Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) joined Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, and Rosa Moreno-Mahoney, the Director of AmeriCorps, to announce an AmeriCorps grant of more than $1 million for the California Children and Families Foundation, an El Cerrito based nonprofit organization. The grant will enable 90 full-time AmeriCorps members and hundreds of local volunteers to provide individualized school readiness activities in one-on-one and small group sessions for disadvantaged children ages 2-5 across California.
The Corporation for National and Community Service, the government agency that administers AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and the Social Innovation Fund, has awarded this grant for the following 11 county First 5 Commissions of California: Fresno, Glenn, Madera, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Tehama, and Yuba.
"This is good news for California and for young children and their families,” Congressman Garamendi said. “By focusing on children in disadvantaged households, this service will help narrow the achievement gap that exists between wealthy and lower income families."
"First 5 is dedicated to ensuring that all children have the opportunity to succeed in school and life," said Moira Kenney, Executive Director of the California Children and Families Foundation. "Partnering with AmeriCorps, we have the opportunity to engage dedicated young volunteers in this critical work. Our experience tells us that this will be life-changing for both the volunteers and the children they teach."
Disadvantaged children often lack adequate support at home or from the community. AmeriCorps members will focus on helping children with emotional development, school readiness, literacy, and math. The science is clear: individualized attention helps kids perform better at school, leads to higher test scores, and improves lifelong success.
"National service is a critical and cost effective approach to solving problems," Garamendi added. "In these tough economic times, Americans are committed to serving their communities more than ever. I want to thank all those who have served in AmeriCorps and the organizations that have made their service possible."