The weather is getting colder and holidays are almost upon us. While many of us will be celebrating, not everyone feels the joy. In fact, the holidays can be challenging for lots of people, including those who are hungry, lonely or sick. You can help! Join our friends and partners at Youth Service America (YSA) for their Kindness Rising campaign and make a difference through service projects or kind acts this year!
Visit YSA.org/KindnessRising follow these three simple steps to help Kindness Rise!
- Take the pledge to BE FEARLESS BE KIND.
- Start a project or do a kind act in your community! (Already doing a project? Share it!)
- Show your impact to be eligible for one of ten $250 grants!
The campaign calls on youth to stand-up for others, be inclusive and make a difference through service projects or kind acts. From providing food for the hungry to visiting with senior citizens, to raising money for kids in need, youth can change the world through kindness.
Get involved! Use this downloadable flyer to spread the word about the Kindness Rising campaign.
The recipient for the Outstanding Commission Staff Award is Jeanine Yard, who is the Senior AmeriCorps Program officer at Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC).
“Jeanine is a tremendous advocate for AmeriCorps programs. She takes great care to understand the work being done, the members performing the service, and the impacts that are made for individuals and the community. It’s her passion and commitment that helps ensure that Commissioners will support and continue to advocate for AmeriCorps in Michigan.” — Carolyn BLoodworth, MCSC Board Chair
For more than seven years, Jeanine Yard has provided grant oversite, training and technical assistance to AmeriCorps programs. She spent six years as a Learn and Serve Program Officer at the MCSC, where she provided support and guidance to school districts and community organizations engaged in service learning. Jeanine has 30+ years of experience working with nonprofit management, national service, and youth development programs. Her passion is for developing models and methods for program replications and sustainability, fostering the professional development of AmeriCorps members and program staff, and building partnerships to create lasting community impact.
The staff hold her in great respect because of her knowledge and ability to navigate the complexities of grant administration. Because of her exemplary leadership, she was recently promoted to Senior Program Officer. She maintains strong communication with the AmeriCorps team and entire MCSC staff, helps develop effective staff meetings, and ensures all staff are aware of important issues that impact their success.
Jeanine holds a “big picture” focus and is always considering ways to strengthen not only AmeriCorps programs and Comission initiatives, but also the field as a whole. During her time as a Learn and Serve Program Officer, she co-created a sustainability rubric for schools engaged in service-learning, which took them from planning to implementation to institutionalization. This innovative tool was utilized by other organizations across the country as well as by RMC Research for schools. She has developed several other tools and trainings to help strengthen the national service field over the last several years. She helped design and implement the Education Symposium in October 2011 that brought together national service programs working to increase educational outcomes for Michigan’s youth. Jeanine hopes to replicate this success with Economic Opportunity programs in the future. She excels at and understands the value in bringing together individuals and organizations that have a similar mission and goals.
We commend Jeanine for her hard work! It is greatly appreciated.
Nicola Goren is president of the Washington Area Women’s Foundation and in 2013 was named as one of Washingtonian’s Most Powerful Women. Nicky previously worked at the Corporation for National and Community Service in roles including Acting CEO, Chief of Staff, and Associate General Counsel. Nicky joined the ASC Board of Directors in 2013.
1) How did you get to where you are today? Honestly, by always working hard, by being open to opportunity, by being willing to step outside my comfort zone, and by being in the right place at the right time!
2) What is the best advice you’ve received? The best advice I ever received was from my mentor, and former General Counsel at CNCS Frank Trinity — always be current, authentic, and direct. Those words have served me well.
3) What keeps you motivated? Feeling like I’m part of a team of people who are working together to make positive change in our communities.
4) In one word what would you describe as your greatest strength? Bridge-building
5) How do you prepare yourself when you know something is going to be controversial or challenging? My legal training has led me to conclude that you can never be over-prepared. When dealing with a controversial or challenging issue or situation, I try to look at the issue from all sides and anticipate roadblocks, reactions, and where other people might be coming from, and try to be prepared to both listen and respond appropriately.
Chester Spellman was appointed chief executive officer of the Governor’s Commission on Community Service, Volunteer Florida, on April 27, 2012 by Governor Rick Scott. At Volunteer Florida, Spellman oversees $23 million in federal, state and local funds supporting AmeriCorps and volunteer programs to meet critical needs in Florida’s communities, and also leads the statewide coordination for volunteers and donations in a disaster for the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
Chester serves on the ASC Board of Directors and recently joined the Executive Committee as 2nd Vice Chair leading Resource Development.
1) How did you get to where you are today? I got to where I am today through a combination of hard work and good fortune.
2) What has been your best moment so far serving with your state commission? I have served as Chief Executive Officer of Volunteer Florida for a little over a year now. The best part of my tenure at Volunteer Florida has been visiting sites where AmeriCorps members are serving and seeing the lives that have been changed through their hard work and dedication.
3) What advice do you have for others at commissions? Or what is the best advice you’ve received? I think the most important thing that we can do in the national service sector is to always place the mission first. We are working in a sector where we have the privilege of making a difference in our communities each and every day. We should never forget why we are here and why we do what we do.
4) What keeps you motivated? I remain motivated by thinking of the programs throughout Florida that we are supporting and the lives that are being directly impacted through the AmeriCorps members that are serving.
5) In one word what would you describe as your greatest strength? Ambition
6) How do you prepare yourself when you know something is going to be controversial or challenging? I take a deep breath, envision the desired outcome and enter the situation with confidence.
Lindsay Dolce is Executive Director of Serve Colorado, Governor’s Commission on Community Service. Dolce is responsible for overseeing Serve Colorado’s AmeriCorps State programming and and leading Colorado’s Early Literacy Initiative. Previously,
Dolce has served as Senior Program Manager for the David and Laura Merage Foundation, worked as a domestic relations attorney and was a staff member for United States Senator J. Robert Kerrey and President Bill Clinton. Dolce received her B.A. in English, Political Science and International Relations from William Jewell College, studied at Oxford University and received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
Lindsay joined the ASC Board of Directors in 2013 and currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Resource Development Committee.
1) How did you get to where you are today?
A lot of hard work! I grew up in the midwest and from a young age I was taught (and still believe) that if you are willing to work hard, anything is possible.
2) What has been your best moment so far serving with your state commission?
The first time a member said “thank you” to me for providing an opportunity that literally changed her life. This young woman had no direction and no family, that all changed when she became a part of an AmeriCorps program and for the first time in her life she found a family and a home. I will never forget her story as I still carry around a piece of paper in my wallet with her name as a reminder of how important our work is to so many people.
3) What advice do you have for others at commissions? Or what is the best advice you’ve received?
My advice to others is to practice patience, in every aspect of this job. The best advice I ever received is to find mentors in the world of National Service whom you trust and go to them at your worst and best moments. There are some true sages in this world upon whom I rely regularly…
4) What keeps you motivated?
Spending time with members who literally inspire me to find solutions to the everyday challenges.
5) In one word what would you describe as your greatest strength?
Tenacity. (two words = stubborn tenacity)
6) How do you prepare yourself when you know something is going to be controversial or challenging?
I spend some time with my trusted mentors having them pepper me with the tough questions or comments and I overprepare for the situation. The best preparation requires that you make an effort to think through what the challenges will be and why something will be controversial and then to truly embrace that change and challenge. It doesn’t mean that it isn’t sometimes painful but being able to know that the controversy or challenge is not personal is how I ground myself and take on just about any controversy or challenge.
Knowing my boss has my back before I walk into the situation sure does help as well!