[House Hearing, 110 Congress] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] STRENGTHENING COMMUNITIES: AN OVERVIEW OF SERVICE AND VOLUNTEERING IN AMERICA ======================================================================= HEARING before the SUBCOMMITTEE ON HEALTHY FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND LABOR U.S. House of Representatives ONE HUNDRED TENTH CONGRESS FIRST SESSION __________ HEARING HELD IN WASHINGTON, DC, FEBRUARY 27, 2007 __________ Serial No. 110-5 __________ Printed for the use of the Committee on Education and Labor Available on the Internet: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/congress/house/education/index.html U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 33-395 PDF WASHINGTON : 2007 --------------------------------------------------------------------- For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: toll free (866) 512-1800; DC area (202) 512-1800 Fax: (202)512-2250 Mail: Stop SSOP, Washington, DC 20402-0001 COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND LABOR GEORGE MILLER, California, Chairman Dale E. Kildee, Michigan, Vice Howard P. ``Buck'' McKeon, Chairman California, Donald M. Payne, New Jersey Ranking Minority Member Robert E. Andrews, New Jersey Thomas E. Petri, Wisconsin Robert C. ``Bobby'' Scott, Virginia Peter Hoekstra, Michigan Lynn C. Woolsey, California Michael N. Castle, Delaware Ruben Hinojosa, Texas Mark E. Souder, Indiana Carolyn McCarthy, New York Vernon J. Ehlers, Michigan John F. Tierney, Massachusetts Judy Biggert, Illinois Dennis J. Kucinich, Ohio Todd Russell Platts, Pennsylvania David Wu, Oregon Ric Keller, Florida Rush D. Holt, New Jersey Joe Wilson, South Carolina Susan A. Davis, California John Kline, Minnesota Danny K. Davis, Illinois Bob Inglis, South Carolina Raul M. Grijalva, Arizona Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Washington Timothy H. Bishop, New York Kenny Marchant, Texas Linda T. Sanchez, California Tom Price, Georgia John P. Sarbanes, Maryland Luis G. Fortuno, Puerto Rico Joe Sestak, Pennsylvania Charles W. Boustany, Jr., David Loebsack, Iowa Louisiana Mazie Hirono, Hawaii Virginia Foxx, North Carolina Jason Altmire, Pennsylvania John R. ``Randy'' Kuhl, Jr., New John A. Yarmuth, Kentucky York Phil Hare, Illinois Rob Bishop, Utah Yvette D. Clarke, New York David Davis, Tennessee Joe Courtney, Connecticut Timothy Walberg, Michigan Carol Shea-Porter, New Hampshire Mark Zuckerman, Staff Director Vic Klatt, Minority Staff Director ------ SUBCOMMITTEE ON HEALTHY FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES CAROLYN McCARTHY, New York, Chairwoman Yvette D. Clarke, New York Todd Russell Platts, Pennsylvania, Carol Shea-Porter, New Hampshire Ranking Minority Member Dennis J. Kucinich, Ohio Howard P. ``Buck'' McKeon, Raul M. Grijalva, Arizona California John P. Sarbanes, Maryland Bob Inglis, South Carolina Jason Altmire, Pennsylvania Kenny Marchant, Texas John A. Yarmuth, Kentucky Luis G. Fortuno, Puerto Rico David Davis, Tennessee C O N T E N T S ---------- Page Hearing held on February 27, 2007................................ 1 Statement of Members: Altmire, Hon. Jason, a Representative in Congress from the State of Pennsylvania, prepared statement of............... 1 McCarthy, Hon. Carolyn, Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities, Committee on Education and Labor. 2 Platts, Hon. Todd Russell, Senior Republican Member, Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities, Committee on Education and Labor..................................... 4 Sarbanes, Hon. John P., a Representative in Congress from the State of Maryland, prepared statement of................... 2 Shays, Hon. Christopher, a Representative in Congress from the State of Connecticut, Co-Founder and Co-Chair, National Service Caucus, prepared statement of...................... 22 Statement of Witnesses: Daigle, Thomas, former AmeriCorps member..................... 33 Prepared statement of.................................... 35 Edelman, David R., former AmeriCorps*NCCC member............. 29 Prepared statement of.................................... 31 Eisner, David, CEO, Corporation for National and Community Service.................................................... 5 Prepared statement of.................................... 7 Gomperts, John S., president, Civic Ventures; CEO, Experience Corps...................................................... 24 Prepared statement of.................................... 26 Moore, George, executive director, Community Progress Council 37 Prepared statement of.................................... 38 STRENGTHENING COMMUNITIES: AN OVERVIEW OF SERVICE AND VOLUNTEERING IN AMERICA ---------- Tuesday, February 27, 2007 U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities Committee on Education and Labor Washington, DC ---------- The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 2:00 p.m., in Room 2175, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Carolyn McCarthy [chairwoman of the subcommittee] presiding. Present: Representatives McCarthy, Clarke, Shea-Porter, Grijalva, Sarbanes, Yarmuth, Platts, and McKeon. Staff present: Tylease Alli, Hearing Clerk; Alejandra Ceja, Senior Budget/Appropriations Analyst; Adrienne Dunbar, Legislative Fellow, Education; Denise Forte, Director of Education Policy; Lamont Ivey, Staff Assistant, Education; Danielle Lee, Press/Outreach Assistant; Stephanie Moore, General Counsel; Joe Novotny, Chief Clerk; Rachel Racusen, Deputy Communications Director; Robert Borden, General Counsel; Kathryn Bruns, Legislative Assistant; Taylor Hansen, Legislative Assistant; and Brad Thomas, Professional Staff Member; Linda Stevens, Chief Clerk; and Kim Zarish-Becknell, Legislative Counsel. Chairwoman McCarthy [presiding]. The hearing will come to order. A quorum is present. The hearing of the subcommittee will come to order. Welcome to the first hearing of Healthy Families and Communities Subcommittee. The purpose of today's hearing is to provide an overview of national service programs. Pursuant to committee rule 12(a), any member may submit an opening statement in writing, which will be made part of the permanent record. [The prepared statement of Mr. Altmire follows:] Prepared Statement of Hon. Jason Altmire, a Representative in Congress From the State of Pennsylvania Thank you, Chairwoman McCarthy. It is a great honor for me to serve on this Subcommittee in this Congress and I look forward to working under your leadership. I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of the witnesses. I appreciate the time you are taking to be here and I am eager to hear your views on volunteering in America. Volunteers are a large part of what makes America such a great and strong nation. Throughout this country volunteers fill in gaps where local, state and federal governments are unable to effectively serve people. Further, the community-minded spirit fostered by volunteer activity benefits all people by strengthening the fabric of our nation. The two acts we are here to discuss today, the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (NCSA) and the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973 (DVSA), authorize a total of six community service programs, which represent the majority of the federal government's involvement in the volunteer world. These programs are designed to promote currently unmet human, educational, environmental and public safety needs and to renew a sense of civic responsibility by encouraging citizens to participate in national service programs. These programs both support pre-existing government agencies and non-profit organizations and create new service organizations to meet needs that are not currently being addressed. Western Pennsylvania has benefited dramatically from the specific service programs that are made possible by NCSA and DVSA. In western Pennsylvania, these programs include tutoring children who are at risk for falling behind academically, helping to staff and administer Adult Education classes, providing services to the homeless, and increasing HIV/AIDS awareness. In 2005, nearly 500,000 people volunteered through programs authorized under either NCSA or DVSA. I know that the Corporation for National and Community Service has ambitious goals to increase this number. It is my sincere hope that these goals are met and that service programs continue to play an integral role in improving our nation. ______ [The prepared statement of Mr. Sarbanes follows:] Prepared Statement of Hon. John P. Sarbanes, a Representative in Congress From the State of Maryland Chairwoman McCarthy, working alongside people of all backgrounds, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. encouraged Americans to come together in service to others because he recognized that service could be a great equalizer in society. ``Everybody can be great,'' he said, ``because everybody can serve.'' Service has always factored heavily in my life. Providing Americans with the opportunity to serve and encouraging more to do so is a means by which we can reinvest in America and rebuild the reputation of this great democracy abroad. As Dr. King recognized, we can accomplish so much together if Americans of every age, gender, race, and social or economic background contribute to our democracy through service. AmeriCorps, for example, has proven the value of service in thousands of towns and communities across the country. Schools today are struggling with a host of issues; among them are teacher shortages and a lack of sustainable incentives to attract bright and talented young adults to the teaching profession. AmeriCorps teachers leave their service experience fueled with a sense of responsibility to under-resourced communities and a passion to teach. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been changed for the better because of the dedication and hard work of our AmeriCorps volunteers. But it is not enough--we can do much more. Our nation desperately needs a restored sense of greatness, a sense of purpose and a renewed sense of civic responsibility. That we have largely neglected national service programs since 1993 when President Clinton first created AmeriCorps is a disgrace. By reinvigorating national and community service programs, we feed our democratic spirit and cultivate citizenship. We bolster the best of what citizenship is about, being engaged in democracy through service. The result will be more vibrant communities and a stronger America, cultivated through experiences that all people can share regardless of their background. No young American should be deprived of these opportunities due to a lack of commitment from Washington. I would like to thank the Chairwoman for having this hearing. Your commitment to service and volunteering in America is clear and I look forward to working with you to strengthen and expand service programs. ______ Chairwoman McCarthy. I now recognize myself, followed by the gentleman from Pennsylvania, Ranking Member Platts, for an opening statement. I am so pleased that the Healthy Families and Communities Subcommittee is holding its first hearing on the issue of national volunteer service. And I would like to thank our very distinguished panelists today for their testimony and for their commitment to national service. I would also like to say that I am looking forward to working with Ranking Member Platts, who is the co-chair of the National Service Caucus. On these issues, we will move ahead together. National service has a distinguished and strong history in our nation. Our roots in service extend back to the first pioneers, when colonists had to ban together to overcome the challenges of surviving and adjusting to a new land. Since the time of the formation of our nation, Americans have volunteered to help each other in times of war, tragedy and need. Benjamin Franklin started the first volunteering firefighter company. In 1933 during the Depression, President Roosevelt started the Civilian Conservation Corps to renew the nation's destroyed forests. And during World War II, the Office of Civil Defense was formed to organize support for the war efforts. In 1961, President Kennedy started the Peace Corps, and in 1970 President Nixon started the National Center for Voluntary Action. More recently, President H. W. Bush started the Points of Light Foundation, President Clinton started AmeriCorps, and President George W. Bush created USA Freedom Corps in his 2002 State of the Union address. Evidence shows that service and volunteering lowers dropout rates among teens, lowers crime rates in communities with high rates of volunteerism, lowers costs associated with the aging population and improves the health and lowers the rates of depression among the elderly. Volunteering is a cost-effective way of meeting our nation's social needs, both from the standpoint of the volunteers and the people who benefit from the services. Today, we will hear from witnesses about current national service programming, including AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and Learn and Serve America. In my home state of New York, more than 76,000 people of all ages and backgrounds are helping to meet local needs and strengthen communities. There are 239 national service programs in New York alone. In my district, we have more than 1,300 service volunteers, and we have almost 3,000 students, age K through 12, that participate in the Learn and Serve programs. Our national service volunteers tutor and mentor youth, help build houses, clean parks and streams, help communities respond to disasters, including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and 9/11. They provide leadership in managing community projects and help conduct safety patrols in the neighborhoods. The volunteers who give their time are from diverse backgrounds and span all generations. I truly believe that expanding national service, particularly to disadvantaged youth, is an effective way to combat things like youth gangs and violence, and the evidence bears that out. And it is critical that we begin teaching about participation and service at an early age. I am looking forward to learning from this and other hearings we will hold on this issue how we can mobilize more volunteers, ensure a brighter future for all of America's youth, engage students in communities and harness the experience of our seniors. With that, I now yield to the distinguished ranking member, Mr. Platts, for an opening statement. Mr. Platts. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. I appreciate your holding this hearing on the importance of volunteering and service in our great country. And I especially want to congratulate you on your chairmanship and very much look forward to working with you on this and many other issues, our shared interest in and dedication to. And I think it is so appropriate that we begin with this topic, which really sets a great tone for the rest of this term on the issues of healthy families and communities. So, again, congratulations on your new chairmanship. Chairwoman McCarthy. Thank you. I am looking forward to working with you. Mr. Platts. For over 13 years, the Corporation for National and Community Service, CNCS, an independent federal agency tasked with administering federally funded service programs, has been coordinating community service efforts around the country through its three main programs: Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America. CNCS helps Americans give back to the communities and nation. The purpose of today's hearing is to learn more about our nation's community service efforts and discuss ideas for legislation to reauthorize programs administered through the CNCS. Programs governed by CNCS receive funding through two federal statutes: the National Community Service Act and the Domestic Volunteer Service Act. The authorizations for both of these programs expired in 1996; however, funding has been continued through annual appropriations legislation. As a co-chair of the National Service Caucus, with Representatives Chris Shays, Doris Matsui and David Price, I am especially pleased that we are holding this hearing today. It is important to learn about the most productive ways that we can target and leverage federal resources to expand service programs. I look forward to hearing the testimony regarding innovative ways which service programs have provided assistance to needy individuals and their families. I also look forward to discussing improvements that we can make to these vitally important programs. As the subcommittee considers a reauthorization of these programs this year, we must focus on crafting legislation which strengthens service programs, while focusing also on accountability. Finally, I want to thank again our witnesses that Madam Chair referenced. We appreciate your efforts in being here today, the written testimonies, which gives us some great insights to your various perspectives on these programs and look forward to the opportunity to give and take with you once we get into the questions. So with that, Madam Chairwoman, I yield back. Chairwoman McCarthy. I thank you, Mr. Platts, and I hope you will allow me to join your caucus. I would love to be a part of the membership. Mr. Platts. We would be honored to have you. Chairwoman McCarthy. Thank you. I see that a number of members have joined us: Ms. Clarke from New York, my great city. I see that Mr. Sarbanes from Maryland is here, and John Yarmuth from Kentucky has joined us. And I thank you for joining us, gentlemen. Today we will be hearing from two panels. On the first panel, we hear from Mr. David Eisner. On the second panel, we will hear from four witnesses: John Gomperts, David Edelman, Thomas Daigle and George Moore. At this time, I would like to introduce our very distinguished first witness, Mr. David Eisner. Since 2003, Mr. Eisner has been the chief executive officer of the Corporation for National Community Service. He is a nationally recognized leader in organization effectiveness and has focused his efforts on making the corporation's programs more effective and accountable. He has vast experience in the volunteering and nonprofit world and brings a great deal of consistency, predictability and value to the corporation's programs. Prior to coming to the corporation, Mr. Eisner was vice president at AOL-Time Warner, where he directed the company's charitable foundation. He is no stranger to the Hill, having served as a press secretary for three members of Congress. Welcome, sir, and we are looking forward to your testimony. Mr. Eisner. Thank you, Madam Chairman. Chairwoman McCarthy. Before you start, I need to explain, this is my first time up here, so if you hear me make some mistakes, I am just nervous. [Laughter.] So before you begin, let me explain our lighting system and the 5-minute rule. Everyone, including members, is limited to 5 minutes of presentation or questioning. The green light is illuminated when you begin to speak. When you see the yellow light, it means you have 1 minute remaining. When you see the red light, it means your time has expired and you need to conclude your testimony. Please be certain as you testify to turn on and speak into the microphone in front of you. We will now hear from the first witness. STATEMENT OF DAVID EISNER, CEO, CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE Mr. Eisner. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman, Congressman Platts, members of the committee. I appreciate the opportunity to testify here today about the role of service and volunteering in America. What I want to do today is spend some time talking about the corporation and our programs, talk about how service is an effective intervention and some of the key areas we need to focus on and why we are at a moment of opportunity today. As the chairwoman did, the corporation starts from the premise that our communities are at their best, healthiest and most effective when citizens partner to tackle the toughest problems that we are facing: gangs, crime illiteracy, teen pregnancy, high school dropouts and the divide between haves and have-nots. The corporation exists to bolster and strengthen what the president calls the armies of compassion. We do this through five powerful programs. Senior Corps: Through foster grandparents, senior companions and RSVP, our Senior Corps programs engage 500,000 older Americans in meeting pressing needs in their communities. AmeriCorps: 75,000 Americans are engaged in this program to do intense service through the network of nonprofits that supports our country, and in return they receive and education award of $4,725. VISTA is AmeriCorps' anti-poverty and capacity-building arm. NCCC is AmeriCorps' high-intensity, residential, team- based program for 18-to 24-year-olds. And Learn and Serve America brings service together in a contextual learning environment for 1.3 million students in K-12 through college. Now, service can change people's lives in a dramatic way. And if we look at some examples, look at children of prisoners. These are youth and children living often in tough circumstances, and they themselves have a 70 percent likelihood of ending up following their parents into jail or prison. And yet we know that having a mentor can cut that likelihood in half. Look at children in foster care and the ones who are aging out--20,000 a year. Again, we see extremely high likelihood that these children could end up homeless, potentially going to prison or having other kinds of behavior that is not likely to lead to success in their future lives. And yet the citizen, by reaching out, can dramatically change the chances that this young child can succeed. We have VISTAs who deliver citizens to mentor foster care kids as they get out of foster care. But we think that the real important is to focus on youth, not as recipients of service or as clients but as assets. Mrs. Bush and the Helping America's Youth initiative reminds us that when people participate in service they get confidence, they feel empowered, they are able to focus on what they need to do to turn their own lives around, because they have already been focusing on how to be effective in their community and how to turn lives around in their communities. So we have seen all of this power on display in the Gulf after Katrina. Thirty-five thousand participants of our national service programs have been down in the Gulf, changing lives, rebuilding communities and re-fostering the civic ethic that is there in the Gulf coast. And partly as a result of their efforts, we have seen 500,000 other citizens participating. But what I hope to leave you with is that we are currently at a moment of extraordinary opportunity. Our research shows us that volunteering in America is around a 30-year high over multiple years. Over the next decade we are going to see boomers driving our demographics so that we will see 86 million Americans over 65 compared to 35 million today. But most important, and the last that I will leave you with, we see today 16- to 19-year-olds 100 percent more likely to volunteer than they were in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. These young Americans want to be asked how they can help solve some of the challenges in our country and in our communities. We need to fan that spark and find ways to ask them. Thank you. [The statement of Mr. Eisner follows:] Prepared Statement of David Eisner, CEO, Corporation for National and Community Service Chairwoman McCarthy, Congressman Platts, members of the Subcommittee, I appreciate the opportunity to testify before you today about the role of service and volunteering in America. Service is a strong and powerful point of leverage for America because it taps into America's greatest strength--her citizens. Across America, our communities are at their best, healthiest and most effective when citizens partner to tackle our toughest problems: gangs, crime, drugs, homelessness, illiteracy, children aging out of foster care, elder care, drop outs, teen pregnancy and the divide between haves and have-nots. In fact, the power of American citizens in service--and in partnership with our social service delivery mechanisms--gets at the heart of nearly every issue under this committee's jurisdiction. The Corporation for National and Community Service exists to bolster and strengthen these armies of compassion and through them the health of America's communities. Our mission is to improve people's lives, strengthen communities and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. Today, we are witnessing an extraordinary convergence that makes this mission more powerful than it has ever been before. On the one hand, the need for our armies of compassion, of citizens armed with idealism and determination, has never been greater to improve the trajectory of the lives of young people and families struggling to reconnect to the American dream. On the other hand, we are at the same time experiencing the birth of a once in a lifetime kind of shift toward service, volunteering and civic engagement. Coming out of the smoke and ashes of 9/11 we saw Americans engaged in extraordinary acts of compassion. In his 2002 State of the Union address, the President issued a call to service in which he asked all Americans to devote 4,000 hours of their lives, or two years, to service. He has worked hard to rally our armies of compassion and to engage citizens in moving away from the role of spectator, toward an embrace of service as a strategy for addressing some of our most intractable problems. And millions of Americans have answered that call. Today, our research shows that overall volunteering in America is at a 30-year high. More than 2 million more Americans are volunteering than in the year following 9/11. Led by older teens, Baby Boomers, and Americans over 65, our citizens are reinventing America's entrepreneurial spirit at the community level and they are rolling up their sleeves to tackle the hard work. We at the Corporation are dedicated to doing everything we can to grow this surge of civic engagement and to ensure that these dedicated Americans have every tool at their disposal to make their service meaningful and effective, so that together we can solve problems and restore hope in our communities. There is one trend in particular to which we must pay careful attention: older teens today are more than twice as likely to serve and volunteer as older teens in the proceeding three decades. Teens today are twice as likely to volunteer than teens in the '70s, '80s and '90s. We also know that the strongest predictor of whether a person volunteers as an adult is whether he or she has volunteered in their youth. More than anything, this is the trend that is worthy of all of our consideration and as much effort as we can collectively expend, because, if we get it right, our communities and our nation could become the beneficiaries of an entire generation that is as dedicated to engagement and problem solving as what we now think of as the Greatest Generation, that reached about the same age at the onset of World War II. Much of the power of this vision has been on display since we confronted the worst natural disaster in our history in 2005. Hurricane Katrina revealed nature at its worst. But it also showed America at its best. Thousands of volunteers came from across the United States in an unprecedented outpouring to help the residents of the Gulf coast. More than 35,000 national service participants contributed nearly 2 million hours of service to the hurricane relief and recovery efforts--clearing tons of debris, serving hundreds of meals, mucking and sanitizing thousands of homes, and most importantly renewing the hope of families and communities struggling to rebuild. And they have been a significant contributor to the more than 500,000 community volunteers who have served in the Gulf. Hurricane Katrina was a defining moment for national service. Disaster hit and we responded immediately. But the compassion we see in the Gulf was not an isolated event; it happens every day in cities and towns across America. We see our powerful national service programs and idealistic members and program participants as an important part of the scaffolding upon which our communities build some of their most effective citizen engagements and community volunteer activities. The five major national service programs that the Corporation supports are all dedicated to supporting serious problem solving through citizen engagement. For 40 years, Senior Corps programs have been at the forefront of engaging older Americans in meeting pressing needs. Through the Foster Grandparent program, older Americans spend an average of 20 hours a week inside the schools and youth centers of some of America's most poverty stricken communities, supporting and mentoring children who need to know that a caring adult is on their side. And Senior Companions come into the homes to maintain the dignity and independence of those who are otherwise too frail or elderly to live on their own. RSVP connects older Americans with a plethora of service opportunities through more than 70,000 nonprofit and faith-based groups across the country. In total, more than 500,000 older Americans serve their communities through one of these Senior Corps programs. The basic deal of AmeriCorps is simple: idealistic Americans spend a year of service helping meet critical needs in education, public safety, health and the environment. And at the end of their year of service AmeriCorps members receive a scholarship of $4,725 to pay for their future education--or to repay their student loans. The AmeriCorps network of local, state, and national service programs engages more than 75,000 Americans in intensive service each year. AmeriCorps members serve through thousands of nonprofits, public agencies, and faith-based and community organizations. Later this year, AmeriCorps will reach a milestone when more than 500,000 Americans have taken the pledge to ``Get Things Done.'' And I'm proud to note than most of those members will have taken that pledge since President Bush took office. VISTA is the anti-poverty and capacity building arm of AmeriCorps, born out of the War on Poverty and 6,600 strong. These VISTAs are America's domestic equivalent to Peace Corps volunteers, living, serving, and bringing meaningful change to America's most poverty- stricken communities by engaging their citizens in the arduous work of lifting themselves out of poverty. Under AmeriCorps' NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps), dedicated 18-24 year-olds receive special training and work in full- time team-based residential programs and travel across the country to tackle one urgent problem after another; their rapid ability to deploy and expertise were on particular display during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, where they were among the first on the ground and remain a strong force multiplier today. Learn and Serve America is the on-ramp to a lifetime of service. Through educational grants to K-12 schools, universities, and community organizations, Learn and Serve America fosters service-learning programs nationwide. Service-learning is a teaching method that combines service with classroom learning. All of our research shows that service-learning reduces risky behavior, improves academic achievement, and is the best predictor of a child's civic engagement as an adult. Part of the power of the national service network is that in every state and territory we have governor-appointed state service commissions. Commissions oversee most of the national service activities in each state, especially AmeriCorps programs and the Commission is also usually the organization charged by the Governor with encouraging volunteering and civic engagement statewide and driving key statewide social priorities like literacy and mentoring. The Corporation also has field offices representing and providing additional resources to every state and territory. Another ingredient of the success of national service is that it is a public-private partnership. Each year the Corporation's grantees collectively raise $375 million in non-Corporation funds--and the vast majority of these funds are private. This partnership helps to leverage federal dollars and ensures local buy-in for the programs we fund. A growing body of research demonstrates that volunteers not only improve reading scores when they tutor, or make it more likely that youth will be successful in life by mentoring, but the thousands of things volunteers do represent the social glue that translates into the health of our communities. Just as one can build financial capital, individuals who volunteer build a community's ``social capital.'' Americans who volunteer are also likely to vote, know their neighbors, and be engaged in local affairs. Indeed, you will find that communities with higher levels of volunteering are also places where people have greater trust and knowledge of their neighbors. This means that communities with a higher level of volunteering and other forms of community life exhibit such attributes as strong parental engagement in schools, low crime rates, and even economic prosperity. As the Subcommittee considers the opportunities that service provides to create healthier families and communities, I'd like to quickly hit on some of the challenges where the upside of citizen engagement is the most compelling, where American citizens have the best opportunities to make a difference in the lives of those who are hurting and to solve some of the key issues that plague America today. The President has often spoken of the challenge of supporting the 7 million children who have one or more parent in prison. Without effective intervention, 70 percent of these children are likely to follow their parents' path, ending up in prison themselves. Corporation programs are engaging citizens across the country to make inroads in combating this generational despair. One of the projects we support is a program, Amachi, which was started in Philadelphia by the former mayor, the Reverend Wilson Goode. Amachi engages, trains and supports Americans, mostly from the faith community, who take on the challenge and reward of mentoring children of prisoners. We know that one volunteer mentoring a child of a prisoner can cut the likelihood of that child going to prison in half. With our VISTA members, AmeriCorps grants, and Senior Corps participants supporting a rapid scaling strategy, Amachi has grown. Another great challenge facing us is the 20,000 young people who age out of the foster care system each year. At a crucial age when so many Americans are being shepherded by their parents, many of these kids have no one to help them get a job or continue their education. We have AmeriCorps VISTA members helping bridge that gap for this vulnerable population in many different states. In California, for example, the Foster Youth Empowerment Service Center serves at-risk children and youth in the high desert region of San Bernadino County. The program concentrates on foster youth who have become or are in danger of becoming homeless when they age out of foster care. The center brings together crucial resources to foster youth ages 16 to 21. VISTAs set up a database to establish each youth's needs and goals and they coordinate with community partners to develop programs to assist young people in designing an individual transition plan based on the youth's needs assessment. And in Washington state, we are about to launch a crucial VISTA program that provides mentors for children aging out of care. Without these key interventions, many of these young people would fall into lives of crime and despair. Too often people think of disadvantaged youth as clients to be served instead of leaders and problem solvers. As the First Lady has made clear with her Helping America's Youth initiative, society is better served when we understand that children are our best assets. When you connect disadvantaged youth to service, you build their confidence, give them a sense of personal responsibility, lower their sense of victim hood, and give them a tangible sense that they can make a difference in their life and the lives of others. While the problems are great, we can work towards solutions. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 15 percent of America's teens use illicit drugs and the abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise: Oxycontin use among eighth graders has doubled since 2002 and one in ten high school seniors abuse Vicodin. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention reported in 2003 that 23 out of every 1000 teenage girls aged 15-17 became teen mothers and 18 percent of America's youth live at or below the poverty level. An estimated 760,000 youth are involved in gangs. The FBI reports that in 2005 law enforcement agencies arrested 1.5 million young people under the age of 18; therefore youth account for 15 percent of all arrests. We can prevent more young people from becoming part of these crime statistics not only by providing services to them, but by engaging them in supporting their own communities. We have research showing when we engage disadvantaged youth in service, we greatly enhance their chances for success. Kids engaged in serving their own troubled communities are less likely to engage in risky behavior, are more likely to graduate and go to college. In fact, service is one of the best and most effective interventions for youth in disadvantaged circumstances, one of the most compelling reasons that service is no longer simply a nice thing to do; it is necessary to the health of our nation. Let me give you an example of how this works. In Nassau County, Queens and Brooklyn, New York, a network of schools, colleges, and community and faith-based organizations called the Schools Partnership Collaboration or SPARC, foster service-learning for more than 1600 students in public and private schools. Minneola High School is the lead school and partners closely with Holy Cross High School in Queens. Each of the schools conducts multiple service projects in the local community. Projects include outreach to veterans and working on literacy and enrichment activities with elementary schools and the Hispanic Counseling Center School Age Child Care program. By engaging young people in service, this program greatly increases their self esteem and reinforces classroom learning. Think of the power of engaging our young people who are not contending with disadvantaged circumstances. Imagine if on every college campus we engaged students in solving some of the problems of their local communities. We know from a study we published last fall that college student volunteering is up--by 20 percent. But still only one-third of students on campus volunteer; that's not enough. We have more work to do to engage the other two-thirds to make a powerful difference in the lives of young people in communities across America. And the opportunity to use service as an intervention that can change the course of the life of the person serving is not only applicable to youth. Some of our most powerful work is going on in connecting citizen service with the field of prisoner re-entry. Never before in our society have we had more people coming out of prison than going in. Nearly 650,000 people are released from state and federal prison yearly and arrive on the doorsteps of communities nationwide. A far greater number re-enter communities from local jails, and for many offenders and defendants, this may occur multiple times in a year. According to the Department of Justice, over 50 percent of those released from incarceration will be in some form of legal trouble within 3 years. Among some populations recidivism can reach as high as 80 percent. Those coming out of prison need a job, a place to live, and connection to society. It's the connection to society that can serve as a gateway to all of the elements of success, supporting them in getting a job and a place to live, connecting them to faith-based and community groups that give them a sense of purpose and creating a gateway for them to thrive. In fact, we are particularly excited about service work in the realm of re-entry because we are building powerful models of collaboration with other federal agencies. In 30 cities we have 140 VISTAs who are participating with community based organizations collaborating with Department of Justice Weed and Seed sites to build re-entry programs. One of these great re-entry projects is the Potter's House in the Dallas area which sponsors a VISTA program that works with local Department of Justice Weed and Seed sites. The VISTAs serve in five cities with the highest number of prisoners being released into the state of Texas. The VISTAs recruit and create volunteer curricula for training mentors and volunteers on how to best meet the needs of this population. The VISTAs also link resources to ex-offenders so they have the opportunity to succeed and not recidivate back to the prison system. In Bend, Oregon, one of our AmeriCorps grantees--a group called Civic Justice Corps--engages prison inmates in meaningful service. Sadly, the director Dennis Maloney, passed away earlier this month. But before his passing, he built an incredible program. Dennis gave up a promising NFL career to become a VISTA member. After VISTA, he started work in the field of corrections and eventually became a prison warden. Knowing the power of service from his VISTA days, Dennis encouraged the prison staff to create service projects to engage the inmates rather than impose harsh penalties from the top down. Inmates didn't serve in punitive ways--such as in chain gangs, but in constructive ways. The community loved the idea. The inmates built the Bend Child Abuse Advocacy Center, Habitat for Humanity homes, and a local homeless shelter. They served their community and they also received great job skills. Because of Dennis' work, 30 states have rewritten the purpose clause of their juvenile code to include service as part of their juvenile justice systems. As we look at all of these pressing issues, we must remember to view them as part of the large demographic shift that is taking place in America. We are moving into a time where our traditional workforce will be half of what it is today as a percentage of our population. The fastest growing age group in America is aged 85 and older, and they are a major driver of health care costs. In 2020, approximately 1 in 6 Americans will be aged 65 or older. By 2050, when the Baby Boomers will be age 85 and older, there will be over 86 million people older than 65 living in the United States, compared to 35 million today. Last year with the passage of the Older Americans Act, you considered some of these issues. We would urge you, as a Subcommittee, as you continue to consider what it means to have healthy families and communities, to view this demographic shift as the largest opportunity of all. Imagine if retiring Baby Boomer teachers were willing to tutor and mentor disadvantaged youth. Or older business people could provide business advice and career counseling. Or retired doctors, nurses, and trained medical personnel could provide health care services to low- income and elderly neighbors. Last year Corporation programs delivered independent living services to over 100,000 frail or elderly Americans. In Pima County, Arizona for example, Senior Companions help older or disabled clients at a family services program live with more independence and dignity. In 2006 alone Senior Companions served nearly 1000 clients. More often than not, friendships and long lasting bonds of trust develop between Senior Companions and clients, thus lessening the isolation and depression that can afflict so many older Americans. Despite these great successes, we still have a lot of work to do. With our board of directors, the Corporation, has developed a bold strategic plan (I have copies here for you today) that is harnessing America's volunteers to tackle key problems in this country.
First, we plan to grow the numbers of Americans volunteering to 75 million by 2010. To move towards this goal, we have made volunteer leveraging a priority in our grants, promoted online volunteer matching, are working to enhance volunteer infrastructure, management and retention, and we have published half a dozen reports on trends in volunteering to serve as a roadmap to best recruit volunteers. Second, by 2010 we hope to increase the numbers of Boomers in service by 3.2 million to 29 million. At the White House Conference on Aging, we launched a national campaign, called ``Get Involved,'' to tap the vast experience of the a highly educated, healthy, and skilled cohort of 77 million Baby Boomers to serve and give back. Third, we will motivate the enthusiasm of college students and plan to increase the number of college students engaged in community service by 2.7 million to 5 million by 2010. Things are moving in the right direction. In a survey of college freshman, the Higher Education Research Institute reported that two out of every three entering college students believe it is essential or very important to help others who are in difficulty, which is the highest level it has been in the last 25 years. We were overwhelmed by the response to the first-ever President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll--a program that recognizes outstanding community service on college campuses. Over 500 colleges applied in its first year. And finally, we know that service instilled at a young age can lead to service habits that last a lifetime and help youth take ownership of their problems, rather than feeling like victims. Therefore our plan calls to engage 3 million youth and children from disadvantaged circumstances in service and provide mentoring to 5.5 children and youth, since we know that 15 million at risk youth do not have a mentor. Last year we launched a Federal Mentoring Council and a National Mentoring Working Group, comprised of leading nonprofit and private sector groups who work with disadvantaged youth. As our Board Chairman Steve Goldsmith, the former mayor of Indianapolis, said when the strategic plan was launched, ``We believe that a better future for all Americans will include a more widespread culture of service, more opportunities for all young people to succeed, more schools that encourage citizenship, and more older Americans using their lifetime of skills to give back to their communities.'' We are excited about where we are going as an agency. To help us move towards our goals, the President has submitted another strong budget request--of $828.7 million--for the Corporation in fiscal year 2008. This budget, which will support 75,000 AmeriCorps members, over 500,000 Senior Corps members, and 1.3 million Learn and Serve America participants, is an important sign of this nation's commitment to service. It also provides key resources, leveraging the work of a national network of partners that engage volunteers, from state and local government to businesses to nonprofit, faith-based, and community groups. The challenges our nation faces are daunting. But since the early days of this republic, volunteers and an engaged citizenry have made America great. Again, we must focus on what we owe today's 16-19 year olds, who are twice as likely as the generation before them to volunteer. Our job is to fan that spark because our nation can't hope to achieve its potential unless we all do our part. The Corporation's mission--to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering--has never been more important or more connected to the most pressing social challenges of our day. We look forward to working with this committee to meet the challenges of our time. ______ Chairwoman McCarthy. Thank you for your testimony. I see that Carol Shea-Porter from New Hampshire has joined us, and I appreciate that. I want to thank you for your testimony. I now recognize myself for 5 minutes. Reading your testimony in the last couple of days, you mentioned that the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is one way of motivating college students to serve. Are you thinking at all about possibly bringing a program like that to our high schools? Mr. Eisner. Yes. We actually had for a while a presidential freedom scholarship where we were honoring service, and it was a useful tool to help recognize some levels of service, but we weren't seeing that we were driving in any sort of sustainable way the kinds of service that was the most effective in the community or connecting the school institution. The reason that it is important to do in higher ed is because we need the institutions to pay attention to their-- usually they have a double motto: ``We are building citizens and we are preparing people with skills.'' In high school, we find that Learn and Serve America, which is our service learning program, is a more effective way to try to build institutions that connect service to the contextual learning environment so that our kids get on to the onramp of service. Chairwoman McCarthy. My time is up already. Wow. No? Okay. Mr. Platts. Your time is never up, Madam Chair. [Laughter.] Chairwoman McCarthy. Do you have any suggestions for the committee on K-12 or higher ed policies that we should consider as we look at these laws, as we go toward reauthorization? Mr. Eisner. I think there are a lot of things we should be thinking about. Don't have specific proposals at this point for the committee, but I will tell you some areas you may want to look at. Certainly look at federal work study, which originally was conceived to support service activities, and yet that has become a smallish portion of the federal work study. I also think that we should be doing a better job of informing students that when they are getting federal work study they are allowed by law to ask their institutions to be placed in doing service rather than, for example, cafeteria work. So the federal work study is one place. I think another place to focus on is in the area of professional--teaching our teachers and education certification and making sure that service learning is something that our new generations of teachers, as they come out of their professional education that they know how to do service learning and how to engage our kids. Chairwoman McCarthy. That is great. Mr. Platts, would you like to ask some questions? Mr. Platts. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. Again, Mr. Eisner, I appreciate your testimony and your leadership for this very important program. I wish I had known that about the federal work study when I was in college. I cut a lot of grass, raked a lot of leaves on the campus. I would rather have been out in the community probably doing service, so I am glad to know that and shared that with my institutions to encourage their students today. There are a host of issues that you touched on that I think are so important as we go forward, but the one that in your testimony kind of correlates to a subsequent witness, Mr. Daigle, in his written statement he says, ``Service sticks.'' In other words, if you get started young, it stays with you through your lifetime. You touched on that. And the impact, the positive impact, such as those children of prisoners and getting them engaged, they are less likely to be in prison. We try to follow that at home ourselves, my wife and I, with our children, 7 and 10, getting them--we ring the bell for the Salvation Army each holiday season. We go to help serve meals and things. Is there any consideration of trying to mesh the work you are doing with foster children who are aging out? And is that at 18 when they typically age out of foster care? Mr. Eisner. They age out at 18. We are trying to work with them before that. Mr. Platts. Right. Is there any consideration to give them additional consideration for going into the NCCC program as a way to help them, as instead of being homeless, getting them into a residential program of service to try to mesh those two areas? Mr. Eisner. Yes. In general, we are working within the NCCC program to try to make the program more welcoming overall of youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. And that is certainly an area that within NCCC they would be extremely sensitive to. I want to quickly note that Merlene Mazyck, the director of NCCC, is here, and that is an area she is attentive to. Mr. Platts. Right. It seems it would be a natural match, and the evidence and your statistics or the benefits to that individual, that foster child, as they are aging out, and to the community, again, at large would be significant. Appreciate that that is something you are looking at. In your testimony, you talk about the various areas, and in my own experiences, I have worked with AmeriCorps workers, partnered with Habitat, building homes in my district with Senior Companions, helping other seniors stay in their home settings. But you touched on education, public safety, public health, environment. What guidelines or what process is involved from the national level of deciding we are going to commit this amount of grant money to education related or to health care, public safety, the environment? Or is that left to really the state and local partners more so than a national formula in each of those areas? Mr. Eisner. It is really right now a combination. A huge amount of the consideration starts when we see what the application pool looks like in any given year, which helps us understand what the demand is. But assuming an equal or an unchanging pool, currently the board has set four priorities. We particularly want to be making sure that we are supporting disadvantaged youth. We want to be making sure that we are getting ready for the tsunami of the boomers and that we are welcoming them. We want to be better engaging students in higher ed to support in their communities. And, overall, we want to grow American volunteering to 75 million. So those are loose guidelines that we use as we construct our portfolio. But, again, the two things that are the most important is the demand that we are seeing across the portfolio and the quality of the individual programs. If an environmental service program is doing things that are outstanding with volunteers, that is going to be something that we are really interested in focusing on, because we want to support social entrepreneurship and we want to support excellence through our portfolio. Mr. Platts. One final question before my time is up, the way you break it out there is an annual review of the partners, but if they are in the process, they are likely to be renewed unless there is some reason not to. Is that a fair statement? Mr. Eisner. Every AmeriCorps grant is on a 3-year cycle, so their renewal for years 2 and 3 depends on whether they are hitting their basic benchmarks, but it is not really an open competition. And then for year 4 and for year 7 and so on, they engage in an open and pretty rigorous competition. Mr. Platts. And those benchmarks are something agreed to between the corporation and the partner upfront? Mr. Eisner. We put out regulations, and we have moved all of our components of the grant-making consideration process really into regulations so that our grantees have a really solid and reliable understanding of what we are going to use to measure them. Mr. Platts. Pretty standard across the board? Mr. Eisner. Yes. Mr. Platts. Okay. Thank you. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. Chairwoman McCarthy. I thank you for your questions. Generally, the chair will recognize members for questions in order of appearance but will additionally take into consideration members who stay during the testimony. Having said that, the gentlelady from New York, Ms. Clarke, is recognized for 5 minutes. Ms. Clarke. Thank you very much, Madam Chair, and congratulations on this very important hearing, being our first hearing and being your first time at the gavel, I understand. Mr. Eisner, welcome. Mr. Eisner. Thank you. Ms. Clarke. I think that it is clear that the answer or answers to the issues facing the volunteer community in certain programs have a common thread, and your testimony really touched on that. And that volunteer work both strengthens community bonds and individual members of the community almost simultaneously. The question that we may not be able to answer right now is, where will we find the citizens interested in participating in the service programs available to them? You talked about the baby boomers, and across the nation we know that there is this group that we call the baby boomers. Developing the desire to want to give and understand how these programs have worked I think is a very importance piece that we cannot underestimate, just sort of marketing and getting it out there on the ground. And the community, I think in anticipation of that, I think will help drive the success of what we are talking about. I will give you an example. In the mid-1990s, I was the director of the Bronx portion of the Empowerment Zone in New York City, and there I really believe some great work took place. And having access to VISTA in particular where we talk about capacity building and really enabling people to empower themselves was a great gift that those who participated received and those who were the recipients of the work received. And what it did too was promote the program and have people inquire, ``Well, how do I get into VISTA, how do I become a member of AmeriCorps?'' I just wanted to get a sense of what the growth and expansion rate has been for these programs, because, again, I think there is nothing that promotes a program more than actually hitting the ground and working in communities and using that as part of a marketing tool that sort of draws people into the program. Mr. Eisner. Thank you. As far as how the programs have been growing, we are pretty close to a high watermark on all of our programs. AmeriCorps has 75,000 members as a result of President Bush in 2004 increasing that by about 50 percent and then maintaining that level. And we are seeing since 1993 when it began we have been seeing steady growth of almost all the programs. There are some exceptions. I think one of the amazing things, though, is that we are seeing really rapid growth in the number of Americans that want to do service. And I want to note that most service--of the 65 million Americans that served in 2005, next to them the national service participants is relatively miniscule. The role of national service, I think, we are never going to be able to provide opportunities for everyone to serve, but we can provide a scaffolding, community by community, that allows lots of service to take place. Ms. Clarke. In your testimony, you pointed out four main goals to advance service participation across all demographics. It seems clear that an important facet of these goals is for the AmeriCorps education programs, which were originally allotted $10,000 per participant in the 1994 budget. Do you believe that increasing funding for these programs from the current $4,725 would allow for the growth you are aiming for? And, furthermore, would that increase allow you to afford the original intent under the Clinton administration that the program provide greater assistance for low-and middle- income families pay for college and for the AmeriCorps to increase participation by $500,000 per year? Mr. Eisner. Well, as you are aware, we have submitted a budget that, again, calls for 75,000 AmeriCorps members with the ed award at $4,725. I think that there is a real tough tradeoff that we have to understand: Do we want to raise the ed award potentially at the risk of--within a budget that may not grow that much--having fewer members in the program? Currently, we are finding that we are able to enroll members and even those programs, for example, the Youth Corps, that are reaching down into the toughest communities to enroll youth that are using AmeriCorps as a wrung up toward a better, more successful life, those programs are able to mostly fully enroll with the ed award where it is. Chairwoman McCarthy. The gentlelady's time has expired. Thank you. I notice that Mr. Grijalva has joined us. Thank you. The next member to speak will be Mr. Yarmuth. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes. Mr. Yarmuth. I thank the chairwoman. Congratulations on your first hearing as well. Mr. Eisner, thank you for your testimony. This committee, the full Committee of Education and Labor is going to be reauthorizing No Child Left Behind this year, attempting to anyway. Is there a role for national service programs in helping to deal with low-performing schools? And if so, how do you see that being done? Mr. Eisner. Well, across the board we are seeing national service programs already doing really strong jobs in low- performing schools. Our foster grandparents, we are spending, on average, 20 hours a week mentoring and tutoring in some of the hardest public schools. You are also going to hear a little bit later from an AmeriCorps program that likewise has older Americans, as Experience Corps, making changes. And we are seeing that as we get better at measuring results, this kind of citizen engagement in the schools actually improves the performance of the kids. Likewise, across the board we see VISTAs working within communities to make schools better, we have huge AmeriCorps mentoring programs, and we are also experimenting with programs that have college students work with high school students almost as mentors or more peer-like counselors to try to lower dropout rates and improve academic achievement. I think across the board there are enormous opportunities for citizens and service to help provide a needed boost in our public schools. Mr. Yarmuth. Thank you. This question may be a little bit off the subject, and if the chair thinks it is out of order, please, I invite you to rule it out of order. And you may not want to answer, but I am curious as to what your opinion might be about the role of faith-based initiatives and from a federal government perspective how that plays into the type of activity that you are involved in and whether there is a role for the federal government in supporting faith-based initiatives as well? Mr. Eisner. From my perspective, and our agency supports many faith-based organizations, the challenge is really simple: Where do we best engage citizens to solve problems? We draw a couple of lines. No organization is allowed to discriminate based on faith or religion or anything else that would be objectionable, and we are certainly not providing federal dollars in order for any organization to prostyletize. Once those are off the table, we find, for example, mentoring children of prisoners, it is enormously effective to engage a faith-based organization that go into congregations and churches and say, ``We need you to help mentor our kids.'' And a group like Amachi, which is a faith-based organization, has grown from doing this from mentoring 200 kids in Philadelphia to now I think 500,000 mentors that they get mostly from churches. Mr. Yarmuth. Thank you. That is very helpful. I yield back. Chairwoman McCarthy. The gentleman yields back his time. I would like to recognize Mr. Sarbanes from Maryland for 5 minutes. Mr. Sarbanes. Thank you, Madam Chair. I have to say, I think this is one of the most exciting committees to serve on, and this is one of the most exciting topics that we can examine, which is national service. There is a great quote from Martin Luther King, which I favor, where he said that anybody can be great because everybody can serve. And you are describing today the various opportunities that people have to do that. I have had the opportunity over many years to work with organizations that benefit from AmeriCorps volunteers, nonprofits. I worked with the Baltimore city school system for 8 years, it has one of the largest Teach for America programs in the country, I think upwards of 150 teachers there now, and worked very closely with retirement communities and senior living organizations. And I was interested in your description of how the baby boomer wave that is hitting us often is viewed as a burden that is coming, and there are aspects of that, but it is also a tremendous resource if we figure out a way to capture it. Also, I think City Year is the group from Boston, is it not? Mr. Eisner. They actually have 16---- Mr. Sarbanes. Sixteen now? Did they originate in Boston? Mr. Eisner. Their headquarters is in Boston. Mr. Sarbanes. Yes. Al Khazei and Michael Brown were law school classmates of mine. I believe they founded that program. I just had a couple of questions. The first is, a moment ago you said that we will never be able to meet fully the demand that is out there on the part of people who want to volunteer, which the goal is to build a scaffolding that allows that energy to be captured and distributed. Can you explain that a little bit more? Is it because you don't think the resources will ever be there at the level that they need to build a structure that can offer the opportunity to everybody or is it something else? Is it sort of like structural unemployment, there is always going to be a little piece that you can't capture? Mr. Eisner. I think there is sort of a few levels of that discussion. The first one has to do with resources, the second has to do with from a policy point of view, whether it is wise to take volunteering and say that in every instance volunteering should be federally supported. And then the third element is need. We have volunteering in America at a 30-year high. It seems to me that the job isn't now for government to figure out how to make all of those opportunities part of a federal program but the challenge is, how do we make sure that America benefits the most from that capacity to give, and how do we ensure that we give as many people the kinds of experiences that are required to within the community bolster that service. Just as a quick example, you are going to hear from Habitat a little bit later, last year they had about 500 members of AmeriCorps, and those 500 members of AmeriCorps recruited, trained and supervised 150,000 non-stipended community volunteers who were not part of a federal organization. And that is the kind of leverage that we would like to try to expand on. Mr. Sarbanes. That is a good answer. The second part of my question, which you have kind of begun to address, I guess, is, when you look at the various incentives that do require funding, which are the ones that you think are the most critical? And it would probably vary depending on the population that is seeking to serve, whether they are young, sort of, post- college-age students versus seniors in terms of what their needs are and so forth. But is the resource most important for, sort of, the stipend that goes to the individual volunteers and most important for the training and oversight of, sort of, infrastructure that is brought to bear? What are the critical pieces that you can't do without? Mr. Eisner. I think that different kinds of programs have different needs, and I wish there was one answer to that. But it has to do, first of all, with the kind of program. We definitely need more resources across America in infrastructure for nonprofits to be able to manage volunteers. We really do need that. And AmeriCorps tried to help provide that, and so does VISTA. We also find that when we are trying to engage particularly kids from disadvantaged circumstances and change their lives through the intervention of service, that is when the education award and the stipend is at its most crucial, because these are youth that otherwise would simply not be able, under their own resources, under their own steam, to be able to participate in those programs. And then sometimes, for example, in our Learn and Serve programs, the real important stuff is getting the curriculum right, getting the distribution right and figuring out how to communicate policy priorities so that leaders of our K-12 schools and leaders of colleges make it a priority that their kids become citizens as well as educated. Mr. Sarbanes. Thank you. Chairwoman McCarthy. The gentleman's time has expired. I recognize now Ms. Shea-Porter for 5 minutes. Ms. Shea-Porter. Thank you. I am looking at this list of the kinds of services that you provide in my district in New Hampshire, and I know what a difference it makes because I was a social worker and I saw working in senior programs a lot of people who came with RSVP and others, and it is very impressive and very, very necessary. But what I wanted to talk to you specifically about was Katrina and those from your program who were sent down after Katrina hit. I went there twice, and I have to tell you that I don't know what we would have done without AmeriCorps. I don't know what we would have done without the energy and the commitment of the youth down there. They were incredible. They were the ones who had the physical strength so often to lift all the very, very heavy food packages, they never complained, they suffered the hardship everybody else did. It was the most moving experience watching them, and I always had faith in our youth, but it really reignited that, realizing that for some of them I do believe it was the first time they actually felt like they were so critical to a mission in this country and so connected with our own people. It was a great experience. And the best part of it for me was sitting next to this young man all day long, chatting about this, chatting about that, and finally it got down to the stuff kids you don't like you to ask, ``Where did you go to high school?'' And he said he was from Massachusetts. And I said, ``Where did you go to high school?'' He said, ``I actually went in New Hampshire.'' And I said, ``Where?'' And sure enough, it was my daughter's school. So I took a message back to the principal that he turned out okay after all. And if he is listening, he was great. And I was very inspired by these kids. I have to tell you about the teamwork and the compassion that they showed one another, and you could see the leadership skills emerging in a place and a time that everybody was able to step up to the plate. They no longer had to wait for something to come down and be prompted; they were working on their own and had sense of purpose. And so what I wanted to ask you about, first of all, to thank you that they were there and to thank everybody who heads that program, and then I was surprised to find out that the funding was in jeopardy shortly thereafter, which astounded me thinking how fortunate we were that they were there. But what I wanted to ask you about was, I watched, and there were wonderful volunteers there, but there were obviously problems in Katrina. And I looked at some who were making quite a bit of money for being down there, and then I looked at these kids of AmeriCorps who were not and I wondered, did you ever figure out exactly what they were actually worth to the community and to the country. Because they don't work for a lot of money, as we know, and I have heard a lot of complaints about, ``Well, we pay health care, we pay this and we pay that,'' but the reality is, when I looked at the contractors--I sat on a plane next to a man when I was taking my second trip down there and he was telling me how the kitchen was open all night long, he could have a steak any time, he hadn't bought a bar of soap or anything in so long, and he was with a company that I won't name but they were doing fine. And then I went back and looked at the AmeriCorps crowd and they were sleeping on cots in the gym with everybody else and it was less than glamorous, I can assure you that. And we were eating the same food that we were serving people, but we were eating it hours later. So they sacrificed a lot. What was the economic value? I know what the emotional value was, and I know how much they helped the people of Louisiana where I was, but do you have any sense of what they are actually worth when we put them in a position doing the same job as if they had been provided for by a corporation? Mr. Eisner. No, we don't. That is a terrific question and something that we should look into. I can tell you that part of the reason it is difficult is because we tried very hard not to have our members and our participants simply saving costs, either from private or from other government agencies, local, state or federal. We tried to have our participants doing things that no one else would have paid to do and to have our participants helping people that otherwise would not have gotten that support. But I think the question is terrific. Ms. Shea-Porter. Yes. I think it does matter. I mean, it gives a claim to why this is so important for us to have. And when you stand there in a cold shower for the 15th day and you wait to stand in for the cold shower for the 15th day, there are lots of jobs like that that you don't have people who want to come and do that. So they did fill a need. So I just wanted to thank them if they hear this. I don't know if anybody is here. Thank you for your service because it was remarkable. And I know that long term the kinds of management skills and the kinds of compassion that you discovered in yourselves is a gift to America. I yield back my time. Chairwoman McCarthy. I thank the gentlelady. I would like to recognize Ranking Member McKeon for being here for either questioning or a statement. Thank you. I am sorry, I am messing your name up. Mr. Grijalva for 5 minutes. Mr. Grijalva. Madam Chair, I just want to thank you and congratulate you on this hearing and your chairmanship. It is going to be a pleasure and an honor to work with you on this committee. One question for submission of data, first, Mr. Eisner, and then a couple of quick questions. To satisfy maybe my personal curiosity or the curiosity of other members of the committee, down the road if you could provide us some statistical information relative to the diversity of the volunteerism programs that are under your jurisdiction, whether it be AmeriCorps, Senior, RSVP, et cetera. Not to belittle or question the effort of the volunteerism of the people that are there but just to kind of give us a mile post of what we need to be looking for in the future in terms of expanding the breadth of who could--not who could but who should be volunteering in this nation. I would appreciate that. Mr. Eisner. Thank you. We have that information, we collect it, and we are actually working against it. We would be delighted to share it. Mr. Grijalva. Thank you so much. I am going to go to one quick question. I have questions about the programmatic cuts in the budget. And thank you very much, your testimony provided us with a good picture of the state of volunteerism in America today, and the statistics you cite are absolutely positive. And thank you for that and your effort, and the corporation has done that. But the president's effort to support a call to community service seems to fall a little short in terms of the budget. And there are cuts in Learn and Serve, Foster Parents, AmeriCorps, the NCCC budget is cut in half, losing over $15 million. And at some point, as this committee looks at either restoration of funding to support those very critical areas for civic engagement in America, I probably will want to some more reaction to that. And I won't belabor the point right now, it is just that I think those cuts, if we are asking this nation, whether baby boomers like me or others, what is going to be the support structure under our call for volunteerism, and I think these problematic cuts affect that structure underneath the footing for volunteerism in America. But let me ask you, the agency's March 2006 report on service learning talked about high school students are much more likely to participate in those efforts than middle school students. In fact, 50 percent of the participants are more likely coming from private schools and not public schools. So I have a personal issue--not issue but a personal interest in the fact that I think that the personal development aspect of middle schools is critical, critical to success later on. And I was just curious of what you think we can do with the service grants in our nation's middle schools to promote middle school participation and engaging more public school children in school-based service. Particularly when we are talking about No Child Left Behind and how that integrates with the civic volunteer involvement that you are promoting. With that, Madam Chair, that is my question. Thank you. Mr. Eisner. It is a critical question around what we need to do to get more middle school students engaged in service learning. I was just at a 2-day conference that brought all of our youth providers together under the Collaboration for Youth and the Alliance for Youth. And they focused on this particular issue as a very important one. We are trying to do it through dissemination of best practices, through better training of teachers, through trying to get our VISTAs, AmeriCorps members, Foster Grandparents more effective in those areas. We do think that there are some connections that can be made against No Child Left Behind, and there are things that can happen at the state level as well. We are seeing more and more governors become interested in service learning as a central element to their education policy. So we think there are a lot of ways to go. And I appreciate your raising the budget issues and look forward to sending some information to you. I just want to note that we do believe that we will be able to hit the goals that we have set with the budget that we have requested. Mr. Grijalva. Thank you. I yield back, Madam Chair. Chairwoman McCarthy. I thank you. I thank the gentleman. I want to thank Mr. Eisner for your testimony, and as we go forward on working on a markup down the road, I hope that we can use your input. With that, I would like to thank you again in your appearance today. We can now bring forward the second panel for testimony. Mr. Eisner. Thank you. Chairwoman McCarthy. Mr. Platts? Mr. Platts. Thank you, Madam Chair. While the second group of witnesses is coming up, if I could ask unanimous consent, Chris Shays, who is co-founder and co-chair of the National Service Caucus, has submitted a statement, and I would like to offer that for the record. Chairwoman McCarthy. Any objections? Accepted. [The statement of Mr. Shays follows:] Prepared Statement of Hon. Christopher Shays, a Representative in Congress From the State of Connecticut; Co-Founder and Co-Chair, National Service Caucus I applaud Chairwoman McCarthy and Ranking Member Platts for holding this hearing and for their leadership on and commitment to National Service. I appreciate the opportunity to offer my observations on National Service. Low-Cost, High-Impact Investment I believe National Service is one of the wisest and least costly investments our government can make. For example, in Fiscal Year 2006, two million people serving through Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) programs provided 216 million hours of service, and recruited or managed another 1.8 million volunteers. The market value of the CNCS volunteer programs in 2006 alone is estimated to be between $1.8 billion ad $3.9 billion. In response to the destruction of the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina, more than 35,000 AmeriCorps, VISTA, NCCC, Senior Corps and Learn and Serve America program participants have contributed more than 1.7 million hours to the hurricane relief and recovery efforts, recruiting and supporting another 120,000 volunteers who have cleared tons of debris, served hundreds of thousands of meals, put tarps on thousands of roofs, and sanitized thousands of homes. In the Fourth Congressional District of Connecticut alone this year, the Corporation for National and Community Service is supporting over 1,000 Senior Corps and AmeriCorps participants. Sense of Community Through service, Americans of all ages gain a sense of commitment to their community and their country which will prove valuable for their entire lives. According to the CNCS, 72 percent of AmeriCorps members continue to volunteer in their communities after their term of service ends and 87 percent of former AmeriCorps members accept public service employment. National service benefits both the recipient and the volunteer. Volunteers not only address an immediate need, they lead and teach through example, and through that example they learn the value of serving and helping others. I still remember how I felt as a 14 year-old watching the 1960 Presidential election between Vice President Richard Nixon and Senator John Kennedy. I felt energized listening to Senator Kennedy when he spoke of the Peace Corps and making the world a better and safer place. I wanted to be part of his vision. Years later, that dream was fulfilled when my wife Betsi and I served two years in the Peace Corps. The same powerful emotion, the same sense of energy, eagerness and anticipation we felt in the sixties, is alive today. A recent study by the Higher Education Research Institute found that more than two-third of the 2005 college freshman class expressed a desire to serve others--the highest rate in a generation. President Bush spoke to our country's finest traditions of civic duty when he called on all Americans to volunteer 4,000 hours in their communities during their lifetimes. In a little more than a month after the President made his call for Americans to serve, applications to AmeriCorps programs at the Corporation increased by more than 50 percent and interest in Senior Corps programs at the Corporation rose dramatically. The best antidote to terror and hate in society are acts of kindness and service. ______ Mr. Platts. Okay. Thank you. Chairwoman McCarthy. At this time, I will be yielding to my colleague from Arizona, Mr. Grijalva, to introduce Mr. Gomperts. Mr. Grijalva. Thank you, Madam Chair. And I am pleased to welcome to the committee Mr. John Gomperts, president of Civic Ventures and CEO of Experience Corps, an AmeriCorps competitive grant recipient whose members tutor and mentor elementary school students that are struggling to learn and read and succeed. Throughout his career, Mr. Gomperts has been deeply involved in promoting civic engagement, serving in leadership positions both in government and nonprofit sector for over 20 years. As CEO of Experience Corps since 2003, he has led a major expansion of the program with much success. Last December, having minimal or rudimentary knowledge of what Experience Corps was, I had the chance to visit Experience Corps' site in my district. I was very impressed by the work I saw Experience Corps doing at Walter Douglas School in Tucson where the program is sponsored by the Volunteer Center of Southern Arizona. Experience Corps' tutors, aged 60 to 90, were clearly valued. They were part of the staff, they worked with 2nd and 3rd graders, volunteering 4 to 15 hours weekly to help these children be excited about reading, learning and expanding, in many cases, their limited horizons. In the next few years, people my age--and it is kind of an interesting notation, baby boomers, I am still looking for what the definition is--will move into their second careers-- hopefully voluntarily for me, but let's see how that works-- with a goal of giving back to our communities everything our communities have given us. I know there is a huge potential in America, certainly in my home state, for this population to make a difference. And I look forward to hearing the remarks of Mr. Gomperts. Thank you. Chairwoman McCarthy. Thank you, Mr. Grijalva. Now, we would like to introduce David Edelman, who is from Merrick, my district, in New York. David is currently a student at Hofstra University, studying to become a teacher. David is a former AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps member who provided a variety of services, including building houses, organizing summer programs for people with special needs and teaching summer youth programs. I am looking forward to hearing your testimony. Next, we will hear from Tommy Daigle. Mr. Daigle is a former AmeriCorps member who helped with the aftermath of Katrina and participated in the building of over 80 houses in North Carolina, Florida, Mississippi and Texas. He is currently a bike and build trip leader, and his responsibility is planning logistics and support for 30 college students on a 3,700-mile ride from Providence, Rhode Island to Seattle, Washington. Mr. Daigle currently leads riders on Habitat for Humanity, builds sites and conducts interviews with local press. He is also a NOLA service week coordinator and is planning for a week of service building with New Orleans Habitat for Humanity. Gentlemen, thank you for joining us. Now, I would like to yield to the Ranking Member Platts to introduce Mr. Moore. Mr. Platts. Thank you, Madam Chair. I am very honored and proud to introduce George Moore, executive director of the Community Progress Council in York, in my hometown of York. George is one of our most distinguished citizens, leading this very important agency. In his work as executive director, he oversees a countywide, multipurpose community action agency with a budget of over $5 million. It encompasses over nine different community programs with over 200 staff members. One of the programs he oversees is York County Foster Grandparent Program, made up of more than 60 foster grandparents. This is the largest community service program administered through the Corporation for National Community Service in my congressional district, and foster grandparents tutor and mentor students as well as assist organizations that serve abandoned or abused babies, and we are going to hear more about that program from George. Before his current position at Community Progress Council, he served as child development director at Head Start of York County. So we are grateful to have you here as well and to join our other witnesses. Chairwoman McCarthy. Thank you, Mr. Platts. I am just going to go over the lighting system one more time. Each of you will have 5 minutes. When the green light is on, you start; when you see it going to yellow, wind up; when it is red, finish up. Thank you very much. Our first testimony will come from Mr. Gomperts. STATEMENT OF JOHN GOMPERTS, CEO, EXPERIENCE CORPS Mr. Gomperts. Thank you, Representative Grijalva, for that introduction. And I have to say I am so delighted that you were able to come and visit our program and see it in action. Madam Chair, members of the committee, as you heard, I am John Gomperts, president of Civic Ventures and the CEO of Experience Corps, and I really appreciate your inviting me here to join you today. Washington Post reporter Abigail Trafford recently called the emergence of an older, more vigorous population the most significant social story of our time. Now, that is good news for all of us individually, we can expect to live older and healthier, but in 5 years when 20 percent of the U.S. population will be over 60, will it be good news for America? Many pundits and analysts predict fiscal and social disorder, but I believe we can transform this potential crisis into an historic opportunity to solve problems and strengthen communities. My optimism is based, in part, in our success with Experience Corps, a national service program that engages Americans over 55 as tutors and mentors in public schools in 21 communities around the country. In Experience Corps, we have learned that all kinds of people over 55 can be mobilized to do the work that we need done in our communities. We have Experience Corps members who have argued cases before the Supreme Court and members who never finished high school. We have retired cops and file clerks. We have rich and poor and everything in between, and we have people of all races. But what Experience Corps members share is a desire for challenging assignments that produce real results on the biggest problems in our community--and it works. Experience Corps members are raising reading scores and improving academic performance in some of the neediest communities in the country. So if you take just one though away from our conversation today, I hope it is this: that the people who have finished their mid-life careers can be a workforce for good in the 21st century. Now, I am not naive. Turning the aging of America into a positive story is more than just spin. It is going to take creativity and experimentation and bold action, risk taking and looking to the future more than the past. We have seen some positive developments recently. This committee and Congress reauthorized the Older Americans Act last fall and included civic engagement language for the first time. We look forward to working with you and with the Administration on Aging and turning that language into action and innovation. David Eisner's agency, with the president's help, proposed a new Boomer Corps, which we regard as a very promising development, and we hope that that can get adopted and funded. And in states around the country, governors and state legislators are starting to look at ways to continue to engage older adults in service and work. Just today, in New York, this morning, a package of bills was introduced in the legislature that we think is very, very promising. These are good developments, but with a phenomenon the size and the magnitude of the aging of America and problems so significant and persistent dogging our communities, there is no advantage to thinking small today. To meet the challenge, let me offer the beginnings of four ideas to engage more boomers in high-intensity, high-impact service. First, we should create an Experience Fellows Program, modeled on the White House Fellows Program and other successful fellowship programs. The fellows would be placed in nonprofits and the fellowship would provide a pathway for people to bridge from their midlife careers into new opportunities to work for the greater good. Second, let's consider a reverse G.I. Bill to help midlife individuals get the education and training they need to take on new work in high-needs fields. People would repay the cost of the education and training in years of service after they got the training. Third, some of you may be familiar with the Troops to Teachers Program. This is a hugely successful program. Let's figure out how to expand it and extend it beyond military personnel and beyond just teaching. Fourth, going to something that was asked by a couple of the members, we need a new innovation fund to support nonprofits, like Experience Corps and others, that want to test new ways to engage boomers in service and in work. So let me be clear in wrapping up, we don't believe that engaging people is an end in itself. This committee and the Congress have a big, big agenda shared by the American people: Who is going to do all this work? Those in the second half of their adult lives are up to the task. They are ready to take the responsibility to tackle big problems. National service is a way to help them get there. Let me just close by quoting management guru Peter Drucker, who famously said that, ``The best way to predict the future is to create it.'' So I thank you for the opportunity to be here today, and I look forward to working with the committee and all of you individually to create a story about the aging of America that is good for individuals, communities and the country. Thank you. [The statement of Mr. Gomperts follows:] Prepared Statement of John S. Gomperts, President, Civic Ventures; CEO, Experience Corps Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify. I am here today as the President of Civic Ventures, a think tank and program incubator dedicated to helping America gain the greatest return on the experience of our citizens. I am also CEO of Experience Corps, one of Civic Ventures' signature programs, which engages Americans over 55 in intense tutoring and mentoring in public schools in 21 communities around the country. For 10 years now, we've seen the impact of thousands of Experience Corps members on children struggling to learn to read. Rigorous independent research has proven that Experience Corps boosts student academic performance and reduces negative behavior in school, helps schools and youth-serving organizations become more successful, and enhances the well-being of Experience Corps members. Notably, 70 percent of Experience Corps members come from the immediate community of the schools in which they serve, so beyond bolstering the students and the schools, these members are building stronger communities in some of our most needy neighborhoods. This hearing takes place at an opportune moment, as 78 million baby boomers, the oldest of whom are just now crossing into their 60s, begin to think about what's next. As children leave home and midlife careers run their course, most in their 50s and 60s today are not, contrary to popular images, thinking about full-time leisure. There is abundant evidence that boomers today are thinking about meaning, purpose, community service, and jobs that benefit the greater good. They are thinking about the world their children will inherit and how they can make it a better place. It is an opportune moment--and we have an extraordinary opportunity. With federal support, we can transform the aging of the baby boom generation from a crisis into an opportunity. Working together, we can engage millions of talented, experienced Americans as a new and powerful workforce for social good, mobilized to solve problems and strengthen communities. Backdrop The aging of America is likely to be the biggest demographic story of our times. Though the statistics about the changes in the make-up of the American population have become familiar, they are nonetheless breathtaking. The largest generation ever to pass through its 40s and 50s is now moving into its 60s. In five years, 20 percent of the population will be over 60. This will bring profound changes to schools and universities, to health care and housing, to transportation and the workplace, to virtually every institution in our lives. We are already having a debate about some of the consequences of an aging America. But so far that debate has been almost exclusively focused on the costs an aging society will add to programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The importance of these issues is undeniable, both for the financial and health security of individuals and for the fiscal solvency of the country. But the changes that the demographic wave will bring to the country go much deeper than these fiscal realities. A debate that focuses only on the burdens of aging will bring costs of its own--negativity, brewing generational resentments, an unhealthy sense of separation and isolation. We need to balance the scales by also exploring and debating proposals to capture the energy, idealism, and talent of millions of Americans who want to make a major contribution to the public good. But this goes much further and deeper than balancing the political scales; it goes to the question of how we will meet our nation's biggest challenges. We all want to see more children succeed, which means better education, better afterschool programs, more mentors. We all want to see a healthier society, which means more health professionals, particularly nurses and aides. We all rely on the nonprofit sector to meet community needs, but the nonprofit sector is facing an enormous workforce shortage over the next decade. Who will step in and do the work? The greatest source of new workers in these vital areas may, in fact, be those who have finished their midlife careers but who still want to work and need to work, those who are searching for both individual and social renewal. That's why in a nation filled with such profound needs in education, health care, and the social sector, and at a time when the nation yearns for a greater feeling of connectedness and community, to look away from the potential of engaging older adults would be as irresponsible as ignoring the costs of an aging society. So how do we move millions of boomers into the social sector? In the past, those who had finished working became volunteers. We have a proud history and tradition of volunteer service by older Americans, and we need to continue to engage people in the second half of life as volunteers. But as we look ahead, we can expect that many more people are going to stay in the workforce, or return to the workforce. Survey after survey shows that 75% percent of people expect to ``work in retirement.'' What jobs will they do? In 2005, the MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures New Face of Work Survey found that aging boomers have a strong desire to launch a new chapter in their working lives that involves significant social contribution. Individuals over 50, especially adults between 50 and 55, showed a surprisingly high level of interest in making shifts from their intense midlife careers to new pursuits that improve life in their communities. This desire for meaning in the post-midlife years has the potential to meet widening human resource shortages in sectors like education, health care, and social services. However, only 12% of these 50+ adults think it will be very easy to find jobs where they can make a difference. Therein lies the opportunity--and the challenge. Volunteer service can open the door to meaning and contribution. It can provide training. And it can be a pathway to paid employment in service of the greater good. Principles for new policies A one-size-fits-all federal program for older Americans is unlikely to be affordable or to meet the diverse needs of members of the baby boom generation. But we do need new policies to spark innovations and capture the opportunity of an aging society. So I'd like to suggest several key principles to guide the development of new policies. Support innovation and experimentation by individuals and organizations. We simply do not know yet what type of programs will attract members of the baby boom generation into significant service and volunteering. We also do not know what type of approach will work best for the organizations and institutions that engage volunteers. Under the circumstances, a period of intense innovation and experimentation is most appropriate. Even with plenty of innovation and experimentation, it is not realistic to believe that any single program will appeal to everyone or to every organization. If nothing else, the boomer generation is known for wanting choice, so policies must avoid the search for the silver bullet program to engage everyone and, instead, work to develop a menu of appealing opportunities for individuals and organizations to connect. Build on what we've learned. While seeking innovation, should not not leave behind what we have learned through the successes of existing programs. For instance, through Experience Corps, we have learned much about the importance of producing measurable outcomes for students and Experience Corps members, we have seen the value of a team-based approach, we know that continuous learning and leadership opportunities are vital. We know that when you have all of these components, you produce real results in the community and real satisfaction for participants. Make it possible for new organizations to come into existence and for existing organizations to innovate. One of the successes of AmeriCorps is that it helped brilliant new organizations like CityYear, Public Allies, Citizen Schools, Teach for America and others to come into existence and flourish. It also brought new energy and resources to more established organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the American Red Cross. An effort to engage people who finished their midlife careers in service and volunteering should have the same type of impact--to fire the imagination of social entrepreneurs who will start new programs and organizations, and to reinvigorate existing organizations that will be looking for new talent. Attract the broadest possible range of participants. Like AmeriCorps, new civic engagement endeavors should be open to all participants--no limitations based on income, education, health status, or ability. The focus should be meeting community needs and solving community problems--not on keeping older adults engaged. Look for pathways to work, not just service opportunities. One of the great successes of AmeriCorps is that it has become a training ground for new staff and leaders in non-profit organizations. The same is true for Experience Corps members. It's not unusual for people to start as Experience Corps members--tutoring and mentoring young people--and then to move into staff jobs running the program. Service opportunities for people who have finished their midlife careers should include the possibility of opening doors to paying jobs. Draw champions and support from leaders in both parties. In a time of division, people have a hunger for ideas that bring people together to solve problems. Civic engagement has that potential. Each recent President (Bush, Clinton, and Bush) has advanced a major civic engagement agenda (Points of Light, AmeriCorps, and USA Freedom Corps). As significant, each has actively supported the civic engagement proposals of the others. A major proposal focused on older adult civic engagement should seek to extend that bipartisan enthusiasm. Two recent developments are notable and heartening. Last fall a bipartisan group of House and Senate members came together to reauthorize the Older Americans Act. For the first time, that legislation contained significant civic engagement language. We look forward to working with the Administration on Aging and this Committee to see that language lead to new action and innovation. And the budget the President sent to Congress earlier this month contained a proposal for a Boomer Corps, which would develop a new menu of flexible opportunities for individuals to choose one time, periodic, or intensive volunteer activities, an idea and innovation that holds real promise. Four ideas With needs of society and the principles outlined above in mind, here are the broad outlines of four policy proposals to significantly advance the civic engagement options for people who have finished their midlife work and who want a chance to make a major commitment and contribution to the public good. Experience Fellows. People who are seeking to make a major commitment to service and good work often suffer from a lack of access to and knowledge of opportunities. People are not certain what they want, and organizations are not certain that they can make a long-term commitment. For many young people, we have eased this transition with internships and fellowships that provide an entry point and structure for gaining experience, while also giving organizations an inexpensive labor pool and a concrete way to engage young people. An Experience Fellows program would create a similar pathway and structure for people who have completed their midlife careers but seek a way to enter into a period of work for the public good. The program would be modeled on the best aspects of the White House Fellows Program, VISTA, and the Coro Fellows. People would apply for and be accepted as Experience Fellows. Each Fellow selected would receive a voucher that enables him or her to go to any nonprofit organization or public agency and seek an assignment. The voucher would cover a stipend for the Experience Fellow and also provide funds to support training for the organization where the Fellow works. Organizations would compete to attract Experienced Fellows. The Experience Fellows program would start as a federal pilot program, moving up to as many as 1,000 Fellows per year. However, the fellowship model could be replicated on a state and local level, and could even be replicated by private sector employers who want to help employees nearing retirement transition to nonprofit or public sector jobs. Reverse GI Bill. The GI Bill established the basic concept of rewarding service with educational opportunity. It was one of the great successes of the 20th century. For people who have finished their midlife careers and who want to move into work or service in the nonprofit sector, a reverse GI Bill can provide similar benefits. Many people who want to move into high-need professions like education or health care will need a period of training or education. In some instances, people might need to gain a credential or certificate. The student loan approach may not be practical for people in their middle years. The Reverse GI Bill, modeled on the ROTC and Public Health Service Corps approach, would support midlife individuals in getting education and training; the people would then repay the educational support by a period of service in a high-need profession. One year of education or training would be repaid through two or three years of service or work. Expand Troops to Teachers. The federal government already has a highly successful transition program called Troops to Teachers. In the past dozen years, some 9,500 veterans have received support to gain teaching credentials and then been recruited into teaching and administration jobs in high-need areas. The program has been a great success, winning plaudits from principals, educators, and independent evaluators. Recognizing the success of Troops to Teachers, Congress directed a study of a proposal to create a Troops to Nurse Teachers program that would recruit Army and Navy medical corpsmen and women to become nurse educators, a profession that is suffering from a severe workforce shortage. Further extensions of the Troops to Teachers idea also hold promise. Why not extend the idea beyond military personnel? Other federal employees, for example, are eligible for an excellent retirement program after 30 years of federal service, allowing many to retire from the federal government in their mid-50s with many productive years left. They could benefit from a program that allowed them to transition to education or other high need fields. Organizational Innovation Fund. In the fall of 2005 the Corporation for National & Community Service put out a call for proposals for existing organizations to make special efforts to engage baby boomers. The Corporation required a stiff (2 to 1) private matching requirement to apply for these funds. After Hurricane Katrina, the Corporation narrowed the call for proposals to efforts responding to the disaster in the Gulf region. Even with these limitations and the challenging match requirement, the Corporation received a large number of proposals. The Corporation's experience with this one-time competition demonstrates that a comparatively small investment of federal dollars can stimulate nonprofit organizations to adopt new practices to engage older Americans in service and volunteering. Building on the Corporation's experience, an Organizational Innovation Fund would provide federal grants to nonprofit organizations that adopt new and creative ways to engage older Americans in service and volunteer work. The focus of the grants would be to create new opportunities for high- commitment, high-impact service. Through the operation of a matching grant requirement, these funds would bring additional private investment in older adult civic engagement. And by lodging the response in nonprofit organizations (either existing organizations or potentially new organizations), the fund provides the greatest chance for creative, risk-taking responses from the non-governmental sector. In closing, I'd hope we can work together to act on the tremendous potential of people who have finished their midlife careers to be the workforce for good in the 21st century. With federal support and the mobilization of millions of boomers, we can improve education, healthcare, and the social sector. Service and volunteering cannot be the whole answer, but well-designed programs and investments can lay a foundation for the big, bold changes that are needed to meet new societal needs and the needs and desires of members of the baby boom generation. Now is the time to start. ______ Chairwoman McCarthy. I thank you for your testimony. Mr. Edelman? STATEMENT OF DAVID EDELMAN, NCCC VOLUNTEER Mr. Edelman. I want to thank you for inviting me to speak today and granting me the opportunity to tell you about my experience in AmeriCorps NCCC. When I first entered the program in January 2005, one of our first tasks was to write a letter to ourselves addressing our aspirations for the year. Like most people, my letter focused largely on service work I wanted to do during the course of the program. I mentioned I wanted to provide relief during natural disaster, build a house for a family in need and teach children. Looking back at my experience in AmeriCorps, it is accurate to say that although I had the opportunity to engage in these activities, this is not the main reason for my feeling the program was a success. Just as important as the impact of my service work was the tremendous effect AmeriCorps NCCC had upon me. The National Civilian Community Corps experience is unique to the AmeriCorps family because it exposes you to a wide range of national and community service options. NCCC was a life-changing event for me. Since completing the program, I have enrolled in a master's program to become a high school social studies teacher. I have made good use of my AmeriCorps educational award, which has now been converted into college tuition. I currently student-teach a 12th grade economics class in a public school on Long Island. I strive to create coursework that promotes civic responsibility, and I believe my personal experiences will inspire many of my students to engage in community service and even join AmeriCorps themselves. Growing up, I was not regularly exposed to the challenges most Americans face on a daily basis. I participated in various community service organizations in high school and college but often became disillusioned with the work since it centered just on fundraising. In AmeriCorps, I got to do hands-on work that directly helps people. It wasn't until AmeriCorps that I became aware of the term, ``service learning,'' the idea of learning by doing. During AmeriCorps, I had the incredible opportunity to work with an organization called Common Bond, Minnesota's largest provider of affordable housing. My team was chosen to run educational youth programs for teenagers, and many of the residents were recent immigrants from east Africa who sought political asylum in the United States. This experience not only provided me with the knowledge that comes with teaching a diverse group of children, it also showed me the need for safe, affordable housing. In addition to learning about the need for housing, I had the opportunity to physically build eight houses with Habitat for Humanity in Liberty City, Miami. I will never forget one recipient of the Habitat house telling me how he developed a renewed faith in the government and the youth of America. As you said, it is easy to go about your life thinking no one cares, but then a group of motivated individuals come and you find your spirits raised. In a time when disaster recovery and homeland security top our nation's priorities, a strong and well-trained AmeriCorps NCCC is vital. From day one, we trained in disaster relief services and were ready to deploy at a moment's notice. After Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, every team from our campus, except for my team and one other, deployed to the Gulf coast. I was very disappointed to be left behind, but I knew I had another important service project to complete. In the Gulf, my fellow corps members were working tirelessly to field calls, remove debris, staff supply warehouses and coordinate relief efforts. National and community service is one of the most important missions a government can pursue, especially considering we live in a country that funds so many programs to help the rest of the world. The fact that an organization like AmeriCorps even exists makes me proud of my country. I think I speak for all my fellow teammates when I say, ``AmeriCorps NCCC leads to a lifetime of service.'' Many of my friends are now America's fire fighters, Red Cross staff, social workers, counselors, volunteers and teachers like me because of their experience in AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps NCCC creates a new breed of young and passionate leaders that are in tune with the needs of the country and intensely dedicated to national and community service. Again, thank you very much for your invitation to speak. If you have any questions, I would be more than happy to answer them. [The statement of Mr. Edelman follows:] Prepared Statement of David R. Edelman, Former AmeriCorps*NCCC Member I want to thank you for inviting me to speak today and granting me the opportunity to tell you about my experience in AmeriCorps*NCCC. When I first entered the AmeriCorps*NCCC program in January 2005, one of our first tasks was to write a letter to ourselves addressing our aspirations for the year. Like most people on my team, my letter focused largely on the service work I hoped to partake in during the course of the program. I mentioned that I hoped to have the opportunity to provide relief during a natural disaster, build a house for a family in need, work with children in an educational setting and participate in an effort to improve the environment. Looking back at my experience in AmeriCorps, it is accurate to say that although I had the opportunity to engage in these activities, this is not the main reason for my feeling that the program was a success. Just as important as the impact of my service work was the tremendous effect AmeriCorps*NCCC had upon me. It helped me to recognize the incredible power inherent in a group of determined individuals and my service ultimately gave me the confidence to pursue my passions in life. The National Civilian Community Corps experience is unique to the AmeriCorps family because it is a residential program for 18-24 year olds, which exposes you to a diverse group of people and a whole spectrum of national and community service options. Before entering the program, I only had vague ideas where my talents and interests lay. NCCC helped me realize my passion for education. Since completing the program, I have enrolled in a master's program to become a high school social studies teacher. I have made good use of my AmeriCorps educational award, which has now been converted into college tuition. I currently student teach in a twelfth grade economics class in a public school on Long Island. I strive to create course work that promotes civic responsibility and I believe my personal experiences will inspire many of my students to engage in community service and even join AmeriCorps themselves. Although my experience in the NCCC has been life changing, the decision to accept an invitation to the program was not easy. When I applied, I was a college graduate for a little over a year and was working at a marketing research company in New York City. At the time, the corporate world seemed like the logical next step after college. I was keenly aware that entering AmeriCorps*NCCC would require me to step outside my comfort zone and relinquish a large amount of control over my life. I ultimately decided to leave my job and join the program out of the desire to discover a path that was more in line with my ideals and aspirations. I also believed that the program would expose me to many of the unpleasant but important hardships of life. Growing up in a fairly affluent middle class community on Long Island, NY, I was not regularly exposed to the challenges many Americans face on a daily basis. I participated in various community service organizations in high school and college, but often became disillusioned with community service because much of the work centered on fundraising activities and not directly serving those in need. I desired service work that was focused on a specific community and centered on making individuals more aware of societal needs. I didn't know that what I was looking for in a service experience had a name until I arrived in the Denver campus for my training. There, I was made aware of service learning. Service learning is a foreign concept to most people. As an educator, I am well aware that the two goals of community service and education are often approached independently. But in AmeriCorps*NCCC this is quite the opposite. Each service project offers a unique, multifaceted learning experience. During AmeriCorps, I had the incredible opportunity to work with an organization called CommonBond, Minnesota's largest provider of affordable housing. My team was chosen to run educational youth programs for the children of residents that lived in the various CommonBond buildings. The experience not only provided me with all the lessons and knowledge that come with teaching a diverse group of children, but it also awakened me to the commitment government has to its citizens to ensure safe, affordable housing options are available to all members of society. I saw first hand that when a family has proper housing, they can begin to care for their other needs, including securing a job, going to school and becoming an active member in the community. A large proportion of the residents that lived at my housing site were recent immigrants from East Africa who were seeking political asylum. I heard first hand the horrors many of the families experienced in their homelands and the struggles they uncounted in making the transition to life here in America. I am now attempting to instill this same concept of service learning into my classroom. Just last week, when I introduced the concept of scarcity as the basis of all economic decisions, I provided my class with a global IQ test which required students to think about poverty, disease and other unmet human needs from a worldwide perspective. As I continue to grow as an educator, I aspire to introduce the concept of civics and service learning into Social Studies curriculum. Instead of merely discussing issues like poverty and homelessness with my class, I hope to have my students' experience these realities first hand by taking their learning into the community and serving as volunteers in soup kitchens and public housing sites. One of the strange things about being in AmeriCorps*NCCC, is it creates a sense of national community and identity that you cannot fully appreciate until you graduate from the program. When you are away from your campus on a project, it is often easy to become consumed with your specific mission and forget that you are part of this large movement dedicated to national service. Although I experienced this feeling of detachment, it often coincided with a memorable event. That memory instantly jogged my senses and reminded me that that I was part of something bigger than myself, my team or even a regional campus. This first happened to me during the middle of my first round project with Habitat for Humanity in Miami, Florida. Members of my team were at the airport awaiting flights to visit their families when a man walked up to me, shook my hand and thanked me for doing the work I do in AmeriCorps. He later told me that he was the recent recipient of a Habitat for Humanity home built by an AmeriCorps*NCCC team the prior year. With tears in his eyes, he told me that he developed a renewed faith in the government and the youth of America. As he said, ``It's easy to go about your life thinking no one cares, but then a group of motivated individuals come and you find your spirits raised. You kids don't just work; you elevate a person's faith in society. You will always be welcome in my house.'' When I flew home that day, I had never felt as proud of my involvement in a program. AmeriCorps*NCCC remains a distinct piece of my identity and how I choose to define myself. This summer I was astounded when my mother, a New York City teacher, told me that an NCCC team from the Perry Point, Maryland campus was working in her school. She told the Corps members that only a few months prior, her son was traveling around the country doing the same good work that they were doing. I can only hope that her words provided a similar awakening and a deep understanding--that they are not alone, but a part of something greater than themselves, a national organization of people dedicated to making positive changes in the world. In a time when disaster recovery and homeland security top our nation's priorities, a strong and well-trained AmeriCorps*NCCC is vital to victims' immediate and long-term needs. From day one at NCCC, we trained in disaster relief services and were ready to deploy at a moment's notice. After hurricanes Rita and Katrina, every team from our campus except my team and one other deployed to the Gulf Coast. Although this decision was completely out of my hands, it was hard to accept that we were left behind. We knew that we had important service work to complete in other parts of the country, but the Gulf Coast work was where the real excitement and hands-on opportunities were. In the Gulf, my fellow Corps Members were working tirelessly around the clock to field calls, remove debris, staff supply warehouses and coordinate relief efforts. I will never forget my friend, Elijah Washburn's story about how he single-handedly coordinated a team of medical volunteers for a residential doctor who established a clinic on his front lawn, in Pascagoula, Mississippi, to treat local residents. During and after any disaster, NCCC members are prepared to play a vital role in managing relief efforts. National and community service is one of the most important missions a government can pursue, especially for a country that funds so many programs to help the rest of the world. The fact that an organization like AmeriCorps exists renews my faith in our national agenda and elected officials. Although the program is only 10 months in length, I believe that my experience will stay with me for a lifetime. AmeriCorps*NCCC establishes national and community service as a way of life. I speak for all my fellow teammates when I say that AmeriCorps*NCCC leads to a lifetime of service. My friends from the National Civilian Community Corps are now America's firefighters, Red Cross staff, medical students, counselors, volunteers, teachers and yes, AmeriCorps members engaged in another year of service. AmeriCorps*NCCC creates a new breed of young and passionate leaders that are in tune with the needs of the country and intensely dedicated to national and community service. Thank you again for your invitation to speak. If you have any questions, I would be very happy to answer them. ______ Chairwoman McCarthy. Thank you for your enthusiasm. Mr. Daigle, 5 minutes. STATEMENT OF THOMAS DAIGLE, FORMER AMERICORPS MEMBER Mr. Daigle. Madam Chairperson and members of the committee, thank you for having me. It is an honor to be able to sit here, especially next to a fellow AmeriCorps. So, hello, my name is Tommy Daigle. I was an AmeriCorps member with Habitat for Humanity in Charlotte, North Carolina, from August of 2004 until July of 2006. I served two 1-year terms immediately following my graduation from George Mason University. It is a fantastic life-changing and humbling experience that developed my leadership skills through day-to-day physical labor, confronting new and different life experiences, helping others, interacting with people of all ages from all over the world, serving in a leadership capacity for people many decades my senior and feeling the exhausted satisfaction at the end of every day that I had done something for someone else. Why don't I take a moment to tell you how I came to service and what it has done for me. Both my parents are teachers, and they, from a very young age, instilled in me ideas and principles of social justice. I learned from them that when something is wrong you do have the power to change it, and you do owe it to your community, and even more so to the world, to put your ideals in motion and provide for its betterment. They never told me that I had to serve, but they raised me to be responsible and to know that I could make a difference. Mary Kay Turner taught my 11th grade world religions class and my 12th grade ethics class. She taught us to look at things in this world, good or bad, and make an informed opinion about them. She taught us not to sit and watch things happen but to use the knowledge and our opinions to get involved. We studied human rights leaders and activists throughout history, we studied movements of major non-violent social change. We studied and mourned those who were killed because of hatred, notably Mathew Shepard and James Byrd; both who were murdered in my senior year of high school. Mrs. Turner taught us that a broken system could be fixed, but it would never be fixed with complacency. If there were going to be changes, we would have to make them ourselves. The first time I ever heard about AmeriCorps was from a high school acquaintance who had joined AmeriCorps NCCC straight out of high school. I ran into him randomly a couple years later, and I barely noticed him, he changed so much. In high school, he had gotten into a whole lot of trouble. He barely graduated, he almost dropped out, and he had maybe a little more than experimented with drugs. After AmeriCorps, he was drug-free, attending college, and was continuing to volunteer, very enthusiastically, I will add. It left me with a very strong first impression of AmeriCorps. When I started researching how I could work with Habitat, I found out Habitat was an AmeriCorps grantee, and it seemed like a great fit. I decided to commit a year's service to Habitat AmeriCorps in North Carolina, and after that first year, as I had made my plan, I would return to Virginia and teach in the public schools. Needless to say, that 1 year ended up turning into 2. I had a good 2 years down there. We worked in 10-and 11- person teams based in Charlotte. We served as crew leaders for groups of people made up of bankers, lawyers, World War II vets, carpenters and home owners. They came to us, asked us what to do and expected us to be their leaders. We became a very tight-knit group. Over the 2 years, we built in the range of 100 homes in Charlotte, we led and worked with roughly 5,000 volunteers, and we grew into mature citizens. In addition to the work in Charlotte, we worked on houses in Fort Myers, Florida, Dallas, Texas and after Hurricane Katrina, in Jackson County, Mississippi. Serving in AmeriCorps prompts a growth in maturity in almost all members. Your job becomes a lifestyle that recognizes that you are working for things that are greater than yourself. There is a change in persona that occurs when you realize that you are making a concrete difference in another person's life. There is also a sense of civic duty and civic pride when you realize a change to the community that you are apart of. I want to tell a quick story that reinforces my belief in the importance of service and the jobs which we do. In the early summer of 2006, all Habitat AmeriCorps members met in Dallas, Texas, to build several houses. My teammates worked on a house along side the homeowners and AmeriCorps members from Fort Collins, Colorado; College Station, Texas; and Seattle, Washington. The house we were building, and the one next door, were both for former residents of the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. We quickly became close friends with the other AmeriCorps members working on the house and got to know the family who, in a few weeks, would be moving in. The family was made up of a married couple in their late 50s and their young granddaughter. They had been separated in the storm and were reunited months later in Dallas. Over a work week of 12-hour days we laughed, became close, worked hard and built a beautiful house. We were very proud of the results. At the dedication ceremony, we crowded together on the front porch and listened as the Dallas Habitat staff member presented a Bible, a loaf of bread, and a bottle of grape juice. The family was given an opportunity to give their thoughts. As they had explained how they were happy to be in New Orleans only to lose everything, the emotion overtook them. They held onto each other, crying, unable to do anything other than thank us and thank God for a new beginning. We could only congratulate them on the new start and thank them for what they had given us. We left Dallas convinced of the importance of our service and of the impact that it not only had on the families and communities but upon each of us. The big question that many of the teammates and friends would later share with me was this: Whose life was changed more by our service; did the work do more for the family or more for us? It is a question that outsiders laugh at but everyone who has served understands. I have met hundreds of AmeriCorps members through Habitat. Of the members that I have actually served with, more than half are currently serving with other nonprofits or in a public service capacity. Every person I served with continues to volunteer. Service sticks, and my teammates are proof of that. Thank you for your time, and I would be happy to answer any of your questions. [The statement of Mr. Daigle follows:] Prepared Statement of Thomas Daigle, Former AmeriCorps Member Hello. My name is Tommy Daigle. I was an AmeriCorps member with Habitat for Humanity in Charlotte, North Carolina from August, 2004 to July ,2006. I served two one-year terms immediately following my graduation, cum laude, from George Mason University. It was a fantastic, life-changing, and humbling experience that developed my leadership and life skills through day to day physical labor, confronting new and different life experiences, helping others, interacting with people of all ages from all over the world, serving in a leadership capacity for people many decades my senior, and feeling that exhausted satisfaction at the end of every day--that I had done something for someone else. Right now I am working as a bike messenger because I am dedicated to service and I need a flexible job until I finish work as a lead organizer for the Bike and Build team that will ride across the country this summer. This project will raise money for affordable housing organizations and will work at Habitat builds along the way. Once I finish that project, I will either attend law school, where I will study civil rights law, or I will go back into teaching. In the meantime, bike messengering gives me flexibility to dwell on service projects that a typical 9-5 job would not. I want to tell you how I decided to focus my life on service, and what that has done for me. I have three teachers to thank for my love of service: my Father, Donald Daigle, a teacher in Catholic schools and at Northern Virginia Community College; my Mother, Margaret Daigle, a special-ed teacher in the Fairfax County, Virginia public schools; and my high school teacher, Mary Kay Turner, who is now retired from Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia. My parents instilled in me social justice principles. I learned from them that when something is wrong, you have the power to change it and you owe it to your community, and the world, to put your ideas in motion and provide for its betterment. They taught me that I truly am my brother's keeper and I always will be. They never told me that I had to serve but they raised me to be responsible and to know that I could make a difference. Service is my path to change. Mrs. Turner taught my high school World Religions class when I was a junior and my Ethics class when I was a senior. She structured the class like a philosophy class, with strong ideals of Catholic social justice woven throughout. While she taught about broad concepts she taught us to look at things in this world, good or bad, and to form an educated opinion about them. She taught us not to sit and watch things happen but to use the knowledge and our opinions to get involved. We studied human rights leaders and activists throughout history. We studied movements of major non-violent social change. We also studied and mourned those who were killed because of hatred, notably Mathew Shepard and James Byrd; both were murdered in my senior year. Mrs. Turner taught us that a broken system could be fixed, but it would never be fixed with complacency. If there were going to be changes, we would have to make the changes ourselves. Mrs. Turner gave us the opportunity to put our fledgling ideals into action thru many service and activist possibilities she provided. In college, I focused on my studies so that I would be a strong teacher. While this was a good thing, it took me away from my ideas of direct service as a means of change. In my last year I took a class entitled ``Art as Social Action.'' The professors, Lynn Constantine and Suzanne Scott, were both brilliant educators and their class was the boost that I needed. On the first day of class they presented us with a quote from Bertolt Brecht, ``Art is not a mirror to reflect society but a hammer with which to shape it''. The quote fit perfectly and I decided instead of going directly into public school teaching I would serve for a year with Habitat for Humanity. I only had to find the means to do it. The first time I ever heard about AmeriCorps was from a high school acquaintance who joined AmeriCorps*NCCC when he was 18. I barely recognized him a few years later. While in high school he had gotten in trouble, experimented with drugs, and almost dropped out. After serving with AmeriCorps he was drug-free, attending college, and continuing to volunteer. It left me with a strong first impression of AmeriCorps. I researched how I could work with Habitat for Humanity and found that Habitat for Humanity was an AmeriCorps grantee. I realized I could help people who needed homes and serve in AmeriCorps. It seemed like a great fit. Another friend put me in contact with her cousin who served in AmeriCorps Habitat. I called her, thinking we would have a five minute conversation. She spent an hour of her time telling me all about her experiences and what to expect if I joined. I was taken aback that a stranger would spend so much time advising me. One of the things I now know is that that is so typical of people who serve in AmeriCorps. They want to tell others about their experience because they want them to have the same life-change opportunity to serve. Weeks later, I decided to commit a year of service to Habitat AmeriCorps in Charlotte, North Carolina. After the year, I would return to Virginia to teach in the public schools. Needless to say, one year turned into two. I had a fantastic two years. We worked in 10 and 11-person teams based in Charlotte. We served as crew leaders for groups of people made up of bankers, lawyers, World War II vets, carpenters, and homeowners. They came to us, asked us what to do and expected us to be their leaders. We all grew up a lot in the first few weeks, and we became a very tight-knit group. Over the two years we built close to 100 houses in Charlotte, led and worked with over 5,000 volunteers, and grew into mature citizens. In addition to the work in Charlotte, we worked on houses in Ft. Myers, FL, Jackson County, MS, and Dallas, TX. The structure of the Habitat Charlotte program incorporated AmeriCorps in everything we did--all the staff and volunteers understood what AmeriCorps was about and certainly had a great appreciation for the support AmeriCorps brought to the program. The training we received was very good. The supervisors were quick to give us responsibility and to put us in leadership situations but would only do so once they were confident that we would were up to the task. Within a few months all members were routinely running crews unassisted by staff members. For most of us this was our first experience in a managerial role. Serving in AmeriCorps prompts a growth of maturity in almost all members. Your job becomes a lifestyle that recognizes that you are working for things that are greater than yourself. There is a change in persona that occurs when you realize that you are making a concrete difference is another person's life. There is a sense of civic duty and civic pride when you realize the change in the community that you are a part of. I want to tell a quick story that reinforced my belief in the importance of our job. In the early summer of 2006, all Habitat AmeriCorps members met in Dallas, Texas, to build several houses. My teammates worked on a house along side the homeowners and AmeriCorp teams from Ft. Collins, Colorado, College Station, Texas, and Seattle, Washington. The house we were building, and the one next door, was for former residents of the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans who had lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. We quickly became close friends with the other AmeriCorps members working on the house and got to know the family who, in a few weeks, would be moving in. The family was a married couple in their late 50's and their young granddaughter. They had been separated in the storm and were reunited months later in Dallas. Over a work week of twelve hour days we laughed, became close, worked hard, and built a beautiful house. We were proud of the results. At the dedication ceremony, we crowded together on the front porch and listened as the Dallas Habitat staff member presented a Bible, a loaf of bread, and a bottle of grape juice. The family was given an opportunity to give their thoughts. As they started to explain how they had been happy in New Orleans and then lost everything, were separated in the evacuation of the Superdome and convention center, and had not known if the other had even survived, emotion overtook them. They held onto each other, crying, unable to do anything other than thank us and thank God for the new beginning. We could do nothing other than congratulate them on the new start and thank them for what they had given us. We left Dallas convinced of the importance of our service and of the impact that it had not only on the families and communities, but upon each of us. The big question that many of my teammates and friends would later share with me was this: ``Whose life was changed more by our service; did the work do more for the family or for us?'' It's a question that outsiders laugh at but those who have served understand. I've met hundreds of AmeriCorps members through Habitat. Of the members I actually served with, more than half are currently serving with other nonprofits or in a public service capacity. Every person I served with continues to volunteer. Service sticks. My team members are proof of that. The message I want to leave you with is that AmeriCorps members are working to make our country greater. We're proud of our work to improve our country and our communities. We hope that more opportunities will be made available to younger and older Americans. We have a lot of work to do and there's an opportunity for every passion. Thank you for this opportunity to tell you about my experience in AmeriCorps. I would be happy to answer any questions you have. ______ Chairwoman McCarthy. Thank you for your testimony. Mr. Moore, 5 minutes. STATEMENT OF GEORGE H. MOORE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COMMUNITY PROGRESS COUNCIL Mr. Moore. Good afternoon. Thank you, Chairwoman McCarthy, for inviting me to testify at the subcommittee. Thank you, Representative Platts, for your caring and committed representation of York County, Pennsylvania. My name is George Moore. I am the executive director of Community Progress Council, Incorporated, the federally designated community action agency for York County, Pennsylvania. I am going to just avert from what I have in my prepared remarks, only to say that I am very, very comfortable here today, certainly surrounded by Mr. Platts, a very diverse committee that I recognize and appreciate, and a picture of Congressman Goodling, who for a long time provided service in our community, preceding Mr. Platts. And, certainly, I am honored to be here with the other presenters today. Particularly impressed with the AmeriCorps workers themselves and their stories. Mr. Sarbanes has left but I need to recognize him also. I had to make an unexpected diversion through his city of Baltimore today, as 695 was closed in both directions on my trip down here. It made for quite an adventure. Thank you. For 8 years, we have had the privilege of administering the Foster Grandparent Program through a grant from the Corporation for National Community Services. The program has been very well received by our board of directors, the agency staff, clients and the community. With the Foster Grandparent volunteers, I frequently hear from them, ``The program and the children that we serve give me a reason to get up every morning.'' The mutual benefits that the at-risk youth and foster grandparents receive from each other are beyond measure. Children get compassionate one-on-one attention from a caring foster grandparent volunteer. The volunteers have a new purpose and meaning in their lives. In addition, there are physical benefits to the volunteers. By being busy and physically active, they are helped by having lower blood pressure and lessened effect of diabetes. Some of the background of our York County program I would like to share with you. Since the Foster Grandparent program started 8 years ago in York County, 132 volunteer foster grandparents have served approximately 375,000 hours. Forty-two of our volunteers have met and well exceeded the president's challenge by serving over 4,000 hours, earning them the lifetime presidential volunteer service award. Over the past 12 months, 63 volunteers have served over 58,000 hours, serving well over 350 children needing individual attention at 15 sites in York city and county. Five of them are faith-based institutions. At the end of the 2005-2006 school year, elementary teachers reported that children assigned to the Foster Grandparents, 91 percent of the children demonstrated improvements in reading, 92 percent improved their math skills, and 94 percent showed improvement in spelling skills. At the end of the 2006 school year, Head Start teachers reported that the children assigned to Foster Grandparents, 82 percent of the children were at age level of cognitive development and demonstrating a 7 percent increase since mid-school year, 86 percent were at level for social skills with an increase 26 percent since mid-year. I think one of the best ways to put a face on some of the programs is just to share letters that I have received from some of the groups that we have partnered with. This one is about a Grandma Sue who is a wonderful person. ``We are lucky to have her as an assistant in our classroom. She brings instant energy to the class the second she walks in. Her responsibilities involve many areas. She supplies one-on- one instruction with individual students, she gives guidance and helps to develop self-confidence in our students, she discusses decision making to help the students understand the consequences of the choices that they make.'' Another letter, I think, addresses one of the other questions. This is a letter that was written to the superintendent of the York city school district at the time. The letter is dated 2002, and it is from a Jim Sheffer, the Division of Federal Programs for the Department of Education in the state of Pennsylvania. ``No Child Left Behind law is new and emphasizes the importance of paraprofessionals. Everyone has a sharp interest in paraprofessionals. One of these persons who has an interest is my wife, Sam Sheffer, who teaches kindergarten at McKinley Elementary School in York, Pennsylvania. This program is important because of grandparents like Geraldine Buchanan. From the day the law was passed, Sam continually reminds me of the importance of Community Progress Council's Foster Grandparent Program. Ms. Buchanan is on time, works hard and helps the kindergarten children. Thank you. [The statement of Mr. Moore follows:] Prepared Statement of George Moore, Executive Director, Community Progress Council Thank you, Chairwoman McCarthy for inviting me to testify at the subcommittee. Thank you, Representative Platts, for your caring and committed representation of York County, Pennsylvania. My name is George Moore. I am the executive director of Community Progress Council, Incorporated, the federally designated community action agency for York County, Pennsylvania. I'm excited to testify in front of this committee, surrounded by Mr. Platts, and in front of a picture of Congressman Goodling who for a long time provided service in our community preceding Mr. Platts. And, certainly, I'm honored to testify with the other presenters. For eight years, we've had the privilege of administering the Foster Grandparent Program through a grant from the Corporation for National Community Services. The program has been very well received by our board of directors, the agency staff, clients and the community. With the Foster Grandparent volunteers, I frequently hear from them, ``The program and the children that we serve give me a reason to get up every morning.'' The mutual benefits that the at-risk youth and foster grandparents receive from each other are beyond measure. Children get compassionate one-on-one attention from a caring foster grandparent volunteer. The volunteers have a new purpose and meaning in their lives. In addition, there are physical benefits to the volunteers. By being busy and physically active, they are helped by having lower blood pressure and lessened effect of diabetes. Some of the background of our York County program I would like to share with you. Since the Foster Grandparent program started eight years ago in York County, 132 volunteer foster grandparents have served approximately 375,000 hours. Forty-two of our volunteers have met and well exceeded the president's challenge by serving over 4,000 hours, earning them the lifetime presidential volunteer service award. Over the past 12 months, 63 volunteers have served over 58,000 hours, serving well over 350 children needing individual attention at 15 sites in York city and county. Five of them are faith-based institutions. At the end of the 2005-2006 school year, elementary teachers reported that children assigned to the Foster Grandparents, 91 percent of the children demonstrated improvements in reading, 92 percent improved their math skills, and 94 percent showed improvement in spelling skills. At the end of the 2006 school year, Head Start teachers reported that the children assigned to Foster Grandparents, 82 percent of the children were at age level of cognitive development and demonstrating a 7 percent increase since mid-school year, 86 percent were at level for social skills with an increase 26 percent since mid- year. I think one of the best ways to put a face on some of the programs is just to share letters that I've received from some of the groups that we've partnered with. The one is about a Grandma Sue who is a wonderful person. ``We are lucky to have her as an assistant in our classroom. She brings instant energy to the class the second she walks in. Her responsibilities involve many areas. She supplies one-on-one instruction with individual students, she gives guidance and helps to develop self-confidence in our students, she discusses decision making to help the students understand the consequences of the choices that they make.'' Another letter, I think, addresses one of the other questions. This is a letter that was written to the superintendent of the York city school district at the time. The letter is dated 2002, and it's from a Jim Sheffer, the Division of Federal Programs for the Department of Education in the state of Pennsylvania. ``No Child Left Behind law is new and emphasizes the importance of paraprofessionals. Everyone has a sharp interest in paraprofessionals. One of these persons who has an interest is my wife, Sam Sheffer, who teaches kindergarten at McKinley Elementary School in York, Pennsylvania. This program is important because of grandparents like Geraldine Buchanan. From the day the law was passed, Sam continually reminds me of the importance of Community Progress Council's Foster Grandparent Program. Ms. Buchanan is on time, works hard and helps the kindergarten children. Thank you. ______ Chairwoman McCarthy. Thank you, Mr. Moore. Appreciate it. There are so many questions, and I have a few questions in front of me, but as each of you spoke, I am going, ``Okay, I want to ask each and every one of you a question.'' So I am probably going to have to follow up with you after the hearing so I can get your input. Now, Mr. Edelman, when you started, as you got into the program--actually, both of you, but also hearing on both sides talking about the Grandparents Program, how do we bring more people into the program and what can this committee do to help you reach out so on each segment of all the different programs that we can have the volunteers come in? Because, obviously, we need to constantly replace--I guess, certainly, the area that I am most interested in is that in my district we have a lot of underserved schools, we have a lot of gangs, and I certainly have been doing everything I possibly can to reach out on how to solve this problem. I know a number of times we have been talking about how do we get involved with children in middle school? Because we all are on the Education Committee, and with all the programs that are going on, we always seem to miss out on the middle school kids, and by the time they get to high school, a lot of times they have dropped out and we can't find them. So if anyone would--Mr. Edelman? Mr. Edelman. In relation to AmeriCorps NCCC, I think, first and foremost, the best thing that you could do is reauthorize funding for the program. Not doing so and not having secure funding greatly it sends the wrong message to anybody that is interested in the program. You don't know how disheartening it is to be accepted to a program and show up for training, yet you know that at any time funding could be cut and you could be sent home. I think there are a lot of people out there that are interested in the program and would consider joining the program but are uncertain because they are unaware of where the direction of the program is going, and they don't feel secure whether or not the program is going to be there to support them. So I think that is the first thing that you can do. Secondly, I think it is very, very important to in addition to continuing to give corps members the opportunity to promote the program through--in AmeriCorps, everybody has a specific team job. So one of them is specifically to promote the program and to go to community service organizations and speak at schools about AmeriCorps for recruitment purposes, which is wonderful, because you get people that are directly in the program that are advocating for the program, and they do, myself and the rest of our corps members, a wonderful job recruiting. Yet, I think a lot more can be done. I know firsthand that the program operates with very limited resources and, basically, they expect us to do a large part of the work. We need funds in order to maintain the work that we do but also to give our staff the opportunity to produce materials and to advertise to the larger community and to the country. And then, thirdly, I think another important thing is to maintain relations with AmeriCorps alumni. I think as an alumni, you are an incredible resource to the organization. You can become an advocate, and you also have the opportunity to, regardless of where your profession goes, to speak about the program, to involve people in the program and to educate people to that program. So I know that there are many organizations in the process of doing that with AmeriCorps alumni, and I strongly suggest that other organizations continue and put more effort into maintaining relationships with their alumni so they could build a base from the bottom up. Mr. Gomperts. I think one of the big, open questions is, how are we going to attract members of the baby boom generation--and I think many of us sitting around here are that generation--into service and volunteering in the future. We know a lot about programs that have operated in the past and very, very successfully, but when you look at those programs and you look at the demographics and education levels and so forth of baby boomers, it is not a perfect match. And that is why I say, I think we really need to use our imaginations to try to figure out what would attract us. We did a survey last year with the MetLife Foundation and found that in fact members of the baby boom generation are very, very interested in working for the greater good. More than 50 percent of boomers say they would like to be involved in education or health care or social services. Only 12 percent of them think that there are opportunities for them to do that. There is a mismatch that people are there but the opportunities aren't there. And if we think about ourselves, put ourselves into the picture, this is something we try to do at Experience Corps, our little motto to ourselves is, real problems, real work, real results. This boomer generation is one that has heard a lot about accountability and I think believes in accountability. I don't think people want their time wasted or used frivolously. They want to do things that really matter on the hardest problems. So as we think forward how to shape the kind of activities that engage people, let's not try to candy coat it or make it easy. Let's focus on big things that need to be done and giving people real responsibilities for getting them done. Chairwoman McCarthy. Thank you. Unfortunately, my time is up. Mr. Platts? Mr. Platts. Thank you, Madam Chair. I, again, appreciate all of your testimonies and the different insights you bring to this important issue. I may have attributed the statement earlier to the wrong witness, but, Mr. Daigle, I think you, in your written testimony, talked about service sticks and then also you said earlier in your testimony, ``Service is my path to change.'' Both of those statements are probably good, kind of, mottos or slogans for what we are talking about here and the importance of getting young people involved and how that will continue to benefit the community and also that true individual effort we can make a difference. And I certainly commend your parents that you reference in your testimony for their service as teachers and also the example they set for you, as you shared. I do want to get, Mr. Moore, George, to your testimony and expand on--you referenced the 15 programs. I thought it might be helpful if you give an example of the different types of settings in which your foster grandparents are working. I know some is with the York city school district but some are faith- based. If you can give, kind of, not all of the settings but an example of the different types of settings that you are partnered with. Mr. Moore. Certainly. Some of the sites are--a number of them are with public school settings, York city schools, with the elementary and middle school children. We have foster grandparents assigned to Head Start classrooms throughout York County. We have foster grandparents assigned to York Day Nursery, which is a private, nonprofit daycare program. Manitou, which is a middle school and high school program for troubled youth, has worked very well with our foster grandparents. I am trying to think of some of the other locations. Mr. Platts. Well, maybe a follow up of those different types. How did they come to you or you partner with them? How does that interrelationship occur and are there others who you are reaching out to or that are soliciting you to partner further with them? Mr. Moore. Yes, it really works both ways. Some folks we have met almost serendipitously in another meeting or setting and talked about what we had and they expressed some interest. We have also done outreach and kind of approached sites that we thought would work well. The Manitou site was one that we found really challenging and weren't sure whether the foster grandparents would be comfortable in that setting, and it takes the right match with the right grandparent to do that. And from the very onset of the program there were two that just were enthused beyond understanding to work with them, wanted to continue and spent a number of years involved with them, and that involvement continues. One of the other sites too is called the River Rock Academy, which is an alternative secondary school, so it is a very broad group of organizations that partner with us. Mr. Platts. In your testimony, you said that mutual benefit to the grandparents and the students, the children, is not measurable because it is, a common term now, priceless because there is such a significant gain to both. But you did share some examples on the academic side, both in the school setting and the Head Start academic. With the Manitou program, where it is youth that have gotten into some trouble, are there any outcomes that you have been able to identify that those who have participated in the Foster Grandparent Program that have kind of turned themselves around in the disciplinary area? Mr. Moore. I don't have any statistical information with me. I would be glad to try to get some, but I think part of the answer to that would be the highlight of one of our annual dinners at Community Progress Council. We were awarding a volunteer of the year award and it went to one of the foster grandparents who had worked with Manitou. The student from Manitou insisted on coming and speaking about how she had really reached out and really changed his life. It is that personal involvement and contact that really makes a difference. They are not there as an authority figure, per se, they truly come across as the caring grandparent. Mr. Platts. That personal testimony by that student might be better than any statistic that you actually could offer. So thank you, Madam Chair, and, again, my thanks to all the witnesses for being here today. Chairwoman McCarthy. Thank you, Mr. Platts. Mr. Yarmuth for 5 minutes. Mr. Yarmuth. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. I appreciate all your testimony. I am particularly interested, Mr. Edelman and Mr. Daigle, talking about and your discussing maybe your assessment of the types of people who get involved in AmeriCorps. You seem to come from fairly similar backgrounds, and I am interested in the extent of diversity in these programs and whether there might be things that the program could do or the way the program could be constructed that would help encourage more diversity if in fact that is a problem. You may disabuse me of that notion and say it isn't a problem. Mr. Edelman. In regards to AmeriCorps NCCC, I would say the program is diverse on so many levels. First off, one of the things inherently about the true, which is truly remarkable, it is specifically for 18-to 24-year-olds. The reason why that is so incredible is you have in the short year of ages the whole spectrum of people that have just graduated from high school, you have people that have some college experience underneath their belt and took a leave of absence in order to do a program like this, and you also have people that have recently graduated from college and then also people like myself who were involved in the business world for a year, didn't know exactly what they wanted to do and then used the program as a way of figuring out or beginning on a new path more in line with service work and their aspirations in life. So from that respect, it is wonderful because everybody mentors one another in terms of you have students that are just out of high school, this will be their first experience living on their own. And in addition to learning the life skills that you might learn in a college environment, you are getting an incredible sense of work experience and a wide range of different service options that you would never be exposed to in college. In addition to just being in the classroom, you are learning by doing, and you are learning about the numerous different ways that you can change America. And then in addition to that, you have people from all across the country, in all parts of the country. There were people from Puerto Rico, there were people from Hawaii. Every 50 states is covered. So, again, it is an incredible learning opportunity, because in addition to traveling around the country, and for many youngsters this is the first time they have had the opportunity to do that, to actually develop an appreciation for their country. They are living with such a diverse group of students in terms of age, in terms of where they live and also in terms of ethnicity. Personally, I am Jewish and for many of the people that were in my program I was the first Jewish person that they have ever met. And it meant a lot to me, and it led to, in addition to the type of service work that we were doing, learning from one another in regards to our religion, our ethnicities and our belief systems. Mr. Daigle. If I may? Mr. Yarmuth. Oh, please. Mr. Daigle. Yes. I am glad that Mr. Edelman found that. In my program, in Habitat, a lot of us noticed that we felt like it was not very diverse at all. I say that because at orientation, and we came every August, we would be in an auditorium, I think it was maybe 350 AmeriCorps, and it was mainly a post-college graduate crowd, and it was very few minorities, very few people who were not college educated. There were smaller age brackets. There were some older people, and there weren't that many exceptions. I know on my two teams, the first year, which was 10 AmeriCorps, and the second year, which was 11, every person on there came from similar social backgrounds, every person on there was Caucasian, and it was something which we noticed and we weren't especially happy about. As for ways to recruit around that, I am not sure I have that many answers, other than the fact I think that a lot of-- when I look at the people I went to high school with, pretty much everyone, they did not know about the educational award, which AmeriCorps was providing. And that is a great thing to persuade many people to look to serve for a year. A year of service is going to be very doable, and you are given an education award at the end of it. It makes it a very good thing, something most people would like to do. And so I feel like if all the benefits are shown, it would open up a very wide range. Because I know in my circumstance and from the people I served with, most of us have gone through college and then decided to go and serve. It was a very straight path for most of us. Mr. Yarmuth. Thank you for your answers. Chairwoman McCarthy. The gentleman's time has expired. Mr. Sarbanes, 5 minutes. Mr. Sarbanes. Yes, Mr. Gomperts, I had a question about--I mean, I suffer from not being able to see how we shouldn't be doing everything we possibly can, every minute of the day to promote these programs. Because as Mr. Daigle said, it is hard really even to discern who is the greater beneficiary, whether it is the one who is providing the service or the one who is receiving the service. And, frankly, you can't even tell which party is which in the equation if you really step back and think about it. So I would like you to speak to what you see as any areas or constituencies of resistance to this volunteer army. For example, I know coming into the Teach for America Program in its early years, for example, encountered resistance from the establishment, however you want to describe that, when it came into some schools. I wonder if there are other examples of that, what you take from it, what we learned from that, what the implications are for where the limits on volunteer service may be, et cetera. If you could speak to that. Mr. Gomperts. It is a good and important question. I heard what David Eisner said about not federalizing everything, and I certainly agree with that. I am one--I think David is probably one too--who would love to see a much more universal kind of service in the United States. And service, as demonstrated by Representative Platts' engagement and others, engagement on the National Service Coalition, is service and volunteering enjoy really a lot of bipartisan support. That is a great thing. But it is very rare that it is the absolute passion of anybody in politics. Service is nice, volunteering is nice, but it is not at the heart of what we are doing; it is on the periphery, at the edges. That, I think, is the problem. There is not somebody who is against this or there are very few people who are against this in any passionate way. The problem is that those of us who are for it have not been able to rally the forces and the constituencies and the people in the country to think that this is really central. So you can't go through a presidential inaugural address without hearing about service and volunteering from Kennedy, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush. It is always there. People love to talk about it, but when it gets to the hard business of creating programs, making the investments and backing them, that is where we have not yet found the steel in our spine. And I was saying to somebody back here, I am so encouraged by this hearing because there is so much interest, curiosity, willingness to question and be creative, and I hope that we can all work together to make this world for boomers, for kids, for communities much larger over the next few years. Mr. Sarbanes. One last question, and I am right in sync with you here, and I think you are sort of describing there are hard things and there are soft things, and this kind of service stuff tends to get pushed into the category of soft when if you did the economic analysis, for starters, leave aside the impact on people's lives and individuals, just straight economic analysis, it would compare favorably against anything else that gets attention and is, sort of, really the hard stuff. Speak, if you will, just briefly to the whole issue of voluntary versus mandatory service obligations. My sense of it is that we haven't fully tested the proposition of whether if we created voluntary service opportunities for people, they would take full advantage of it. So to talk about mandatory service is premature, but maybe it takes that kind of a structure to encourage the involvement. Can you speak to that? Mr. Gomperts. Absolutely. I think that is a great question again. Back to the thing about soft, we always used--we talk about trying to move from nice to necessary. Nice is great but it doesn't really cut it, ultimately. And one of the problems, I think, is that the term, ``volunteer,'' covers everything from people who do nice things to people who do the most essential kind of work in our communities. For us, at Experience Corps, the key is really to focus on the most important problems in the neediest communities. That is the work that really needs to get done. As to universal service and mandatory, Maryland has moved toward mandatory service learning, I think with a lot of success. But I don't think we are a country that loves mandatory anything, and I think that the whole venture would be much more successful if people rose to it, if there were a call, a universal call, and universal opportunity for everybody, from little kids to these guys' age, to my dad's age and all of us in between, to engage in things that really make a difference in the community, things that are nice but necessary as well. Chairwoman McCarthy. The gentleman's time has expired. Mr. Grijalva, 5 minutes. Mr. Grijalva. Thank you, Madam Chair. My colleague Mr. Sarbanes' questions were excellent, and your responses provoke a lot of thought and discussion. I was going to ask you something else but following up on the questions of my colleague, American people don't like mandatory. They don't like mandatory drafts, they don't like a lot of other stuff. But let's go back to talking about this budget and what is going on with it. In terms of how do we incentivize because that is the other word now that is going around here, investment and incentives seems to be the catchphrases right now, how do we incentivize volunteerism in this country? And before you answer, let me--I don't have questions for Mr. Edelman or Mr. Daigle, just a thank you. My appreciation for the work. In a very narrow scope in my district were refugees, senior citizens, schools that are underserved, neighborhoods that need attention, young people that need our comfort. Thank you very much to you and countless colleagues that are not here today. I appreciate that very much. Mr. Gomperts? Mr. Gomperts. Well, on the point about mandatory, I think we are probably in agreement that a mandatory system is not in the cards right now. It might spark a good debate if somebody really seriously proposed a mandatory system in which all people when they graduate from high school or between the ages of 18 and 25---- Mr. Grijalva. What would be the incentive? Mr. Gomperts. What would be the incentive for people to do that? Well, I think if you have a mandatory system, you don't need incentives, but I think we won't have a mandatory system and we will need incentives. I think there are certain financial incentives that are important. The AmeriCorps education award is important. The fact that AmeriCorps members get a stipend is important. I will tell you that for Experience Corps we get asked all the time, ``Why are volunteers paid?'' And I will tell you that it creates a mutual accountability in which if you are paying somebody, even a small amount, I mean, these are part-time AmeriCorps members, they are getting a very modest amount, like $200 a month. It means, though, that they are being asked to do something serious and we expect them to do something serious. It goes the other way also. It means that they can hold us accountable for running a quality program, doing a serious job with what we are doing. So incentives for individuals, I think, are important. I think that there is a place for that global call to service, for leaders in government, in the private sector, in the nonprofit sector to be calling people out, that the problems that exist in this country are not those people's problems or those people's problems, the other guy's problems. They are all of our problems, and we all have a piece in solving those problems. And the last thing I would say is, I think that we need some incentives for organizations to seek out people. The most interesting things that are created, the most interesting ways of solving problems are generally not created in Washington. They are probably not even created in state capitals. They are not created in government. They are created by people like Alan Khazei and Michael Brown who Representative Sarbanes alluded to, or Wendy Kopp who created Teach for America. I think there are things that this committee, this Congress and the government can do to make those kind of social entrepreneurs, to give more support to those kinds of social entrepreneurs to create the new, exciting programs that will-- and they, in turn--you know, Wendy Kopp should ask somebody to join Teach for America than some government official. Mr. Grijalva. Thank you. I am very interested in Mr. Moore's testimony. You mentioned the documents that you provided the committee included a letter from the Department of Education, Pennsylvania, praising Foster Grandparent's work in his wife's classroom. And I was going to ask the same question to Mr. Gomperts, but it kind of ties together. As we look at reauthorizing No Child Left Behind, what is the role for the program you spoke of, even for Experience Corps and others, to play in this issue? In my state, out of 27 service groups that are working with No Child Left Behind, four are community-based. The others are for-profit organizations. I mean, we are talking about incentives. Here is an opportunity. And I would just like your reaction where the program you spoke to would fit into that and how do you see it fitting in? Mr. Gomperts. Well, I see the Foster Grandparent Program and the foster grandparents themselves continuing to contribute to that effort. What we find is that the foster grandparents, by working in their community schools, know many of the children. They are from their neighborhoods, they are from their community. Even the ones they don't know they find a connection with. They may know other family members and they do wind up having a real caring personal interest in those children and in their community schools. In the rural areas, it is a little bit more of a challenge. One of the things that we find as a real disincentive is just the cost of travel for those foster grandparents to get to their sites. For the last 3 years, we have been working with the same level of funding, and it has made it very challenging. We have not been able, as the cost of travel or gasoline reimbursement has gone up, we have had very, very limited resources to be able to reimburse those folks. In the more urban or city areas, we have been able to provide transportation using mass transit. Mr. Grijalva. My time is up, but I want to follow up with both of you, Mr. Gomperts and yourself, Mr. Moore, about how the organizations that you spoke of today will fit into that process of No Child Left Behind and making sure the kids being tested have attainment levels but beyond that that they have the service learning that is going to help them reach those attainment levels and that way supporting community-based organizations. I will follow up with that. Madam Chair, with that, I yield back. Chairwoman McCarthy. I thank the gentleman. If any member who wishes to submit follow-up questions in writing to the witness should coordinate with the majority staff within the requisite time--I just want to finish this hearing. I think that you will find this a very unique subcommittee, because everyone on this committee actually asked to be on the committee. It wasn't a matter of an open spot or anything else like that. People wanted to be on this committee. And I know that many members of Congress probably do not really understand a lot of the programs that are out there, and that, again, is up to us on the committee to spread the message, talk to other members on why this is a good program, and by the way, which is very cost-effective, if you really look at. Because for each group that you reach out to, whether it is our young people, whether it is the foster children, it doesn't matter. In the end, we are going to end up saving money, in my opinion, on social services for the future and, certainly, hopefully, reaching out to our young people where we can prevent them from going to jail and become citizens for this country. So I think you will find that a lot of us do have differences of opinions on many issues, but I think that we will be working together. I also want to say that, as previously ordered, members will have 7 days to submit additional materials for the hearing record, and, again, I thank you for your testimony, and without objection---- Mr. Platts. Madam Chair, may I just add, I know for the record that Mr. Moore is going to submit additional testimony or a very different form of his testimony for the record in the following days. Chairwoman McCarthy. Without objection. Mr. Platts. Thank you. And, again, I want to commend you for your leadership in starting this new session of this subcommittee with such an important issue as national and community service and look forward to working with you as we move forward. Thank you, Madam Chair. Chairwoman McCarthy. As I do with you. Thank you, Mr. Platts. By the way, this is a brand new gavel. I have never had one before. [Laughter.] So with the gavel, I adjourn the hearing. Thank you. [Whereupon, at 3:50 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]