On July 12th, service-learning advocates will come together on Capitol Hill to educate Members of Congress, Hill staff, and non-profit organizations about the funding cuts to Learn and Serve America and ask that Congress restore this national program to its traditional funding level of $43 million. We must raise our voice to prevent this possible funding cut, which if enacted, will be the second year that this program has been reduced.
The first cut in FY'06 is already having a tremendous impact. This year, Learn and Serve America received over 500 applications (a record high) for competitive grants requesting more than $162 million in program funding. However, only $19.1 million from the FY'06 record-low appropriation of $37.1 million was available for competitive grants; the remainder, by law, is granted by formula allocation to each state education agency for school-based service-learning.
Many groups and organizations have been affected. I recently spoke with one local group that did not receive a grant and was moved by their passion and disappointment for the young people who are truly the ones that will feel this loss. Unfortunately, there are too many other groups who are in the same position and, with another possible funding cut, there maybe many more.
I urge every one to lend your voice on July 12 to support Learn and Serve America. Contact your Senators and ask them to restore this national program's traditional funding of $43 million. Visit www.servicelearningunited.org to send an email message or to view a telephone script for calls.
Young people will truly be the ones who lose if this funding cut is enacted. Send an email or make a call tomorrow to your Senators! Young people want to make a difference in their communities and we must provide them with those opportunities. Let's not disappoint them.
Seung Yu - SEANet / National Service-Learning Partnership