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About Senior Corps 
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Hurricane Volunteer Support Fund
In the wake of the recent hurricanes, the Corporation is coordinating volunteers to assist with repair and relief efforts in areas affected by this devastating storm. Your donation will support volunteers in providing food and shelter, managing donations, helping victims get necessary assistance, and long-term rebuilding efforts.
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USA Freedom Corps Partnering to Answer the President’s Call to Service
 
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 27, 2003

CONTACT: Sandy Scott
Phone: 202-606-6724
Email: [email protected]

   

AmeriCorps and Senior Corps Help America Stay Alert

 

Washington, D.C. — As military action is underway in Iraq and our country is on high alert, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps volunteers are helping prepare against the threat of terror at home.

On Tuesday, AmeriCorps director Rosie Mauk was in Tallahassee, Fla., reviewing Operation Dark Cloud, a bioterrorism exercise in which AmeriCorps members helped local officials test the capability of area response agencies. Mauk also met with members of the Domestic Preparedness and Response Corps, in which AmeriCorps members train and educate Floridians on what to do in case of an attack or other disaster.

“These AmeriCorps members have worked hard to make sure the local residents and businesses will be aware of what to do in case of an attack,” Mauk explained. “In the wake of September 11th, President Bush asked AmeriCorps to devote more members to homeland security. Whether organizing neighborhood patrols, providing health information, or developing disaster response plans, AmeriCorps is helping meet homeland security needs in many communities across the country.”

AmeriCorps and Senior Corps volunteers from Athens, Ga. to Los Angeles, Calif., are assembling disaster preparedness kits, training community residents and students, and taking other steps to help Americans prepare for a terrorist attack or other disaster. Some examples:

  • In lower Manhattan’s Chinatown, AmeriCorps members are conducting emergency response training for immigrants in Chinese, Spanish and English. Says program director, Veronica Shipilov, “When September 11th happened, a lot of people living in Chinatown didn’t even know that they were supposed to pick up their children from school. They only heard later on the Chinese language radio.” The AmeriCorps members, based at Pace University, are offering emergency preparedness classes and the response has been strong.

  • On Friday, 75 AmeriCorps members serving in Brooklyn and Manhattan will receive training from the American Red Cross in emergency response and disaster preparedness. Called the Red Hook and New York Public Safety Corps, AmeriCorps members will then fan out into the community and provide information on how New Yorkers can protect themselves against potential danger.

  • Senior Corps members joined with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency to develop Tennessee’s bioterrorism plan to provide smallpox inoculations to the state’s 5.7 million residents.

  • In Louisiana, the Office of Emergency Preparedness has enlisted Senior Corps members to patrol parking lots and residential neighborhoods. The highly visible seniors are provided uniforms, vehicles, two way radios, and patrol cars.

  • In Mather, Calif., a small town located near a nuclear power plant, a team of AmeriCorps*NCCC members worked with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to distribute potassium iodide and disaster preparedness information to area residents.

  • In Wilmington, Delaware, a team of AmeriCorps*NCCC members is serving with the American Red Cross, getting information on facilities that could serve as disaster relief shelters. The goal is to expand the community’s ability to respond to any potential threat.

  • AmeriCorps members helped conduct a simulation of a chemical attack with the Denver Office of Emergency Management and participated in emergency drills at BWI International Airport in Baltimore.

  • In cities across the country hundreds of Senior Corps volunteers have participated in American Red Cross disaster preparedness workshops, including in New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Leslie Lenkowksy, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service – the federal agency which oversees Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America – explains that the agency’s programs have a long history of working with local communities and agencies to assist in disaster preparedness and relief efforts. Says Lenkowsky, “”The September 11th attacks and the possibility of future terrorist acts have created new challenges in the area of homeland security. We want to help tap the nation’s volunteer and national service resources to help keep America safe and alert.”

For the past eight years, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps have worked closely with FEMA and the American Red Cross to respond to dozens of federally declared disasters. Following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, hundreds of AmeriCorps members went to Ground Zero to provide services to survivors and family members of victims of the attack.

Last July, the Corporation for National and Community Service awarded a total of $10.3 million in competitive grants to 43 non-profit and public organizations in 26 states and the District of Columbia to involve 37,000 AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps and other volunteers nationwide in public safety, public health, emergency response and disaster preparedness. These groups will support recruitment of volunteers for local efforts to develop disaster response plans, expand Neighborhood Watch and Community Emergency Response Teams, establish Medical Reserve Corps, train youth to cope with disasters, disseminate information on bioterrorism, and assist ham radio operators and volunteer pilots in responding to disasters.

Created in 1993, the Corporation for National and Community Service engages Americans of all ages and backgrounds in improving communities through service in Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America. The Corporation and its programs are part of USA Freedom Corps, a White House initiative to foster a culture of citizenship, service and responsibility, and help all Americans answer the President’s Call to Service. For more information, visit www.nationalservice.gov .

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