Newsletter – October 2008

Family Day 2008

First Lady presenting awardOn Thursday, September 25, California First Lady Maria Shriver joined VONS, CaliforniaVolunteers, Volunteer San Diego and community volunteers to build a new play space for hundreds of CampHOPE children in San Diego County to celebrate Family Day. Camp HOPE, which serves as a place that offers hope and healing to at-risk, abused and neglected children of the San Diego community, suffered considerable loss during the Ramona wildfire in 2007.

“Celebrating Family Day and encouraging families to spend time together is an important message for me to share, especially as a mother. I also believe that we are a family in California and it’s important that we come together to give back to our communities and to those who need our help,” said Maria Shriver. “And that’s what we’re doing at Camp HOPE. We are giving the children a greater place to heal and play.”

In celebration of Family Day, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed September 22-26, 2008 as Family Week – A week to eat dinner with your children.

As a Family Day partner and as part of their commitment to support communities affected by the 2007 wildfires, VONS/Safeway donated $150,000 to build the play space at Camp HOPE.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University created Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children™ in 2001 after its research consistently found that the more often kids eat dinner with their families the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs. As California’s Family Day Honorary Chair, Shriver is working to encourage families to not only talk about everyday issues at the dinner table, but to also teach children healthy eating habits, create family disaster plans and volunteer and serve as an effort to give back to their community.

The First Lady also visted Marine Corps Air Station Miramar to visit with military families and ended the day at St. Paul’s Senior Homes & Services where she visited their Intergenerational Day Care Program where children and seniors eat together and play together.

Service Nation

Service Nation logoThe Summit held Sept. 11-12 in New York City brought together 500 leaders of all ages and from every sector of American life —from universities and foundations, to business and politics—to celebrate the power and potential of citizen service, and to lay out a bold policy blueprint for addressing America’s greatest social challenges through expanded opportunities for volunteer and national service.

The Summit began with a presidential candidates’ forum the evening of September 11, where Senators McCain and Obama spoke in depth about their views on the role of citizenship and service in post-9/11 America. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg opened the proceedings on the following day, and the summit concluded with a video message by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and a key note address by Senator Hillary Clinton.

The ultimate goal of the ServiceNation Summit is to kick off the movement to inspire an America in which, by 2020, 100 million Americans will volunteer time in schools, workplaces and faith-based and community institutions each and every year (up from 61 million today), and that increasing numbers of Americans annually will commit a year of their lives to national service.

At the Summit, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Caroline Kennedy (in place of her uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA)) announced the bipartisan Serve America Act, which would create strong governmental support for service through programs in the private and public sector. Other attendees, from university presidents to bank executives, made a variety of commitments to service. Video from the Summit is available for viewing on SNTV.

Day of Action

On Sept. 27, 2008 more than 2700 events were organized across all 50 states to showcase the power and potential of service. The Day of Action was also a call to the country’s leadership to provide more service opportunities so that every American has the opportunity to serve. A full listing of events can be found on the Day of Action Summary page.

National Preparedness Conference & Exercise

Rescuers on a raftOn September 13, 2008, as part of National Preparedness Conference, the Sacramento Region Citizen Corps Council (SRCCC), in partnership with CaliforniaVolunteers, hosted a disaster exercise at William B. Pond Arden Bar. The purpose of the exercise was to demonstrate the role of trained community volunteers in responding to a disaster involving catastrophic flooding in the local region.

“The critical role of trained volunteers in a disaster cannot be understated,” said Karen Baker, California’s secretary of service and volunteering. “These volunteers are at the forefront of helping our communities prepare for the next disaster, and when disaster strikes, they may be the lifeline for many people affected.”

The premise of the exercise included sustained rains for more than one week, causing a break in the Folsom Dam. Visitors at the American River Parkway were trapped and severely injured, and the flooding caused limited access to the victims by public safety personnel, requiring a large scale rescue effort by trained neighborhood volunteers.

“This drill emphasized the coordinated response by trained volunteers to an emergency situation and it showcased the critical role these volunteers play when disaster strikes,” said Sacramento Fire Department Captain Bill White. “Trained volunteers are often the next level of support when emergency personnel have limited access to disaster sites.”

More than 200 trained volunteers and 100 “victims” convened for the exercise. Trained volunteers executed search and rescue missions, swift water rescue, established a triage and treatment center and set up an emergency volunteer center for spontaneous volunteers. An animal staging area was also established during the disaster exercise.

“Today’s exercise really served as a call to everybody in the Sacramento region to learn how they can become prepared for the next disaster,” noted Sacramento Sheriff Lieutenant Bill Meyers. “When it comes to disasters, it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.”

Community Emergency Response Teams, Medical Response Corps members, and trained volunteers from local, regional and governmental agencies all participated in the exercise.

AmeriCorps Grantmaking

AmeriCorps LogoIn our role as the state service commission, CaliforniaVolunteers is actively engaged in the 2009 AmeriCorps grantmaking process.

Currently 29 applications are under consideration for either AmeriCorps operating grants or education award program grants. The proposals range in size, scope and issue area focus, including tutoring programs, health and human need service programs and environment preservation programs. The 29 proposals request approximately $13 million federal AmeriCorps funding. Funding is contingent on congressional appropriations. Grant award announcements will be made in late May 2009.

Another round of grant opportunities will be available next summer to support AmeriCorps programming in 2010-11.

Mark Baldassare appointed to CaliforniaVolunteers Commission

Mark BaldassareMark Baldassare, Ph.D., of Kensington, has been appointed to the CaliforniaVolunteers Commission. He currently works for the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) as president and chief executive officer, positions he has held since 2007 and previously served as the director of research from 2002 to 2007. Additionally, Baldassare has served the PPIC as the Arjay and Frances Fearing Miller chair of public policy since 2001 and as the director of the PPIC Statewide Survey since 1998. He was a professor of urban and regional planning at the University of California, Irvine from 1981 to 2001.

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