NEW ORLEANS – Today, as part of the fifth annual Mayors and County Day of Recognition for National Service, Mayor Mitch Landrieu highlighted the value of national service and the positive impact of local AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members in the New Orleans community. Additionally, Mayor Landrieu discussed the impact of proposed federal budget cuts on AmeriCorps’ and Senior Corps’ service to America.
“Today, we salute four distinguished volunteers who have given their time, energy and service to make New Orleans better. Without the dedication and impact of our volunteers, New Orleans’ progress would not be as strong. I am grateful for the role our volunteers and service organizations play in creating the New Orleans of our dreams. Together, they are showing the nation what is possible through giving back.” said Mayor Landrieu. “Unfortunately, proposed federal cuts would severely diminish the work of their service organizations and would be devastating to the millions of Americans who count on them. In New Orleans, we know the impact volunteers have on improving communities, and we will do all we can to help fight for them.”
Mayor Landrieu recognized four national service participants for their dedication and sacrifice as members of local AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs. Each recipient was presented with the Joseph Massenburg Memorial Award for Excellence in National Service. The award is given to participants of AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps VISTA and Senior Corps who demonstrate an exemplary commitment to service in the New Orleans community. The memorial award is in honor of Joseph Massenburg, the 18-year old AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps member, who was killed while serving in New Orleans in 2013.
Proposed cuts to national service organizations include the elimination of $439 million from AmeriCorps and $66 million from Senior Corps.
Joseph Massenburg Memorial Award for Excellence in National Service recipients:
Danielle Metz is an AmeriCorps Direct Service member serving with the Catholic Charities’ “Food for Families” program. She served the New Orleans East community following the tornado by helping to care for and feed elderly residents who were adversely impacted. After serving 23 years in prison and being granted clemency by President Barack Obama last year, Danielle has used her story to encourage people who are facing difficult circumstances. Additionally, she was a spokesperson for Loyola University’s Jesuit Social Research Institute’s Annual Symposium honoring ex-offenders making positive changes and worked with the Civic Justice Corps encouraging formerly-incarcerated & court-involved youth to find pathways to prosperity through service. Danielle has overcome great challenges and dedicated her life to telling her story while inspiring hope in others through service.
Eugenio Wilson is an AmeriCorps Vista member serving with Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana as the Westbank’s Visual Art Program Lead. Known for creating a space for peace and art expression, he is loved by parents, staff and his students. In addition to teaching at the Boys and Girls Club, Eugenio teaches art classes on the weekends at other locations throughout the city at no charge for students. He has committed his life to promoting art expression in the lives of youth and providing comfortable environments for students to express themselves.
Sylvia Pierre is a Senior Corps member and has served with the New Orleans Council on Aging’s Senior Companion Programs for 10 years. Through personal efforts and her work with the Senior Companion program, she donated over 100 books to the KIPP Leadership Academy in New Orleans. At 82 years young, she has dedicated her life to giving back to her community. Known by her peers as an excellent volunteer, she has vowed to serve others for as long as she can.
Dana Wooden is an AmeriCorps Direct Service member with the ReNEW Charter Management Organization and is specifically being recognized for her service during the City’s tornado relief efforts. Following the tornado, she helped move Schaumberg Elementary to its new location. She assisted with transporting resources and materials to the new building. She was instrumental for the school during that very unfortunate time by comforting affected students. She is praised by her peers, parents and school leaders for using innovative methods to engage students. Her passion for teaching and students has made her a valuable asset to ReNEW Charter Management Organization.
Mayor Landrieu is among more than 4,000 mayors and leaders across the country participating in this bipartisan day of recognition. The Mayor and County Recognition Day of National Service is an initiative led by the National League of Cities, National Association of Counties, Cities of Service and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Volunteer Louisiana Executive Director Judd Jeansonne said, “5,000 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members are making a difference in communities throughout Louisiana each and every day. From bringing meals to a homebound neighbor, to building a wheelchair ramp for a disabled veteran, to rebuilding communities after a disaster, national service represents the best of the American spirit – a lived patriotism of citizen engagement in communities throughout this great state. Nowhere is national service woven more into the fabric of a city than in New Orleans, and Joseph Massenburg’s legacy of citizen leadership lives on through these outstanding award winners.”
Louisiana Corporation for National and Community Service Director Vickie Schenk said, “The Corporation for National and Community Service is very proud to have Mayor Landrieu join over 4,500 other mayors and elected officials across the country in celebration of National Service. Citizens serving through our programs address the most pressing issues facing our cities and nation. Here in Louisiana, they represent America at its best – citizens turning toward problems instead of away, working to solve local challenges.”
Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in service through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, the Social Innovation Fund, and the Volunteer Generation Fund, and leads the President’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. There are currently more than 1,200 AmeriCorps members serving in New Orleans.
Click here to learn more about CNCS and service programs offered.