save Americorps!

Steve Culbertson of Youth

Service America is circulating this message:

If you can

only make one call today, call the White House (202-456-1414) and inform them

what the supplemental funding to avoid drastic cuts to AmeriCorps this

year means to you, your program, and your community.

The House and Senate

have only until tomorrow (Friday) to compromise on the details of the supplemental

legislation before the House leaves for its August recess.

If the House

and Senate conferees do not meet to iron out the details of the FY03 emergency

supplemental (where the Senate included $100 million for AmeriCorps), before they

leave for recess, hundreds of programs will be forced to close their doors.

Agencies

and nonprofits in every state will lose their ability to serve hundreds of thousands

of individuals in communities across the country. Programs will lose their private

sector support and community relationships that they have built over the past

decade. Thousands of AmeriCorps recruits will turned away from serving their country.

I

attended a forum today on the same issue, in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Many of the nation’s leaders in service-learning attended. Some believe that the

financial crisis of AmeriCorps has a silver lining: the service movement is organizing,

recruiting allies (including friends among conservatives and business leaders),

and learning that it has clout.

Incidentally, I thought that Rep. Chris

Shays (Republican of Connecticut) chose to make a fairly sharp and explicit attack

on Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX), in defending AmeriCorps. (Armey, he said, "simply

hasn’t walked in someone else’s moccasins.") He also argued for more diverse

congressional districts, as a way to increase Republicans’ sensitivity to minorities.

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