As I mentioned, my past three weeks at CitySquare have been filled with a number of challenges. They'll all get worked out, its just the nature of the job we do. But often, I and my colleagues have our heads buried in the weeds of those challenges and it can be easy to become discouraged. Then you get word of what's been accomplished throughout the organization and you realize the majority of the challenges we face are a small price to pay for the opportunity we get to serve so many people.
For instance, take our 'Food on the Move' mobile summer feeding program.
CitySquare coordinates placement of almost 300 AmeriCorps members for service in non-profit agencies and organizations throughout Dallas. Within our organization, AmeriCorps members help man a program that is a partnership between the Department of Agriculture and Pepsico to provide meals to the hundreds of children during the summer months. During the school year, these children would be eligible for free and reduced lunches, but when school is out, many of these children have little or no access to healthy meals. Our Food on the Move program is a mobile feeding initiative that takes meals to the children and also provides them with coordinated playtime activities.
So how did we do?
The preliminary report we received told us...
We started the summer with:
- 53 dedicated AmeriCorps members &
- 9 mobile routes
You made it through:
- 40 days of triple digit temperatures &
- 23,943 hours of service
And together, this is what you achieved:
- 1,136 children received the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award &
- 279,551 meals were served to kids
It's really important to point out that this was work done in one of the hottest summers in our state's history. Yet AmeriCorps members showed up EVERY DAY!
AmeriCorps is one of the programs which has been threatened with either devastating cuts or elimination. Without AmeriCorps, CitySquare would never be able to hire enough staff to make this kind of impact on the lives of these many children. While we celebrate this work, we also must remain vigilant and we call on you to contact your Congressional and Senate representatives to let them know that AmeriCorp is bridging a significant gap in the needs we see in our community and the community's capacity to meet those needs.
In spite of even that challenge, its wonderful to see that we able to make an impact in the lives of so many young people in such a meaningful way!