Serve Well Blog

August 2011 Entries

8.16.11

Is it better to be global or local?

Destiny Williams | Krista Foundation Press, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America, Community, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life

 I used to think that being "globally minded" was the important thing. I would stress the need to open ourselves to other people and cultures, and discover our interconnectedness. I would encourage accepting our responsibility to care for and advocate for our brothers and sisters around the world.

I still believe global awareness, appreciation, and respect are important, yet over the past few years I've come to discover the importance of local. I mean, to be global without being local is to have your head in the clouds without your feet on the ground. In a pragmatic way, you can only be as global as you are local—doing real things with real people in real places while understanding their global implications. Becoming locally involved also provides insights on the elements of any healthy community around the world. (To clarify-- I don't see those insights or elements as a blueprint to be replicated exactly. Contextual and cultural difference should be honored in each community.)

In the spirit of the KF's August 20th event: Think Globally, Move Locally, I want to hear what your neighborhood celebrates and values: What are the unique local things that your neighborhood is known for? What are sources of pride for your neighborhood or city?

To get the conversation started, I'll speak to our Seattle KF Office in Greenlake...
A food or two? On a warm summer afternoon, our staff has indulged at Gelatiamo, the gelato shop around the corner. Beyond Greenlake, trekking to nearby Fremont to sample Theo chocolate at their factory is a worthy quarterly outing. : )
A geographic marker/hike/adventure? Greenlake itself-known for speedwalking moms with strollers, fancy Frisbee spinners in the park, and some of the most competitive outdoor basketball in the city. It's a place of meeting/play, and a nice 3 mile stroll. We had a wonderful picnic a week ago with Colleagues.

Something else? A type of music/band or instrument? / Something of historic significance?/ Something with cult-worthy appeal?

Whether your neighborhood is Brooklyn, Boulder, or Bombay... what aspects of local life are you loving? What are your neighbors most proud of?

To read one Krista Colleague's thoughtful consideration of being local while in global service, read Nathan Brouwer's article from The Global Citizen.

8.12.11

Poor Timing to Cut Funding for AmeriCorps/Volunteerism

Destiny Williams | Service In The News, Urban America, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life, Preparing To Serve, Sustaining Service

Jenny Yu, AmeriCorps, TacomaAaron Ausland recently noted the surprising inverse relationship between unemployment and volunteering-that as unemployment rises, volunteerism rates go down. He stated that the number of volunteers in America dropped by 600,000 from last year, bringing the national volunteering rate down by a half a percentage point, to 26.3%. While it could seem logical to assume unemployed people have more spare time and would more likely fill that time with volunteering, the opposite appears true.

Overall, we were surprised to see the downward overall trend in volunteering (broadly defined). It makes me ask: which primary demographic is volunteering less? In our work with year long service volunteer programs, millenials seem to be bucking this trend. We're still hearing from service organizations that record numbers of young adults are applying to serve (JVC-Northwest, for example, had a 50% increase in applicants).

Unfortunately, Congress recently took the wind out of these sails, which threatens the quantity and quality of service volunteerism. Congress made drastic cuts to AmeriCorps ($22.5 million in cuts to AmeriCorps Education Awards). Catholic Volunteer Network, which has 1300 AmeriCorps- funded volunteers at 900 sites, is facing a $5 million gap from the cuts. See article on CVN. In spite of debt and budget challenges, prioritizing funding for young adult service volunteerism has critical economic and social implications.

In a report on unemployment I heard on NPR last week, young adults 25 and under have an unemployment rate near 17%. Reihan Salam, a policy advisor at e21 (an economics think-tank) was saying how much this statistic particularly hurts the economy in the long run. Getting a good job early, to build skills and move up into better paying jobs, ultimately builds a stronger economy and leads to more revenue into the tax system. Instead, many young adults are being stalled out of the starting gate, or starting in the "loser's bracket," and our economy will never fully catch up. Cutting AmeriCorps funding kicks this younger generation when it's already down, when it should be offering an essential way to build marketable skills while promoting civic engagement and fostering commitment to the common good-not to mention meeting real needs in our struggling communities.

Under-funding AmeriCorps is one sure way to speed the decline of current volunteering and depress future numbers. Squeezing service volunteer organizations threatens not only the quantity of volunteers, but also the ability of organizations to provide quality service volunteer care (including proper training and debriefing).

At a 50th anniversary event for the Peace Corps, I heard National Director Aaron S. Williams say that, more than ANY other program we have, Peace Corps volunteers (and I would say AmeriCorps volunteers too) represent our highest ideals and values as a nation.

We are in a challenging economic climate that disproportionately affects opportunities for young adults. Whether motivated by economics, idealism, or common sense, shouldn't we be investing in young adult service programs, rather than cutting them?

8.3.11

August 20, 2011: Think Globally, Move Locally

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press, Community, Environment

Time 8:00 AM - 2:30 PM TGML Feast

Location 31515 NE Tolt Hill Rd. Carnation, WA 98014

Description

It's time to get registered for the 8th annual Think Globally, Move Locally: Hike, Bike or Trike with the Krista Foundation! It's a really fun day to cycle, hike, walk to nearby sights and parks, and then regroup for a tasty potluck lunch.

Visit www.tgml2011.eventbrite.com for details.

crystal evening clutch