Giants Community Fund, the official nonprofit organization of the San Francisco Giants, hosted a philanthropy roundtable and awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Lifetime Achievement Awards to three area women who have served thousands of hours with Safe Passages during a home plate ceremony before the Giants and Detroit Tigers MLB game.
On Wednesday, June 29, Smith spoke with program directors and staff from several AmeriCorps national and VISTA sponsors, including Playworks, Reading Partners, and Public Health Institute. Leaders from each organization and AmeriCorps program each shared recruitment and COVID-19 response models that have been effective for their programs.
In the evening, Smith and Josh Fryday, chief service officer for California Volunteers, led a discussion about how national service can evolve to help build a more just and equitable future at an event hosted by Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco.
On Thursday, June 30, Smith, Congressman Ami Bera (CA-07), Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06), Bureau of Land Management branch chief Karen Montgomery, and AmeriCorps NCCC director Ken Goodson gave remarks about the achievements of NCCC class 28A in a graduation ceremony at the AmeriCorps NCCC Pacific Region campus in McClellan Park, Calif. During the graduation ceremony, Smith and Montgomery also renewed the Memorandum of Understanding between AmeriCorps and the California Bureau of Land Management.
Smith then met with the CEO and staff from Improve Your Tomorrow, an organization that helps increase the number of young men of color attending and graduating from colleges and universities. Smith and Improve your Tomorrow leaders listened to AmeriCorps members’ experiences and stories of working with students in historically underserved communities.
Smith concluded his trip with a site visit to The Child Abuse Prevention Center, a national advocacy and resource center dedicated to protecting children and building healthy families. Smith, President and CEO Sheila Boxley, as well as other organization leaders also hosted a roundtable with AmeriCorps members who support family care through home visitation, nurturing parenting, family resource centers, academic enrichment and foster youth mentoring initiatives.