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Exciting Lineup of Speakers & Workshops Announced for Volunteerism Conference!

The Virginia Volunteerism and Service Conference (May 16-17 in Richmond) is thrilled to announce a dynamic lineup of speakers and workshops! On May 16th, attendees will be inspired by business developer, strategic consultant, and nonprofit founder Omari Faulkner. Omari has been a driving force with Fortune 500 companies like PepsiCo and ManTech. On May 17th, comedian Micah "Bam Bamm" White will pack an emotional punch with his unique brand of storytelling. Click below to see 30 of the exciting workshops and their presenters including "Elevating Your Board's Fundraising Role" by Amy Nisenson, "How Not to Be Boring: Using Creative and Fun Facilitation Tactics" by Sarah Milston, and "Take Your Volunteer Engagement Up a Notch" by Katie Campbell. Don't miss Virginia's leading conference for organizations and individuals working to make a difference in their communities!  Early bird registration ends Feb. 15th!
Virginia AmeriCorps Member Recognized Nationally!

The Corps Network has named Virginia AmeriCorps member Shanique (Shay) Wilson of the Virginia Service and Conservation Corps as one of the 2017 Corps Members of the Year! Shay is one of five members selected from more than 100 organizations representing 23,000 members. An injury kept Shay from participating in all Corps activities, but rather than sitting back she made herself an unofficial public relations manager for her crew. She wrote blogs, took pictures and created videos -- making huge contribution's to her park's social media presence. Shay will be recognized at The Corps Network 2017 National Conference, February 12-15, in Washington, DC. Congratulations Shay!

Virginia AmeriCorps Members Make an Impact on MLK Day of Service!   

Nearly 200 Virginia AmeriCorps members leapt into action and got things done across the state to serve their communities for MLK Day of Service, January 16th. The members recruited and mobilized nearly 550 volunteers donating nearly 2,600 volunteer hours for projects ranging from collecting food items to making blankets for animals in shelters! In Richmond, Veterans Corps members spent the day cleaning up historic Evergreen Cemetery (pictured). In Danville, nearly 200 Institute for Advance Learning and Research AmeriCorps members and volunteers assembled 10,000 packages of rice and beans, made Valentines cards for veterans and donated 50 scarves to the homeless. 
ROI from Early Childhood Programs is Greater than Previously Thought  

A recent report from Nobel Prize-winning James J. Heckman reveals a 13 percent return on investment on early childhood programs -- a substantial increase from the 7-10 percent of previously calculated data. Professor Heckman and his colleagues at the University of Chicago and University of Southern California Schaeffer Center estimates a large array of life-cycle benefits of an influential early childhood program targeted to disadvantaged children.  
Upcoming National Service Events!

AmeriCorps Week, March 6-11
 
It's time to show the impact of your national service programs to your communities, around the Commonwealth, and beyond! The best way programs can do this is by telling member stories and sharing how your program has improved your community. Take this time to also thank your members, volunteers, and partners. For ideas on how you can plan for AmeriCorps Week, visit . 
Mayor and County Recognition Day, April 4
The nation's mayors and county officials are increasingly turning to national service as a cost-effective strategy to address local challenges. To spotlight the impact of national service and thank those who serve, mayors and country officials will participate in the fifth-annual Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service on April 4th. On this day, officials will hold public events and use traditional and social media to highlight the value of national service to the nation's cities and counties. Regional events are being planned. Click below for tools and information on Mayor's Day.  
Report Shows AmeriCorps Alums Are Engaged Citizens for Life

In a recent study of AmeriCorps Alums conducted by the CNCS, it was revealed that not only do alums remain engaged in their communities long after they've left service, but they often commit their professional lives to service as well. The basis for the study was to understand the long-term impact and outcomes of national service participants in four areas: sense of community, development of career-oriented soft skills, career pathways, and civic engagement. Individuals who have been involved in national service are civically engaged, developed high levels of cultural competence, gained valuable skills while serving and sought similar career paths.
Fight Poverty with VISTA!

Back in 1963, when President Kennedy introduced the idea of AmeriCorps VISTA to Congress, he could have never dreamed of all the good AmeriCorps VISTA members have done to alleviate poverty all over America. AmeriCorps VISTA continues to bring individuals and communities out of poverty by partnering with and supporting organizations and initiatives that share this goal. In addition, VISTA seeks to build capacity within organizations to strengthen or expand existing programs, or to work with the community in developing new programs. 
The Virginia State Office of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is currently requesting concept papers for AmeriCorps VISTA programs. If you are interested in learning more about sponsoring an AmeriCorps VISTA project or submitting a concept paper, please reach out to the Virginia State Office at VA@cns.gov.  
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