Alan Khazei, social entrepreneur and wife of Saguaro Seminar participant Vanessa Kirsch, is running a spirited campaign for the US Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy.
Alan has been a longshot in the campaign, without the initial name recognition of Michael Capuano or Martha Coakley, and without the extraordinarily deep pockets of former Bain capitalist, Steve Pagliucca. Nevertheless, in a campaign where most of the electorate has yet to make up their mind, and where few Mass. voters will go to the polls to vote in the democratic primary on December 8, Alan is spearheading a spirited campaign and making converts right and left. A Rasmussen poll of last week, among likely voters, showed him at 14%, dramatically up from the low single digits when his campaign began.
Last weekend he picked up the all-important endorsement of the Boston Globe and former presidential aspirant and NATO Commander Wesley Clark. The Globe noted that Alan is the candidate that best embodies “forward-looking thinking”, and offers the best leadership, with “brimming potential.”
I was a senior policy advisor for Senator Kennedy on national service issues in the early 1990’s and know how much Ted respected Alan Khazei and his creation of City Year (with co-founder Michael Brown). And Senator Kennedy asked Alan to lead up a campaign to save AmeriCorps, when President Bush threatened to zero out funding. Alan coalesced a remarkable grassroots coalition and out-organized Karl Rove to initially save AmeriCorps and then work to dramatically expand it under the Kennedy Serve America Act that received birpartisan support. Alan’s group (Be The Change) worked to ensure that both Obama and McCain endorsed national service during the campaign, in the only joint appearance of the two outside the debates.
Alan is running on a campaign platform of “big citizenship”: that the only way to get special interests out of politics is to not accept PAC money and to help ensure that citizens help drive the change we want to see. [Alan is the only one of the four candidates to have a truly citizen funded campaign with no PAC money.]
He deserves our vote and I urge that you contact his campaign to find out how you can support him.
Posted in alan khazei, be the change, big citizenship, boston globe, campaign, city year, civic engagement, Edward M. Kennedy, kennedy Serve America Act, senate, ted kennedy, wesley clark
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has been monitoring the long-term impact of participating in AmeriCorps (the nation’s national service program), in conjunction with Abt Associates.
Since 1999, a group of AmeriCorps participants has been compared to a group of individuals who expressed interest in AmeriCorps but didn’t wind up serving.
While some of the impacts faded over time (as one sees in most programs), eight years later, the CNCS study (Changing Lives, Changing America) found that:
- Former AmeriCorps members are more likely to be in public service careers today due to their year of service.
- Minority AmeriCorps members (State and National) who served in 1999-2000 are significantly more likely to choose a career in public service today than similar individuals in the comparison group (44% compared to 26%).
- Former AmeriCorps members from disadvantaged circumstances are more likely to be employed in a public service careers today than similar individuals in the comparison group (46% compared to 26%).
- One year of service in AmeriCorps creates long-term positive impacts on the civic outcomes of AmeriCorps alums eight years later. For instance, AmeriCorps members are more likely than the comparison group to attend public and community meetings today due to their year of service. AmeriCorps alumni are more confident that they could get a pothole fixed and more confident in their ability to launch projects like after-school youth programs.
- They are more slightly more likely to have volunteered in past 12 months
- AmeriCorps alumni show greater social trust: 85% of alumni believe that others can be trusted vs. only 71% of comparable respondents who didn’t participate in AmeriCorps.
- Members who served in AmeriCorps are more satisfied with their lives eight years later than individuals who did not end up serving in AmeriCorps.
- And satisfaction rates are extraordinarily high: 91% of AmeriCorps participants said their experience was excellence or good; 95% would re-enroll if given the opportunity and 95% would recommend AmeriCorps to a friend or family member.
[Full report “Still Serving: Measuring the Eight Year Impact of Americorps on Alumni” available here.]
National Service has always focused on dual strategies of getting useful work done and transforming the participants and this research speaks powerfully to that second point.
We also think that the timing is propitious. Many young Americans are increasingly interested in volunteering (since the mid-90s) and are now getting increasingly interested in politics and public service. [Bob Putnam and I have written about this ‘9-11 Generation.’] Moreover, there is a movement afoot to increase the scope of national service, ranging from Barack Obama’s national service platform to Alan Khazei’s forthcoming book *Be The Change*, to Richard Stengel’s TIME cover on national service to a planned summit in September convening by TIME and the National Conference on Citizenship that brings together John McCain and the democratic presidential nominee (which at this point is looking heavily like Barack Obama).
Moreover, we think that broadscale national service may be one of the most effective ways in helping us to gain traction on the short- to medium-term challenges of building a stronger social fabric in the face of more diverse communities.
Posted in Abt Associates, alan khazei, americorps, Barack Obama, be the change, changing america, changing lives, john mccain, longitudinal, richard stengel, TIME magazine, youth civic engagement, youth engagement