ServeOhio Blog



Getting Things Done For Ohio

Every day, Ohioans are making extraordinary contributions to the communities where they live, work, and play. Learn more about the impact AmeriCorps members and volunteers have on the communities they serve, stay current on service and volunteerism trends, and be the first to know about upcoming funding opportunities, events, and special initiatives.


Rebeccah Verhoff-Kiss, Outreach & Education Officer, ServeOhio

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A First-Hand View of Impact

ServeOhio operates under the direction of a 21-member commission appointed by the governor as established in federal and state statute. Commissioners must represent sectors that engage in work that supports the priorities of national service and volunteer engagement, such as K-12 and higher education; older adults; disadvantaged youth; nonprofit and faith-based organizations; and corporate community engagement. The commission meets five times per year with the primary responsibilities of establishing and monitoring strategicorganizational priorities and approving funds for AmeriCorps programs operating in Ohio.

Once a year the commission travels outside of Columbus to explore a community issue and how AmeriCorps programs are addressing the challenge. In 2016 we were in Southeast Ohio looking at environmental stewardship; in 2017 we traveled to Youngstown to review economic challenges and opportunities; and earlier this month, the commission visited Cleveland to study issues surrounding large metropolitan school districts. Each visit follows a similar pattern where commissioners go onsite to learn from local experts about the issues; hear from AmeriCorps program staff and members about how their service addresses such issues; and then end with an exploratory discussion on what more AmeriCorps might do via new programming or current program expansions to provide more resources.

This year commissioners visited East Tech High School – part of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and home to three AmeriCorps programs – City Year Cleveland, College Now Greater Cleveland and Teach For America Greater Cleveland. Commissioners learned more about CMSD’s efforts to expand and promote social-emotional learning strategies within each building to increase student safety and raise academic achievement. AmeriCorps program staff and members shared how their program design and daily member service activities build upon the district’s efforts to provide a secure environment where students can realize their academic potential and focus on future educational goals. The final discussion of the day centered on the potential of additional AmeriCorps resources dedicated to summer programming and how AmeriCorps might also collaborate with the Say YES to Education initiative which aims to provide post-secondary tuition and support to CMSD students.

These commissioner site visits provide insights into the challenges that local communities face every day.  Through information sharing and exploratory conversations, commissioners gain a better understanding of the extraordinary service that AmeriCorps members provide and what more could be done to meet local needs.

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