National Days of Service
Who, What, When, Where, Why and How
You! As a Compact Service Corps AmeriCorps Member, part of the AmeriCorps pledge you took talks about “getting things done for communities.” That “getting things done” largely refers to your direct service placement with your school, hospital, clinic or nonprofit where you serve regularly. However, there are a special set of days set aside each year called National Days of Service that offer AmeriCorps Members opportunities to serve together collecting food for food banks, building playgrounds, beautifying communities, visiting the elderly, teaching the values of diversity and tolerance and all kinds of other great things that communities need. These one-time events help communities with important needs, give AmeriCorps Members important leadership experience, and help share the story of Campus Compact, Compact Service Corps and AmeriCorps. Please be mindful that participation in National Days of Service are to be counted as Member Development Hours on your monthly time log.
WHAT and WHEN?
National Days of Service, Academic Year 2012-13
- September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance: September 11, 2012, http://www.serve.gov/sept11.asp
- Make a Difference Day: October 27, 2012, http://makeadifferenceday.com/getting-started/
- National Family Volunteer Day: November 17, 2012, http://www.pointsoflight.org/signature-events/family-volunteer-day
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, January 21, 2013, http://mlkday.gov/
- AmeriCorps Week: March 9-17, 2013, http://www.americorps.gov/about/americorpsweek/index.asp
- Global Youth Service Day(s): April 26-28, 2013, http://www.gysd.org/
- National Volunteer Week: April 21-27, 2013, http://www.handsonnetwork.org/nationalprograms/signatureevents/nvw
- Earth Day: April 22nd, 2013, http://www.serve.gov/earthday.asp
That’s a great question. Ultimately, National Days of Service should be focused on where there are needs in your community. A need can be as simple as: this playground isn’t very attractive and kids would use it more if it were painted and had some maintenance done, or there are hungry people, etcetera. More specifically, “Where?” typically is at a place that a partner (like a nonprofit organization or school) helps you to select. Together with a partner or your Compact Service Corps Coordinator on campus, develop a project that you and your fellow AmeriCorps Members and volunteers help plan and complete.
Because there are hundreds of unmet needs in communities, and with a little ingenuity, some community spirit and some people pitching in, we can make our communities safer and healthier places to live! Additionally, projects with very tangible outcomes, like raking leaves or shoveling snow for homebound seniors, or collecting food are a great way to motivate a team of AmeriCorps Members and student volunteers to continue serving. A big part of participating in a National Day of Service is getting a chance as engaged college students to discuss your community, your own motivations for service, to think about what it means to be a citizen and to get others involved. There are some great tools for reflection at the Project on Civic Reflection’s website, http://civicreflection.org.
There are a couple of options for you: 1) You can seek out others who have planned events in your community and join them. A good national clearinghouse for volunteer opportunities can be found at: http://www.serve.gov and 2) You can work with your Compact Service Corps Coordinator, and fellow students to plan an event on your own. There are dozens of great models to get ideas (or to simply copy!) and a great clearinghouse for ideas is the http://nationalserviceresources.org (search for “National Day of Service") where you’ll get all kinds of open source, easy-to-follow models and ideas.
Another great website for promoting an event and getting the word out to your community is: http://www.allforgood.org/