Make a Difference Day 2012

Forty-five AmeriCorps members and community volunteers ventured into the Spokane community to participate in Make a Difference Day. Volunteers at 2nd Harvest helped sort 12,191 lbs of potatoes, feeding 4,063 hungry people. Volunteers also helped plant trees at Turnbull and at Dishman’s Hill in honor of National Wildlife
Refuge Week. Youth of Spokane learned the importance of volunteering from AmeriCorps members and Staff as they baked dog biscuits for SpokAnimal.

Make a Difference Day is a national movement to help gain awareness, build community and provoke meaningful relfection.

Other projects included, coaching, cooking meals for Crosswalk and helping clean a local school. YouthBuild students also helped Rebuilding Together Spokane, by painting window trim and replacing bedroom doors for a grandmother and her three grandchildren.

Volunteers reflected about the day’s experience over a taco bar at Riverside and helped decorate Thanksgiving Day cards for Meals on Wheels to distribute to patrons. Thank you to all those who participated.

September 11th, 2012: National Day of Service and Rememberance

On September 11th, 2012 students of the YouthBuild Spokane lead a day of volunteerism in remembrance for the victims of the 9/11 attacks in partnership with Spokane Service Team AmeriCorps. Participants recognized the sacrifice and service for those serving in the military, the police force and firefighters in the Spokane community.

The event was made possible through a grant from the Washington Commission for National and Community Service and Director Debbie Schuffenhauer participated in the day of volunteerism and remembrance. Forty nine participants including AmeriCorps members, community volunteers and NEWESD staff joined the international nonprofit movement dedicating September 11th as a day of positive action.

The morning began at the Combat Vet Riders’ Outreach center with speaker Andy Hail, Valley Deputy Fire Chief. Deputy Hail shared about the important lessons learned from the 9/11 attacks and shared how better communication procedures are in action today. He also spoke about the difference NEWESD made for his son who is an alumnae of both
YouthBuild and AmeriCorps Participants completed community service projects at various sites: 2nd Harvest, Catholic Charities, Ronald McDonald House of Charities, SpokAnimal and St. Joseph’s Family center.

Then participants enjoyed pizza at Liberty Park, where volunteers reflected about their experiences and had a moment to share their “I Will” statements. Schuffenhauer promised, “I will continue to pay tribute to those who lost their lives, as well as the first responders by donating blood”.

The celebration included recognition for YouthBuild participants, Dylan McCauley and Stephon Forte, who received their GEDs wearing a graduation gown/cap with family and friends there to watch with pride.

Below are other Commitments of “I Will” wrote on the wall by participants…

“Help local veterans with their needs/fundraisers”-CK
“Show respect to firefights by shaking their hands”-SG
“Appreciate people”-DC
“Stop and help when I see someone in need” -DB
“Keep my students safe by protecting their dignity and welcoming them with a smile everyday”-AR

“Tell my grandson about 9/11 and the people who were lost”-TW
“Make the world a better place”-KS
“Do more good deeds”-LK
“Thank every service person I meet for their sacrifice”-D
“Donate to charity”-ST
“Remember our heroes and serve”-ME

A special thank you to Cohort 9 and their teacher Jessica Cross for taking the time to plan September 11th Day of Remembrance. The day was full of thought provoking information, meaningful volunteer work and great company among AmeriCorps members, ESD 101 staff and members of the Spokane Community. The victims of the 9/11 attacks were remembered well and inspired “I will” statements that will continue positive action.

Article written by AmeriCorps member, Whitney McKelvey

A video of the event is available online at:

“In corporate giving, I frequently tour sites and watch people work. Today I wanted to serve”.-Nicole Trimble, Washington State Commission Chair


On May 10th 2012 the Washington State Commission for National and Community Service held their spring meeting in Spokane. The visit was unique, as the commissioners did not only come to listen to a presentation or to give speeches. Instead they rolled up their sleeves and served alongside the AmeriCorps members,
as they volunteered at the 2115 & 2116 West Mallon work sites. Together they painted a garage, tiled a backsplash and shoveled a virtual mountain of soil. Most importantly, these Washington leaders spent time talking with AmeriCorps members, learning about real needs and personal goals.

AmeriCorps Week

Members and alumni are recognized for their extraordinary commitment to serving as AmeriCorps each year during AmeriCorps Week. Washington Reading Corps, Spokane Service Team and YouthBuild participated in various activities during the week to highlight the positive impact AmeriCorps makes across our nation every day. Members and alumni were able to connect and network through volunteer projects. This year, AmeriCorps Week took place from Saturday, March 10th through Sunday, March 18th, 2012.

A big thank you to local businesses, Froyo Earth, Dutch Bros, and Garland Movie Theater for donating special deals to help express community’ appreciation to AmeriCorps members. As part of the nationwide effort, Spokane AmeriCorps members and alum work to positively impact critical problems in the community.

Catholic Charities AmeriCorps Week began successfully as volunteers joined forces on Saturday, March 10th to help clean, rake and organize the children’s play area at St. Margaret’s Women’s Shelter. Bags of leaves and garbage were removed from the yard, leaving the play area safe, clean and ready for memories to be made.

KSPS Membership Drive
Sunday, March 11th members from various programs represented AmeriCorps during a televised KSPS membership drive. Volunteers answered pledge phone calls during program specials, taking donations totaling over $8,000 dollars for local public television.

SpokAnimal Dog Treats Union Gospel Mission Cookies Volunteers gathered Tuesday, March 13th to bake dog treats. The homemade dog treats are donated in decorated jars to SpokAnimal as a fundraiser for the shelter. For the event AmeriCorps members also decorated bags and made cookies, which were donated to Union Gospel Mission Men’s shelter.

Red Cross AmeriCorps members volunteered with the Red Cross to promote fire safety in a low income neighborhood in Spokane on Wednesday, March 14th. Volunteers went door to door distributing information and talking to neighbors about key steps you can take to reduce the risk of fire. In Spokane, house fires are the leading cause of disaster, affecting hundreds of families every year.

2-Harvest Help the Hungry Sort Night Onions, onions and more onions! AmeriCorps volunteers gathered at 2-Harvest to help sort over 20,000 lbs of onions to be distributed to food shelters in Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. Efforts will help contribute to feeding 6,000 hungry people in the local community.

Spokane Service Symposium On Friday, March 16th, AmeriCorps members serving in the Spokane community came together to reflect on challenges and successes of the 2011-2012 term. Those who attended enjoyed hearing an inspirational speech by Bill Basl, the Executive Director of the Washington Commission on National and Community Service, who encouraged each member to thank the person who was responsible for their joining AmeriCorps. During the symposium individuals presented creative works of art to show self-growth while serving as AmeriCorps members. Individuals painted, made PowerPoint presentations, wrote a rap song and even created a beautiful banner.

Spokane Saint Patrick’s Day Parade On Saturday, March 17th as part of AmeriCorps Week the Spokane Service Team, Washington Reading Corps and YouthBuild walked in the Annual Spokane St. Patrick’s Day Parade to raise awareness for AmeriCorps. They proudly carried the AmeriCorps banner and a giant Irish Laidly Worm, which flew and swooped to the delight of children watching the parade. Don Young followed us in his convertible with giant AmeriCorps A’s on both sides. We had over 50 people marching with us including children and spouses of AmeriCorps members and their dogs. The community had a great turnout filling the streets along the parade route.

A big thank you to everyone who participated!

There are over 150 AmeriCorps members serving in NEWESD programs, each making a difference in our community. This is Kasia’s Story of Service:

Kasia Alexander has a psychology degree from Evergreen State College and a heart for service. She is a full-time AmeriCorps member with the Spokane Service Team placed at North Pines Middle School. In addition to tutoring middle school students, Kasia has volunteered over 200 additional hours at local non-profit organizations. She is a perfect example of someone who has taken service and made it a part of her daily life.

Through her position with the 21st Century Success Academy at North Pines Middle School, she helps tutor 60 students to further education in math and science and homework help. The program focuses on students with low MSP scores, poor attendance in school and low grades. Programming is offered Monday through Friday which includes a “Why Try” Program (dropout prevention), a math improvement class, and at least 40 minutes per week in a computer program called Math Whizz.

Students are provided with time to complete their homework and receive one on one attention from tutors ranging from specially trained North Pines students, high school students and volunteer adult tutors. Also, on Fridays, some students are given the exciting opportunity to participate in a robotics program which is taught by an excellent science teacher from North Pines. Kasia shared, “Overall, I have seen some immense improvement from several of our students and already, some students have pulled out of failing grades!”

In reflecting on her year, Kasia wrote,

“Aside from my work at North Pines Middle School, I have participated in many activities that I feel have had a great impact on the community in which I currently live. I am particularly proud of my work with organizations who serve low-income individuals and families including 2nd Harvest, the Christmas Bureau and the Fill the Bus Event at The Trading Company.”

To start, I have volunteered at 2nd Harvest sorting food for several food banks throughout the community. I have sorted watermelons, potatoes, limes and food boxes to be sent to seniors in the community. While the work is tiring and the warehouse is often cold, it is always rewarding to hear just how many pounds of food we helped sort by the end of our shift, all for the good of those less fortunate in our community.

Another organization I have been involved with is the Christmas Bureau which took place during the Christmas season. I was put in charge of the candy table, which was responsible for handing candy canes to the adults who attended who did not have children to claim. A simple candy cane may not seem like much, but the smiles I often received at the other end of that red and white cane was extremely rewarding.

Lastly, I dedicated almost an entire Saturday to the “Fill the Bus” event that North Pines hosted at the Trading Company in Spokane Valley. My job was to keep an eye on the students who volunteered, collect food for local food banks (Thanksgiving themed) in a cart and wheel the cart out to a big yellow school bus which was pretty full by the time we finished! That food was taken to a local food bank to benefit families on Thanksgiving. One student was asked by a newscaster about the “competition” among the other middle schools to collect the most food and without hesitation he responded “That’s not what this about! It’s about helping people on Thanksgiving.” Truly an awesome thing to hear from a kid in middle school! “

His Hope, His Dream, Our Responsiblity. MLK Celebration!

By Whitney McKelvey, AmeriCorps member

AmeriCorps Members at STA Bus Plaza

Martin Luther King Jr. courageously shared his dream in hopes of equality for all men, women and children. Over 80 AmeriCorps members and staff congregated together on January 16, 2012 to celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. by continuing in his fight for equal opportunity and to celebrate diversity. AmeriCorps members first listened to the insightful reflection of community leaders and the passionate speeches of Reverend Percy “Happy” Watkins and Reverend Dr. Stephen J. Thurston.

AmeriCorps members and staff, along with over 3,000 supporters, marched from INB Performing Art Center to Riverpark Square (

MLK March

Members held the AmeriCorps banner up high with pride as everyone marched to the beautiful beat of Native American drummers and high school band. As AmeriCorps marched past police officers a kind “thank you” was said to each officer in gratitude for their service and dedication to protecting all the participants.

After the march, Washington Reading Corps led a well organized children’s fair with the help of the Spokane Service Team at the STA Bus Plaza. All children were welcome to make fun arts and crafts, such as friendship bracelets and lamb costumes out of paper bags. AmeriCorps was able to give away over 500 books thanks to the donations of local nonprofits and individuals in the community.

Thank you to all AmeriCorps members, staff and family who volunteered and participated in the Martin Luther King events. AmeriCorps continues to dedicate its work every day to “Getting Things Done”. People in the Spokane community recognize the dedication and positive impact AmeriCorps volunteers have on the community. Spokane Mayor David Condon captured the essence of the AmeriCorps mission as he said,

“Though we celebrate Martin Luther King Day just one day a year, we are working to live out the principles he taught us every day.”

Season of Service 2011

Tis the season for AmeriCorps members to venture out into the Spokane community and make a positive impact. Season Of Service is a month long volunteering project, where individuals partner with local nonprofits to the serve the Spokane community during the holiday season.
Season of Service kick-off was a huge success, as ESD101 Riverside Office hosted a celebration, Holiday Sweater Party on December 6th, 2011. Over 80 AmeriCorps members, family, friends and staff came together to sing Christmas carols and hear stories from Santa. Participants decorated 175 cards for Meals on Wheels and 200 cards for veterans. After eating a delicious dinner of lasagna and green salad, representatives from local nonprofits presented to those who attended; offering volunteering opportunities in December.

Particapating nonprofit organizations with contact information:

1. Toys for Tots -Joshua Wiese-(509)327-4216 ext.7

2. Meals on Wheels -Sarah Robertsons-(509)924-6976

3. First Night Spokane -Lona Barnum-(509)456-0508

4. 2nd Harvest -Debbie Clemens-(509)252-6257

5. Mission Community Outreach -Mark Kinney-(509)499-5809

Everyone left the celebration excited and ready to serve!

Here come the graduates!

YouthBuild participants pictured clockwise are Justin Roberson, Xavier Jones, Dylan Campbell and Robert (Bert) Holden who received a GED, and Brittanee Freeland, who earned a high school diploma. Also pictured in center of photo is Jessica Cross, NEWESD 101 education case manager. Not pictured: YouthBuild graduate Austin Chastain.

Six members of NEWESD 101’s YouthBuild Spokane were acknowledged at a celebration breakfast October 28 for achieving important educational milestones.
Recognized for earning a GED were Justin Roberson, Xavier Jones, Dylan Campbell and Robert Holden. Brittanee Freeland was recognized for meeting requirements for a high school diploma.
Justin is an aspiring underwater welder with plans to attend Spokane Community College after completing YouthBuild. Xavier would like to join the Army National Guard. Afterwards, he is interested in going to college or doing an apprenticeship. Dylan is considering careers in long- haul truck driving and culinary arts.
Robert would like to train for a career as a technician engineer or mechanic. In the meantime, he is pursuing an apprenticeship as a heavy equipment operator. Brittanee is attending a college preparation course through the Community Colleges of Spokane and plans to transition to post-secondary education once her term is complete.
Austin Chastain, who also earned a GED, will be attending Spokane Community College and transferring to Eastern Washington University to obtain degrees in English and philosophy while training as a high school teacher. Eventually, he would like to work as a college professor.
In YouthBuild, young adults who left high school are given a second chance in the classroom, while also training for a career in the construction industry. Since YouthBuild began in 2009, 96 percent of program graduates have earned a high school diploma or GED. Twenty-eight percent have gone to college and 40 percent entered full-time employment in the non-profit or commercial construction sectors.
Participants also receive an opportunity to co-enroll in AmeriCorps. So far, 44 YouthBuild members have completed over 13,000 hours of community service through AmeriCorps, earning more than $51,700 for current or future post-secondary education expenses.
Jessica Cross was recently hired to work with YouthBuild members as an education case manager. Since she began this past August, she has already helped three students earn a high school diploma. Another nine have completed their GED.
“Jessica’s dedication has made a positive difference for students and the YouthBuild program,” said Manda Edwards, program manager. ”She works with participants to improve literacy and numeracy skills while laying a foundation for them to earn a diploma or GED. She also helps every member develop a long-term education plan.”
YouthBuild participants spend half of each day in the classroom, completing credit toward their high school diplomas or GEDs, and the other half on construction job sites. Students successfully completing a six-month term receive an AmeriCorps educational award of $1,125.
YouthBuild members are currently constructing a new home at 2119 West Mallon in Spokane. Once complete, the City of Spokane will sell the home to a low-income family and/or first-time home buyer. Most recently, the YouthBuild team completed a similar home in the Spokane Valley for First Story, a Northwest non-profit.
Individuals and families interested in learning more about YouthBuild Spokane may attend an informational session at 2424 East Riverside Avenue on November 17 or November 30 at 3 p.m. The next cohort of YouthBuild will begin in December. (A.H.)

Make a Difference Day 2011

by Whitney McKelvey, AmeriCorps member
Make A Difference Day is a national day of service held annually on the fourth Saturday of October where millions of Americans complete a day of action to help change the world. On the morning of October 22nd, over 80 AmeriCorps Members belonging to Spokane Service Team, Washington Reader Corps, Youth Build, and New Alliance worked together to better the Spokane Community. Efforts helped feed the hungry, cloth children, improve the environment and serve homeless animals. No action was too small, as every task completed helped make a difference in the life of another in the Spokane Community. Thank you to all the compassionate participants!

AmeriCorps members, staff, family and friends eagerly served at:

Liberty Park

Reforest Spokane- 25 AmeriCorps members alongside 700 other community volunteers planted 10,000 Ponderosa Pines.The Reforest Spokane project was organized by the Lands Council of Spokane. Tree planting efforts will increase areas of much needed shade, reduce traffic noise and create a more beautiful Spokane community.

Sorting Potatoes

2nd Harvest Food Bank- Distributes to a network of 250 food banks and meal centers serving in Eastern Washington and North Idaho. AmeriCorps Members took part on Make a Difference Day in bagging over 7,000 pounds of potatoes which will feed over 2,600 hungry people. 2n Harvest, along with volunteers, feeds over 40,000 hungry people region wide each week and provides 1.7 million pounds of donated food each month.

AmeriCorps Members in the Nursery

Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery- AmeriCorps Members assisted Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery in sorting donated baby clothing, packaging diapers and cleaning the facility. Efforts will help continue the nursery’s mission of keeping over 4,000 kids safe and warm each year. Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery is an important resource for parents to use for childcare, parent education, crisis counseling and free clothing/diapers.

Sorting Toys

Inland NW Baby-Inland Northwest Baby is a nonprofit founded by a 14 year old boy with incredible social awareness. He recognized the need that children had in the Spokane Community for necessities items, such as clothing and diapers and took action. AmeriCorps Members on Make a Difference Day helped the facility organize clothing for children and packaged diapers.

Making Dog Treats

SpokAnimal- SpokAnimal is an amazing organization dedicated to the placement, protection and health of animals in the Spokane Community. AmeriCorps Members along with their families helped bake dog treats to be sold at the SpokAnimal facility. Both AmeriCorps and SpokAnimal feel it is important to help the living creatures in the Spokane community who do not have a voice to represent themselves. Proceeds will go to help continue the mission of SpokAnimal, as they help over 700 animals a month.

YouthBuild staff, Manny Santos

Bethany Presbyterian Church-AmeriCorps Members worked together on Make a Difference Day in moving, cleaning and organizing the storage of Bethany Presbyterian Church so that new nonprofits can use their third floor for operations. Volunteers also completed various renovation tasks. The effort and work completed by these volunteers in one day would have taken the church three weeks to complete. Bethany Presbyterian Church helps build the Spokane community as it encourages individuals to demonstrate grace, service, integrity and hospitality. The facility also offers its services to youth programs, such as Crosswalk.

Cleaning Desks

Slavic Christian Academy Enrolls students from preschool to 12th grade. 11 AmeriCorps volunteers came together on Make a Difference Day to clean classes, the cafeteria, the library. Volunteers also decorated bulletin boards, painted, and picked up garbage outside.

Building a Home; Building a Dream

Brianna Solis, a mother of two, wiped a tear from her eye as she unlocked the door to her new home in the community of Covey Glenn. “I keep thinking that one day I will wake up and it will all be a dream” said Solis. But, it’s actually a dream come true.
When First Story, a Northwest non-profit, dedicated a new Spokane Valley home in late September, it did more than provide a beautiful, affordable home to a deserving family. Indeed, the dedication ceremony also showcased the talent of local youth, members of NEWESD101’s AmeriCorps YouthBuild program, who built the house.

Youth in the NEWESD program have long been involved in the construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing in the Spokane area. This, however, was the first constructed in partnership with First Story, a non-profit based in Bend, Ore. Students, under the supervision of trained professionals, built the home from the ground up. The home is located in the Covey Glen community near Barker Road.

YouthBuild students learned many new skills while building this home and appreciated the opportunity to be part of such a valuable mission. “Our partnership with YouthBuild allows us to transform the lives of at-risk young adults,” said Shon Rae, executive director of First Story, who traveled to the dedication from Bend. “The trainees gain a valuable education, job training and leadership skills while helping a family right here in need in the Spokane Valley.”

“I have learned more while building this house than any other job. I learned about carpeting, roofing, caulking, tiling and many other skills. But, what will be my most prized memory is the memory of today; the day that we get to give this house to Brianna Solis and her family.”
– YouthBuild Member, Marissa Dire

First Story serves families that don’t qualify for government-assisted housing, but still lack the resources to own their own home. The organization is building six homes this year in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

September 11th Memorial Stair Climb

On the morning of September 11th, 2011, 31 New ESD101 AmeriCorps Members assisted 260 fire service members in the Memorial Stair Climb held at the Bank of America Building, located in downtown Spokane. Fire service members convene in high-rise buildings across the United States to climb 110 stories as a tribute to their fallen brothers.
Some used air packs or carried hoses; many in full turn-out gear; others were accompanied by rescue dogs. Each climber carried the photograph and biographical sketch of a firefighter who was lost on September 11, Memorial Stair Climb is not a race, but an opportunity to honor and remember the 343 FDNY members who selflessly gave their lives so that others might live. It was truly an honor for AmeriCorps Members to take part in such an unforgettable event.

“We will never forget that tragic day-innocent lives lost, the bravery of those who responded, and the remarkable spirit of unity and compassion that swept the country in the aftermath,” said Robert Velasco II, Acting CEO of the Corporation of National and Community Service. “We are asking Americans to remember the lives of those lost, pay tribute to those who rose in service, and honor those who serve our country today by engaging in service on the 9/11 weekend.”

The Spokane stair climb was one of approximately 50 memorial stair climbing events that was held across the country.