To the editor:
Earlier this year, Congress voted to cut $22.5 million from AmeriCorps, our nation’s service program. As a result, more than 2,000 men and women committed to serving our country will be laid off, and local organizations will no longer benefit from these young, energetic and inexpensive employees.
For example, I work as part of a team of six AmeriCorps members at Heartland Community Health Center (HCHC) in Lawrence. Together, we provide a support system for both the patients and staff of HCHC. The clinic’s diabetes care and prevention, wellness and women’s health programs provide free education and support to patients wanting to improve their health through meaningful lifestyle changes. All three programs are run entirely by AmeriCorps members and would no longer be available to the community should these positions be cut.
Besides HCHC, AmeriCorps members also serve at Centro Hispano, Boys & Girls Club and the United Way’s Roger Hill Volunteer Center in Lawrence. AmeriCorps members serve in our schools, parks and wildlife refuges as well as local nonprofit and charity organizations.
This week is National AmeriCorps Week. Our representatives in Congress need to know how important this program is to Lawrence. Together, we can keep AmeriCorps alive in our community and country, and can continue to transform peoples’ lives through the work AmeriCorps members do.