AmeriCorps CEO Tours National Service Projects in Florida
Michael D. Smith delivered message of unity at the annual Points of Light Conference, announced a grant for student success and honored a military veteran for volunteer service
ORLANDO, Fla. – Michael D. Smith, AmeriCorps CEO, visited Florida July 12 through 14 to attend the annual Points of Light Conference, present the President’s Volunteer Service Award, meet with local officials and visit local national service projects.
On Tuesday, July 12, Smith and City of Orlando officials met with AmeriCorps members serving at My Brother’s Keeper Orlando, a national initiative that addresses opportunity gaps faced by young men of color. AmeriCorps members and the city’s My Brother's Keeper program staff shared the impact of the local youth program, a 36-week curriculum to provide students with a safe space for individual and emotional growth, engage youth in safe programming to ensure future success, and encourage positive behavior outcomes by promoting service to others.
Smith then joined the America’s Service Commissions to discuss volunteer engagement with state service commission leaders and announce the 2023 Volunteer Generation Fund grants competition. Last year, Volunteer Generation Fund grants supported more than 171,000 volunteers at more than 5,800 nonprofit organizations. This year, the grant will prioritize volunteer engagement in support of the National Partnership for Student Success.
On Wednesday July 13, Smith gave remarks at the annual Points of Light Conference Business Summit, which focused on inspiring and uniting in service through storytelling. Smith shared his personal civic engagement and service story to drive action and motivate more Americans to take a more active role in their communities.
During the Points of Light Conference Service Summit Luncheon, Smith presented U.S. Navy veteran, Nicole Castillo, the President’s Volunteer Service Award for giving nearly 280 hours of service as a platoon leader with AmeriCorps grantee, The Mission Continues.
On Thursday, July 14, Smith ended his trip hosting a discussion with AmeriCorps members, AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers and the office of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer to discuss growing the impact of national service in the city. More than 50 AmeriCorps members and more than 350 AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers currently serve in projects around the city. Orlando has been part of the Johns Hopkins Cities of Service initiative since 2010 and was a finalist for the Cities of Service Engaged Cities Award for its Digital Service Academy in 2019. Currently, four AmeriCorps members in the VISTA program are serving with Orlando Cares, the City of Orlando’s Cities of Service program.
Since 1994, more than 810 Orlando residents have served approximately 1,200,000 hours through AmeriCorps, earning Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards totaling more than $2.8 million. Each year, more than 9,000 AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers of all ages and backgrounds unite to meet local needs, strengthen communities and expand opportunity at more than 1,300 locations in Florida. In 2021, AmeriCorps invested more than $35 million in federal funding to support cost-effective community solutions and work with local partners to empower individuals to help communities tackle their toughest challenges.