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USA Freedom Corps Partnering to Answer the President’s Call to Service
 
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Office of the CEO

   

Testimony Before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies

 

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss how the Administration’s fiscal year 2005 budget request for the Corporation for National and Community Service supports older Americans.

Benefits to seniors provided by Corporation programs take two forms: volunteer opportunities for seniors and services that meet the needs of seniors. Because the senior population is becoming increasingly important to the overall well-being of our nation, it is critically important that both areas are adequately addressed.

At a time when this Committee and many others in our nation are struggling to find effective ways to engage the rapidly growing population of senior citizens in meaningful volunteer activities, our Senior Corps programs each have more than 30 years of experience in tapping the skills, talents, and experience of seniors to meet pressing community needs. In addition, our Special Volunteer Programs are engaging seniors in activities related to homeland security and emergency preparedness and our Senior Demonstration Program has developed an extensive web-based recruitment system to link up seniors with high-quality volunteer opportunities beyond just those offered by our programs.

Senior Corps volunteers, numbering more than 500,000, serve through more than 74,000 local organizations. They tutor and mentor children, organize food banks and community safety patrols, and make countless other contributions to their communities, which in turn improves their lives.

The Senior Companion Program in particular provides a special benefit for seniors as it allows the frail elderly to remain in their homes rather than move to institutions and gives homebound seniors a sense of connection with their peers and with the outside world. This is especially important given the projected doubling of the population age 85 and older – traditionally the poorest and most isolated of the elderly – by the year 2030.

AmeriCorps*VISTA – the Corporation’s other major program funded by this Committee – also has ties to seniors. VISTA is working with Senior Corps to develop models of service that capitalize on the strengths of each program to leverage more senior volunteers to meet high-priority needs. I will discuss several of these models later in my testimony. Besides its partnerships with Senior Corps, VISTA supports many programs designed to provide services specifically to low-income seniors, and a significant number of VISTA members are themselves seniors.

As you know, America is on the crest of an “aging boom.” In 2000, the last year for which Census data are available, the number of Americans age 65 and older was 35 million, representing about 12 percent of the total population. According to the Administration on Aging, by the year 2030 this population will double to approximately 70 million, representing 27 percent of the population.

We have already seen signs of how the aging of America is impacting the world of volunteering. According to the most recent statistics on volunteering compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of Americans who say they volunteer each year through a formal organization rose about 4 million last year, from 59.8 million in 2002 to 63.8 million in 2003. Those ages 55 and older accounted for nearly a third of that increase. And volunteering by that group, who traditionally give the most hours per year, rose from 25.1 percent of the total number of volunteers to 25.6 percent of the total number.

Today, people over 55 make up the largest, best-educated, and healthiest group of older Americans in history – and they continue to become more so. The current population of older Americans is characterized by unprecedented life expectancy; an historically low poverty rate of 10 percent; great ethnic and racial diversity; and, among baby boomers especially, the tendency to challenge traditional roles and definitions of what it means to be a senior.

Why is increasing senior involvement so important?

As I and the other panelists mentioned in our oral testimony, seniors have skills, talents, and abilities that can and should be tapped so they can contribute to the solution, rather than be part of the problems, for an aging society. This is particularly critical as the baby boomer generation enters the final third of its life. We need to capture and use the knowledge, skills, and experience they have accumulated to the advantage of our communities and nation.

Senior volunteering, we know, yields a double benefit. Not only do communities and individuals benefit from the services provided by senior volunteers, but the volunteers themselves realize proven health benefits through social interaction, ongoing engagement, opportunities to contribute, and a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Thus, supporting current senior volunteer programs while expanding opportunities for seniors to serve is a critically important – not to mention cost-effective – way to capitalize on the aging of America.

Seniors are an especially valuable resource to charities, and not just because of the skills and experience they have acquired over their lifetimes. Recently, the Corporation, USA Freedom Corps, and the UPS Foundation commissioned a comprehensive study of volunteer management capacity at charities and congregational social service outreach programs across the United States. The study found that one of the most prominent challenges to implementing volunteer programs among charities and congregations is recruiting volunteers during the workday. With their increased flexibility in available time, seniors can be a rich and increasingly large source of needed assistance. This is particularly so as the baby boom generation reaches “retirement” age and begins to redefine that stage of life, as they have done with earlier stages.

There is much disagreement among experts about whether this generation will be retiring earlier than past generations, or whether its members will have to work as long as possible to pay for the rising costs of college, health care, retirement, and the like. But the probable outcome is that many paths will be taken. Of all age groups, seniors will continue to have the most flexibility, in terms of their time, and will also increasingly have business and professional knowledge, skills, and experience that could be of great use to charities as they strive to build their capacity to deliver services and improve and expand the services that they deliver.

FISCAL YEAR 2005 BUDGET REQUEST

Our budget request before this Subcommittee for fiscal year 2005 totals $375.34 million to support AmeriCorps*VISTA, the three main Senior Corps programs (RSVP, Foster Grandparents, and Senior Companions), Senior Demonstration Programs, and Special Volunteer Programs. This figure represents an increase of $21 million, or 6 percent, above the FY 2004 enacted levels. Additional amounts are requested for the Corporation’s other programs under the jurisdiction of the Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Subcommittee, including $20 million for a new Silver Scholarships program to engage seniors in intensive tutoring and mentoring of young children.

Development of the 2005 budget was guided by two management and four programmatic priorities. Our management priorities for 2005 are Improving the Management of Human and Financial Resources and Strengthening Accountability for Results. Programmatic priorities are Securing the Homeland, Engaging Children and Youth, Supporting Faith-based and Other Community Organizations, and Leveraging Volunteers and Dollars.

One of the cornerstones of the Corporation’s budget request is to achieve our goal of supporting 600,000 senior volunteers. In his Call to Service, the President challenged Americans of all ages and from all walks of life to participate in the well-being of their communities through volunteering. We strongly support that message and believe that our programs should keep pace with the growing numbers of people age 55 and over, not just to increase civic participation but also to tap into this valuable national resource. The figure of 600,000, we believe, is a tangible and realistic benchmark.

To reach that goal, we have proposed several high-yield investments designed to do three things: raise the overall participation of seniors in service; meet needs in several high-priority areas; and use national and community service to its best advantage. These investments include:

  • An increase of $11.7 million in funding for RSVP, bringing the total appropriation for that program to $69.9 million. RSVP is the most flexible of our programs, and also the most efficient in terms of cost per volunteer. (The approximate cost to add a new volunteer for the RSVP program is $400.) The proposed increase will enable us to add approximately 23,000 volunteers to the RSVP program. We anticipate that the additional funding would enable us to award approximately 68 new projects in geographic areas not currently being served by RSVP.

  • An increase of $5.1 million for the Special Volunteer Program. This increase will enable us to add 22,000 more homeland security volunteers, of whom 75 percent, or 16,500, will be age 55 and over. This program came into being after the attacks of September 11 as a way to involve more Americans in protecting the homeland.

  • A request of $1.4 million to maintain and enhance the Corporation’s web-based senior recruitment system and encourage seniors to volunteer. The web-based recruitment system, first implemented under the Senior Demonstration Program authority, is now the largest online repository of volunteer opportunities exclusively for seniors. As the baby boomers age, prospective senior volunteers will have greater technological skills and are expected to use more web-based opportunities to determine how to spend their leisure time. Senior Corps must be prepared to meet these expectations. The request also will support the development and implementation of a new promotional campaign to deliver the results not realized through the “Ask a Friend” campaign of last November.

  • In our request to the VA/HUD subcommittee, the Corporation is proposing a new $20 million “Silver Scholarship” program to help recruit volunteers age 55 and over. The Silver Scholarship program will provide opportunities for and incentives to nearly 10,000 seniors to serve in the “high priority” area of tutoring and mentoring youth. Senior volunteers would earn $1,000 scholarships by participating in a tutoring or mentoring program for at least 500 hours in a year. The scholarships would be transferable to a person of the senior’s choosing, including a grandchild or even a child the senior tutors. While not under the jurisdiction of this committee, I mention the scholarship program so that you may have a comprehensive accounting of the ways in which we hope to attract more senior volunteers.

SENIOR CORPS

The 2005 budget request for Senior Corps programs is $224.5 million. This includes $69.9 million for RSVP; $106.7 million for the Foster Grandparent Program; $46.6 million for the Senior Companion Program; and $1.4 million for Senior Demonstration Programs. The total appropriation requested represents a net increase of $10.3 million, or about 5 percent, over FY 2004.

The Senior Corps provided opportunities for 540,000 older Americans to serve their communities in FY 2003. Each Senior Corps program – RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program), Foster Grandparent Program, Senior Companion Program and Senior Demonstration Program, has distinct characteristics, and each holds a unique niche in the volunteer service delivery systems in communities nationwide through the more than 1,300 community-based organizations that serve as grantees.

RSVP, the largest of the Senior Corps programs, coordinates volunteer service efforts for those 55 and older through a nationwide network of more than 65,000 nonprofit organizations and public agencies serving as placement sites, or “volunteer stations.” The activities of the volunteers who serve through RSVP vary according to community needs, and include mentoring children, recruiting other volunteers, testing drinking water, organizing Neighborhood Watch programs, and lending business and management expertise to community groups. RSVP volunteers choose how, where, and when they serve; their commitments vary from just a few hours a week to up to 40 hours. Volunteers are eligible to receive reimbursement for mileage and insurance coverage while they are on assignment, but they do not receive monetary incentives or stipends. In 2003, approximately 455,000 RSVP volunteers served 71 million hours through 65,000 volunteer stations.

Foster Grandparents provide support and service to children and youth with special needs in a variety of settings, including hospitals, schools, drug treatment centers, correctional institutions, and Head Start and child care centers. Foster Grandparents mentor, help with literacy skills, and care for children of all ages. In many cases, they maintain an ongoing relationship with specific children for a year or longer. In other cases, they serve short-term needs, such as in a hospital pediatric ward. Foster Grandparents must be age 60 or over, and their incomes cannot exceed 125 percent of the national poverty level to be eligible for the monetary stipend of $2.65 per hour. Foster Grandparents receive also receive accident, liability, and automobile insurance coverage, if needed, during their assignments. Service schedules range from 15 to 40 hours per week. In 2003, approximately 31,000 Foster Grandparents served some 260,000 children.

Senior Companions assist frail, homebound individuals, most of them elderly, with daily living tasks, thus helping them to retain their independence. Senior Companions also provide companionship and support to their clients who may be isolated and living alone. Their services also include providing respite to family caregivers of frail seniors. While some Senior Companions serve in community settings, such as adult day care or respite centers, the majority serve directly in the private homes of their clients. Senior Companions serve from 15 to 40 hours per week, and receive ongoing training on topics that affect their clients, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Senior Companions must meet the same income guidelines as Foster Grandparents to be eligible for an hourly stipend of $2.65. In 2003, 16,000 Senior Companions served 67,000 clients.

Senior Demonstration Programs test new models and emerging effective practices for involving older people in volunteer service. Senior Demonstrations build on effective practices and lessons learned from current Senior Corps programs as well as the other national service activities. The goal is to find the best way to tap the vast civic potential of the coming baby boomer generation – the largest, best-educated, healthiest, wealthiest, and longest-living generation of seniors in the nation’s history. Since 2001, Senior Corps has dedicated its Senior Demonstration Program funding to develop, deploy, and support a web-based recruitment system specifically for senior service and open to any organization meeting basic criteria. In 2003, in addition to supporting the recruiting system and support services, funding was used to develop and launch a national promotional and outreach campaign called “Ask a Friend.”

Some people have expressed concern over the decrease in requested funds for the Foster Grandparent Program. The principal reason for this is that in recent years, we have not been able to fill all of the opportunities made available through Foster Grandparents, leaving funds unexpended for the intended purpose of providing volunteer stipends. In 2001, $4.1 million was unexpended, representing a shortfall of 1,552 Volunteer Service Years (VSYs). In 2002, $3.8 million was unexpended, representing a shortfall of 1,390 VSYs. And in 2003, $3.3 million was unexpended, representing a shortfall of 1,351 VSYs. Unexpended stipend funds are returned to the Treasury, aggregated and redistributed to local projects, or retained by local projects and used for other purposes, such as training and technical assistance.

In accordance with the President’s continuing intent to maximize the number of seniors involved in service, we have proposed what we believe to be a realistic level of funding for Foster Grandparents for FY 2005, given the current difficulties in filling slots. However, we have also taken a number of steps to increase the available pool of potential Foster Grandparents by making the program more flexible. For example, in 2002, the Corporation made regulatory changes that allow Foster Grandparents, as well as Senior Companions, to serve 15 to 40 hours a week, instead of the previous requirement to serve 20 hours per week. Also, last month the Corporation published proposed regulations that would increase the medical deduction for income qualification for the Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion Programs from 15 percent of income to 50 percent. The effect of this change will be to allow more seniors with high medical expenses to qualify to serve. During 2004 and 2005, the Corporation will actively monitor volunteer service year usage to see whether the new policies are making a difference and reducing, or even eliminating, the unspent funds.

SPECIAL VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS

We are requesting $15 million for Special Volunteer Programs in FY 2005, a $5.1 million increase over FY 2004.

Special Volunteer Programs strengthen and supplement efforts to meet a broad range of needs by encouraging and enabling persons from all walks of life, and from all age groups, to perform meaningful and constructive volunteer service. The flexible programmatic focus allows volunteers to rapidly meet a variety of priorities, and they can be placed in larger numbers to increase the impact on the community. Volunteers are able to choose a variety of schedules and provide direct or indirect services in leadership and in organizational roles.

Grants in FY 2003 supported the second year of 17 homeland security grants involving 16,400 volunteers who participated in such essential activities as municipal emergency response planning and coordination, training for community members of all ages to respond to terrorism and bioterrorism, strategy development for municipality-wide emergency response, and engaging senior volunteers in Neighborhood Watch programs. The grants totaled $4.8 million. More than 4,000 of the volunteers are veterans, and 40 percent are 55 and older.

The FY 2004 appropriation will fund 12 new grants to enroll an estimated 6,600 new volunteers in homeland security, as well as 17 continuation grants supporting over 16,000 volunteers. The majority of volunteers in FY 2004 will be age 55 and over. The Request for Proposals (RFP) for the additional FY 2004 funding was publicized last month. The application deadline is April 23, 2004, and decisions will be announced mid-summer.

AMERICORPS*VISTA

VISTA, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, was established in 1964 to provide service opportunities for adults of all ages to help bring low-income individuals and communities out of poverty. Now one of the three main components of the AmeriCorps program, VISTA joins AmeriCorps*State and National and AmeriCorps*NCCC in providing an education award of $4,725 in return for a year of full-time service. The award is funded through the National Service Trust, part of the Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies appropriation. VISTA members have the option of receiving a $1,200 cash stipend instead of the education award. About 6,600 VISTA members served in FY 2003. Both the FY 2004 budget that recently passed, and the budget the President proposed for FY 2005, will support the same number of members.

Because of VISTA’s mission to build community-based permanent infrastructure to help bring individuals and communities out of poverty, VISTA projects that affect seniors deal predominantly with low-income seniors. Among many other activities, VISTA members help local organizations improve health services, reduce unemployment, increase housing opportunities, and bridge the digital divide for their clients, a growing percentage of whom are seniors.

For 40 years, VISTA members also have focused a significant part of their efforts on recruiting, organizing, and training volunteers for charities. This aspect of VISTA is an important part of the growing number of its collaborations with Senior Corps, as is VISTA’s four decades of experience in working with faith-based groups.

In the past year, we have launched several collaborations that capitalize on those strengths. For example, Senior Corps and AmeriCorps*VISTA are joining forces to help expand former Mayor Wilson Goode’s Amachi project to mentor, support, and befriend children of prisoners from Philadelphia to 15 other cities. This project model goes directly into congregations seeking out individuals who are willing to service as mentors to children with a parent in prison. VISTA and Senior Corps also are working with the National Conference of Black Mayors to develop effective programs to mentor the children of prisoners in 10 Southern states. And AmeriCorps*VISTA members and Senior Corps volunteers across the United States are participating in activities that support the goals of the Administration’s Child and Family Strengthening Initiative. They mentor children, assist offenders and ex-offenders, and help new immigrants acclimate to their new homes. In most of these partnerships, Senior Corps volunteers provide the direct services, while VISTAs not only set up and administer the programs, but also recruit and manage additional volunteers.

In addition to the collaborations with Senior Corps, a number of VISTA projects are designed specifically to benefit senior citizens. For example, through the Senior $ense program, about 30 AmeriCorps*VISTA members are being placed at a broad spectrum of community organizations throughout the state of Maine. These members will be responsible for developing innovative strategies to deliver customized financial and consumer education materials, job training and placement services, and other resources to lower-income senior adults. Through Elder Care Service in Tallahassee, some 13 AmeriCorps*VISTA members are developing and sustaining partnerships with senior centers, community centers, churches, faith-based organizations, and other agencies that provide services to low-income seniors throughout Northwest Florida. In North Carolina, VISTA members are addressing issues that impact impoverished seniors, including lack of adequate medical care, services, and housing opportunities, as well as how to counteract scam artists.

Among the 5,680 VISTA members currently on the ground, 763 – or about 13.5 percent – are age 55 or older. Our senior VISTA members are particularly adept in working with children and in providing business and management support to startup and young organizations.

The oldest VISTA volunteer is 92 and works in Chicago, Illinois. Another older VISTA member, 83-year-old James Cauley, works with the Amachi mentoring program for children of incarcerated parents in Philadelphia. He started as a VISTA in November of last year, after previously serving as an AmeriCorps member with Amachi.

Dr. Charles Knox of Chicago, Illinois was a VISTA volunteer in 1966 in Wisconsin and Iowa. Thirty years later, he joined again, following a career as an educator, and is now working in Chicago with community and faith based organizations. “Giving of myself, suspending judgment, and accepting people as they are have been my biggest hurdles,” he said. “Serving and helping people is a gift, and it’s one that I challenge us all to give.”

Our recruitment office works to identify potential members to serve and promotes the enrollment of seniors, striving to develop strategic alliances with community and faith-based organizations that reach a broad spectrum of constituents. The experiences of diverse members, including seniors, are highlighted in all of our new AmeriCorps promotional materials.

EXECUTIVE ORDER ON NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE

On February 27, 2004, President Bush issued Executive Order 13331 on National and Community Service Programs, in which he directed the Corporation to adhere to four fundamental principles in the administration of its programs. The President charged the Corporation’s national and community service programs to implement policies that: support and encourage greater engagement of Americans in volunteering; respond more effectively to State and local needs; make the programs more accountable and more effective; and increase involvement with grassroots faith-based and community organizations.

I’d like to describe in greater detail how we have been implementing the four principles outlined in the Executive Order, and how we plan to continue to move in the direction they suggest:

Support and Encourage Greater Engagement of Americans in Volunteering. At the Corporation, we talk a lot about how our AmeriCorps members, and particularly our VISTAs, are used to leverage volunteers – that is, how they recruit, organize, train, and manage the other volunteers upon whom charities and faith-based organizations typically rely to carry out their missions. But it’s not just our AmeriCorps program that is moving in this direction. In field guidance and in other ways, such as providing training and technical assistance about how RSVP volunteers can help recruit and manage other volunteers, we are asking RSVP to focus more of their efforts on volunteer recruitment. Increasing participation levels is also the reason behind our efforts to provide greater flexibility to the Senior Companion and Foster Grandparent Programs.

Make Programs More Responsive to State and Local Needs. Senior Corps programs are, and have long been, responsive to the needs of states and local communities. Programmatically, each grantee develops work plans that relate to meeting needs identified within their communities, and recruits and supports volunteers in addressing those needs. For example, 50 Medicaid Waiver contracts were awarded to Senior Companion grantees in 14 states by State Departments on Aging in 2003. The more than $1 million in funding helped Senior Companions to provide in-home services to designated Medicaid-eligible senior clients in a cost-effective way. In many communities, public transportation systems cannot meet the demand for human services transportation. RSVP volunteers drove or transported more than 500,000 people to doctor visits and other destinations, helping to fill the gap in public services. And Foster Grandparents, who at the inception of the program primarily served children with developmental and other disabilities in institutions, continue that service today by supporting and assisting nearly 30,000 children with special needs in residential facilities.

The Corporation has also published proposed RSVP, Foster Grandparent, and Senior Companion program that would give local grantees greater flexibility in expending funds for volunteer support. Rather than requiring all of the expenses incurred while on assignment to be paid by the organization to which the volunteer is assigned, the proposed regulations would allow the Senior Corps grantee/sponsor to pay them with grant funds, if that is what works best in the local situation. We believe this will result in greater participation of small “shoe string” organizations, including faith-based organizations that do not have the resources to commit to supporting the costs incurred by volunteers in providing services to these organizations and/or their clients.

Make Programs More Accountable and Effective. It is critically important that programs are accountable for results and that taxpayer funds are used efficiently. We want an increasing number of seniors to assist in their communities. We also want to ensure that the work they are doing is effective in addressing community needs. In FY 2003, the Corporation adopted its Performance Measurement Initiative across all programs. At that time, Senior Corps strengthened its Programming for Impact (PFI) performance accountability system, which had been in effect since 1996, by incorporating new and more rigorous standards for its grantees to use in documenting and reporting results. PFI is an outcome-based approach that places emphasis on meeting critical community needs. Under the system, the Corporation provides funding for project expansion and new grants based on the local organizations’ plans and potential for demonstrating results.

Among the new Senior Corps standards adopted in the recently completed fiscal year, grantees whose grants are up for renewal must identify three to five performance measures that they hope to achieve and document them in their application. The measures must include intermediate and end outcomes as well as outputs, and identify measuring tools and indicators. Grantees must use their semiannual progress reports to update the status of each performance measure. Currently, 100 percent of Senior Corps grantees have self-nominated performance measures in their awarded grants. In May of this year, we will have a first review of the progress Senior Corps grantees made toward meeting their performance measures as approved in their applications.

Increase Programs’ Involvement with Grassroots Faith-Based and Community Organizations. About 60,000 Senior Corps volunteers served with local projects sponsored by faith-based organizations last year, up from 42,000 the previous year. These volunteers provided more than 10.8 million service hours to organizations including Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army, Lutheran Social Services, and Interfaith Ministries. In addition, since 1996, 36 RSVP and Senior Companion projects have received Faith in Action grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; through this effort, senior volunteers assist persons living at home with disabilities, including frail older persons, and work in formal partnership with faith congregations and health and social service providers. Other programs involving faith-based organizations are closely aligned with the community efforts to reduce poverty; generally, they provide opportunities for RSVP members to engage in a variety of service efforts. The faith-based partnerships are frequently the source of information sharing among seniors about volunteer opportunities, and they have also helped in the development of homeland security activities.

Senior Corps service priorities with grassroots faith-based and community organizations include Foster Grandparents and RSVP volunteers mentoring children of prisoners; RSVP volunteers assisting adult ex-offenders with reentry into the community; and Senior Companions and RSVP volunteers helping immigrants with the following accomplishments:

  • More than 1,400 Foster Grandparents and RSVP volunteers mentored nearly 8,200 children of prisoners;
  • Approximately 2,300 Foster Grandparents and RSVP volunteers mentored and served nearly 12,000 children in foster care;
  • 29,000 RSVP volunteers and Senior Companions helped nearly 175,000 immigrants; and
  • Approximately 4,600 RSVP volunteers helped nearly 24,000 ex-offenders.

A number of these faith-based outreach efforts involve partnerships between Senior Corps and AmeriCorps*VISTA. Senior Corps and AmeriCorps*VISTA are engaged in numerous efforts to expand current opportunities, and develop new ones, to support groups that serve children of prisoners and their families, including Friends Outside, AMACHI and U.S. Dream Academy. Many of these partnerships have strong faith-based components.

To further advance the President’s Mentoring Initiative, Senior Corps, AmeriCorps*VISTA, and the Administration for Children and Families are in the midst of convening a series of five regional faith-based technical assistance conferences to focus on the areas of mentoring children of prisoners, asset development, and strengthening families. As a result of the first of these conferences, held in January in Mississippi, a program partnership has been launched with the National Conference of Black Mayors to provide mentoring support to children whose parents are in prison. Senior Corps and VISTA staff participated in a series of roundtable discussions that focused on collaborations to develop effective practices, programs that can be replicated in other communities, technical support, and evaluations that measure the nationwide impact of mentoring models.

CONCLUSION

There is no denying the growing importance of seniors to the well-being of our nation. By increasing opportunities for them to become part of the solution to the problems we face as a nation, and by increasing support to programs that benefit them when they are in need, we believe that the entire nation stands to gain.

Mr. Chairman, that concludes my statement. I am available to address any questions that the Subcommittee may have.

 

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