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Larson on Expanding Opportunities for National Service

September 17, 2015
Press Release

Washington – Today, Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) met with Voices for National Service to discuss the impact of service programs on communities across the country. After the event, he gave the following statement:

“When we talk about the one percent, we usually refer to the wealthiest one percent of the nation. Today, I want to recognize the other one percent—those who serve our country in the armed services or various peacetime organizations, like those who joined me this morning. A democracy cannot long survive when we defer to the few what is the responsibility of the many. For too long, this small fraction of the American people have borne the burden for all of us.

“There is a myth that millennials are not willing to serve, but that is absurd. The reality is, the nation has not provided them with adequate opportunities to give back. AmeriCorps and other service organizations routinely turn away scores of applicants because they lack the space to accommodate them. To make matters worse, the majority party here in Congress wants to cut public funding for the parent organization of AmeriCorps and SeniorCorps.

“We shouldn’t further erode opportunities for young people to serve their country. We should instead invest in our young people and reward them for their service by helping to ease the burdens of paying for a higher education. We need to create new opportunities which will allow millions of Americans to help their communities while bettering themselves, their country, and the wider world.

“That’s why I, along with Congressman Joseph Kennedy, are currently developing legislation to expand service opportunities. Today, I asked for the Voices for National Service coalition partners to provide me with their thoughts and ideas on expanding service nationwide.”

Voices for National Service advocates for service opportunities for Americans of all ages. They represent a diverse coalition of national service programs, state service commissions, and individuals. AmeriCorps and SeniorCorps are programs administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). CNCS is an independent federal agency that provides millions of Americans with the opportunity to serve their country through a variety of service programs.