[Congressional Record Volume 140, Number 127 (Tuesday, September 13, 1994)]
[Page S]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]

[Congressional Record: September 13, 1994]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]


  Mr. DURENBERGER. Mr. President, I rise today to pay tribute to this 
week's formal launching of the AmeriCorps program--the largest of 
several youth and community service initiatives that we in the Congress 
authorized 1 year ago this month.
  As its chief Republican cosponsor in the Senate, I'm pleased that 
this important initiative is now recruiting and placing eager and 
enthusiastic young volunteers in community organizations and agencies 
all over America. And, I'm especially proud that one of the satellite-
linked locations for yesterday's swearing-in of new volunteers by 
President Clinton was the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
  It is appropriate that Minnesota played an important role in 
officially launching AmeriCorps, Mr. President, because of my State's 
long history of leadership in service learning and youth community 
  One of the reasons I was an enthusiastic supporter of the national 
service legislation we approved the last year was the degree of 
flexibility it offers States and local communities to identify and 
target their own highest priority needs.
  Over the past year, Minnesota has made a special effort to integrate 
the funding authorized by the Federal AmeriCorps program with its own 
YouthWorks program--creating an even larger number of service 
opportunities for my State's young people.
  In this first round of AmeriCorps grants, Minnesota has received $2 
million in funding which will fund six exciting projects:
  The city of St. Paul's Future Force--a 76 member corps to be based at 
Concordia College.
  Pillsbury Neighborhood Service's Community Works--a 24-person crew 
address urban issues.
  Neighborhood House Association's Multicultural Communities in 
Action--a 26-person crew serving St. Paul's West Side and parts of 
South Minneapolis.
  Twin Cities Youth and Housing Initiative--operated by Two or More, 
Inc., a group of 25 youths who will build and refurbish Minneapolis 
  The Southeast Minnesota Initiative Fund--which will work in 
cooperating with Mankato and Winona State universities.
  The Red Lake Tribal Council--which has already sponsored two highly 
successful Summer of Service programs also funded by the Corporation 
for National and Community Service.

                 program needs clear focus and purpose

  As one of those who strongly supported the passage of national 
service legislation, I am also among those who believes this program 
will need to clarify its focus and purpose. That is especially 
important in light of the smaller scale at which the new program is 
being launched.
  During the 1992 campaign, then-candidate Clinton drew loud cheers 
whenever he promised to use national service to ease the financial 
burdens of college for ``millions of American young people and their 
  And, after his election, the new President used the same 
justification to propose a program that would have cost more than $10 
billion over 4 years.
  But, recognizing today's fiscal realities, Congress was willing to 
commit less than 15 percent of the President's earlier $10 billion 
proposal and only a tiny fraction of his even larger campaign pledge.

                        not a college education

  That means those of us who strongly support national service must 
acknowledge that it will never play a major role in financing higher 
  At a minimum annual cost of $15,000 to $20,000 per participant, we 
can't depend on this new program to help meet the rising cost of going 
to college. Our first priority must be to increase our commitment to 
currently underfunded Pell grants, and to carefully implement the 
student loan reforms enacted in last year's budget bill.

                              not the ccc

  Second, it is important to distinguish the new AmeriCorps program 
from previous national service programs like FDR's Civilian 
Conservation Corps and the Peace Corps and VISTA programs launched in 
the 1960's.
  Those previous initiatives were Federal programs, totally funded and 
run from Washington. What this newest initiative does is authorize a 
decentralized infrastructure for States to use in stimulating community 
service by young people. It is intended to serve as a broad framework 
for thousands of different programs tailored to meet the diversity of 
America's young people and the communities they will serve.
  The new AmeriCorps program should also leverage State, local, and 
private sector support for programs that respond to this diversity and 
that enjoy strong local ownership. If that happens, the impact of this 
new initiative will reach far beyond what's possible with the limited 
Federal funding that today's fiscal realities will allow.

                            service learning

  Finally, as we launch the AmeriCorps program, much greater 
recognition must be given to the value of other new programs also 
authorized last year that encourage nonstipended service learning.
  In States all around the country, young Americans from kindergarten 
through college are demonstrating the value of community service that's 
creatively integrated into the school curriculum.
  In Minnesota, for example, more than 100,000 young people are now 
participating in school-based service learning programs. These programs 
are improving educational outcomes and benefiting local communities. 
And, they're achieving these goals at a fraction of the cost of 
AmeriCorps and other stipended service programs that dominated last 
year's national service debate.

                 wayne meisel, my youth service mentor

  Mr. President, a driving force behind my own interest in national and 
community service has been the leadership of Minnesotans. Wayne 
Meisel--who grew up alongside my own four sons in South Minneapolis--is 
one of those individuals I have looked to as a mentor on this issue.
  That's why I am pleased to report that Wayne was recently recognized 
for his leadership by the American Institute for Public Service through 
its Jefferson Award. This prestigious award is used annually to 
recognize outstanding public service by an individual under age 36.
  Wayne Meisel is the founder of COOL--the Campus Outreach Opportunity 
League, an internationally known platform for students and graduates to 
lead, sustain, and challenge their peers to service others and to bring 
about positive change.
  In 1983, after graduating from Harvard University, Wayne traveled 
from campus to campus, effectively using his vision and enthusiasm to 
start local youth service chapters. COOL now works with 700 colleges 
and universities nationwide and with international students groups 
throughout the world.
  Working with COOL from 1983 to 1989, Wayne set the tone for 
organizations run by and for young people. He brought about coalitions 
between and among individuals, campuses, local communities, and all 
levels of government. As COOL's director, he conceived and developed 
``A Day in the Life of Youth Service,'' an event designed to recognize 
and support young people in their efforts to serve their communities.

  Wayne is now serving as president of New Jersey's Bonner Foundation, 
where he has created and generated funding for the Bonner Scholars 
program. This 2,000 member corps of college students requires at least 
600 hours of service per year in exchange for college scholarships. 
Overall, the program provides over 1 million hours of service each year 
to communities throughout the country.
  After passage of 1990 National and Community Service Act, Wayne was 
appointed by President Bush to the first board of the then-Commission 
on National and Community Service. From that platform, Wayne argued 
forcefully for greater involvement of young people themselves in the 
design and management of youth service programs.
  I agree with Wayne's premise that youth involvement is one of the key 
elements that will determine the long-range success of these programs 
in local communities all over America. And, in accepting the Jefferson 
Award, Wayne again made this point in his usual quiet but forceful way.
  There is a great deal to be learned from the perspectives that 
individuals like Wayne Meisel have to offer, Mr. President. And, 
because of the particular insights Wayne has on the role of young 
people in national service, I would ask that the full text of his 
remarks accepting the Jefferson Award be printed at this point in the 
  There being no objection, the statement was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

           [From the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Aug. 9, 1994]

                To Serve the Nation, Youth Must Be Heard

                           (By Wayne Meisel)

       National service is now a top theme on the American agenda. 
     Large national organizations are gearing up to receive 
     federal money through the new AmeriCorps program, which has 
     its official kick-off next month. But in all the planning for 
     the new service corps, one voice has been conspicuously 
     absent: that of the young people who played a key role in 
     promoting the national-service movement. It is impossible to 
     have a successful service corps without youth leadership.
       The Corporation for National Service--which is in charge of 
     overseeing AmeriCorps and other volunteerism efforts--has yet 
     to give young people a serious role in policy making. Just as 
     one can be a friend of agriculture without being a friend of 
     farmers, so to can the corporation be a friend of youth 
     service without being a friend of young people.
       Youth leadership is not just a nice idea. It is a critical 
     element to assuring not only that national service will be a 
     success, but that its participants are motivated by a vibrant 
     and powerful vision of social change and justice. Our ability 
     to make youth leadership a key element of all types of 
     service programs will determine whether the new-found 
     interest in national service will be an inspiration and 
     source of support for young people everywhere--or whether it 
     will end up crushing the spirit and creativity of a young 
     people's movement.
       Though well-intentioned, the Corporation for National 
     Service has not given young people the opportunity to lead 
     the movement they created. The federal Commission on National 
     and Community Service--the body that led to the formation of 
     the corporation--had recommended unanimously that applicants 
     be required to demonstrate that young people were involved in 
     creating, operating, and evaluating service programs. Yet 
     when the grantmaking regulations were published and sent out, 
     no mention was made of that requirement. A year and a half 
     later, the requirement has yet to work its way into any of 
     the corporation's regulations or guidelines.
       In a move that further limited youth involvement, the 
     corporation dissolved the Youth Voice Committee, which the 
     commission had created to make sure that young people had an 
     opportunity to be involved in the policy-making process. 
     Although corporation officials promised to setup some kind of 
     structure to perform the same tasks as the youth committee, 
     they have not yet done so.
       Before it was dismantled, the committee oversaw the 
     creation of ``From the Hip,'' a photojournalistic effort to 
     get young people to define and express what youth service was 
     and what it meant. Hundreds of young people teamed up with 
     adult mentors to take photographs and write stories about 
     youth service. The stories that came back were not just about 
     traditional kinds of service like tutoring kids and serving 
     the elderly; they were also about race, sexuality, politics, 
     and religion.
       To create a national-service corps that is relevant to 
     young people, we need to know what they think. But the 
     corporation has not taken any action to figure out what young 
     people value.
       Federal officials have done further damage to the youth 
     movement by taking over projects that were designed and run 
     by young people. Case in point: the Road Scholars program run 
     by the Campus Outreach Opportunity League.
       For the past decade, cool has sent staff members out to 
     towns and cities across the country that wanted help 
     developing and strengthening campus-based community-service 
     efforts. Initially, the Commission on National and Community 
     Service made a grant to the Road Scholars program that would 
     have allowed many more communities to be served by cool. But 
     instead of continuing the league's tradition of getting young 
     people to advise and inspire their peers, the Corporation for 
     National Service withdrew federal support and established its 
     own program to provide the same services as cool.
       You cannot hire someone else to implement another person's 
     or group's vision. Through cool, Road Scholars were able to 
     lead with authority. They were all recent college graduates 
     with experience building successful service efforts. They 
     were accountable not to a large institution or a government 
     entity but to an idea, a common vision, and a shared value. 
     Perhaps that was threatening to federal leaders. The real 
     question is whether in its new training program, which 
     borrows the techniques developed by cool, the Corporation for 
     National Service will give young people adequate authority.
       Officials of the Corporation for National Service have 
     emphatically denied that they are trying to discourage the 
     youth voice.
       But they must realize that the corporation, through its 
     influence and sheer size, controls the youth-service 
     movement. The greatest tragedy in all this is that after 
     working so hard to get to the place we are now, the movement 
     finds itself at its most vulnerable point. The corporation's 
     takeover could leave us with uninspired leadership that fails 
     to articulate a clear and powerful message while creating a 
     bureaucracy that becomes an expression of institutionalized 
       Although I am critical of what has happened so far, there 
     is much that the Corporation for National Service and the 
     foundation world can do to make national service flourish. 
     Among the steps they can take to bring life, vision, and 
     youth back to what can be the most powerful movement of this 
       The corporation must put into its regulations a requirement 
     that all its grantees have young people involved in the 
     creation, implementation, operation, and evaluation of their 
       The corporation and foundations need to realize that for 
     community service to have meaning to a broad range of young 
     people, it has to deal openly with issues of race, gender, 
     class, sexual orientation, politics, justice, and power.
       Foundations should take a close look at projects the 
     corporation does not support. Private grant makers should 
     consider giving money to efforts that have the potential to 
     break new ground in the way youth-service efforts are run.
       The corporation should be encouraged to identify, develop, 
     and support programs that educate non-profit organizations 
     about the importance of youth involvement in policy making 
     and that train them in ways to win youth participation.
       Foundations should be inspired to follow the lead of the 
     Lyndhurst and Echoing Green Foundations, which provide 
     fellowships to young people who want to pursue careers in 
     community service and activism.
       Many people have worked hard for national service to become 
     a reality. National service is a call to all Americans--
     regardless of their age--to serve in their communities and to 
     build the country we all dream about. But for youth service 
     to work, young people must have opportunities to be heard. 
     Youth is the leadership of tomorrow only if we procrastinate.