The Rapidian

Catalyst Radio: Proposed fed budget cuts eliminating national community service to affect thousands in GR

The Michigan Community Service Commission joins us on air to detail service in urban and rural areas, and how the GR community and volunteers would be directly affected by proposed federal budget cuts
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About Catalyst Radio

Catalyst Radio is the weekly public affairs radio program of Community Media Center, with producer and host Linda Gellasch, along with Denise Cheng. The program is a feature of WYCE and The Rapidian and includes interviews with organizations and people working on social change and community support, examines media and free speech issues, and takes a look at the behind-the-scenes of Rapidian reporting. You can catch it on air at noon every Friday on WYCE 88.1 FM or streaming on the Grand Rapids Community Media Center Website.

Past Catalyst Radio episodes are archived on The Rapidian.

In the Grand Rapids area alone, there are more than 60 AmeriCorps members, 1,000 Senior Corps members and 28,000 K-12 students benefiting from Learn and Serve. These community service programs are administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, which would be entirely eliminated under the current proposal addressing the federal budget crisis that has yet to pass through the Senate.

Elyse Walter of the the Michigan Community Service Commission joins us on air to detail the diversity of service in both urban and rural areas, local institutions supported by these national programs and how communities and volunteers would be directly affected.

Music this week is from Jes Kramer with "We will be warm" from her newest release, Nine.

 

ANALYSIS

Executive director of NPR resigns
Following two other high-profile resignations, Vivian Schiller of National Public Radio resigned from her position as the CEO after a year and a half in the position. This comes on the heels of resignations from Ron Schiller, the president of the NPR Foundation and Ellen Weiss, who was the senior VP of news when conservative analyst for NPR and now Fox News Juan Williams was fired.
[More: Washington Post, NPR]

Trendsetter joins the FTC team to protect consumers' interests in net neutrality policy making
Tim Wu, who coined the term "net neutrality," has accepted a position with the Federal Trade Commission to help with establishing "long-range competition and consumer protection policy initiatives."

[More: NYTimes Bits Blog]

Supreme Court decision protects protests at funerals
In an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court held up the first amendment as protection for anti-gay groups to picket at military funerals. One particularly active church leader and his congregation has been protesting at funerals, imparting that military deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan war is God's way of punishing America for tolerating homosexuality.
[More: Reuters]

Local channel booted off cable options
Negotiations between DISH Network and LIN Media were unresolved last week, and as a result, 104,000 households with televisions are no longer receiving WOOD TV8.
[More: MLive]

Interview with inaugural curator and artist for first digital museum
Last fall, Adobe established a museum but with a twist. While the museum invites curators, has exhibitions and showcases artists, it exists only online. 
[More: NYTimes Tech Talk PodcastAdobe Museum]

 

CALENDAR

[DINING + EDUCATION] Wake Up Weekend 2011 kicks off
7:30 p.m. on Thursday till Saturday, March 12
Free and donation events
The annual Wake Up Weekend is a collaboration among local colleges and organizations to explore the implications of different diets and our relationships with animals. On all three days, there will be lectures and music benefits that culminate in a vegan chili cook-off at new downtown eatery Bartertown.
[More]

[ENTERTAINMENT + YOUTH] Kids' Joke Night
6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15 at Grand Rapids Children's Museum (22 Sheldon NE)
All of February, GRCM has been collecting kids' jokes on video. On Tuesday, GRCM will be screening the video of jokes that everyone has shared.
[More]

[ARTS + POLITICS] The Beehive Collective stops in Grand Rapids on Tuesday, March 15
11 a.m. - 3 p.m.: Collaborative image making workshop at Fire Hydrant Press
6:30-8:30 p.m.: Discussion and banner exhibit at Kendall College
The Beehive Collective, based in Maine, is a group of artists that work on intricate pieces of visual storytelling portraying the effects of militarism and globalization in the Americas. They will be traveling to Kendall College to share some of these pieces and their process.
[More: Image workshop, discussion]

[WOMEN + EDUCATION] Diversity Lecture Series - A thousand sisters: My journey into the worst place on earth to be a woman
7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16 at Fountain Street Church (24 Fountain NE)
When Lisa Shannon learned about atrocities in the Congo, where women are gang-raped and demoralized, she decided to become an activist and a sister, leaving behind a successful company, a fiancé and security. She founded Run for Congo Women, a grassroots movement for Congolese women.
[More]

[ARTS + EDUCATION] Lecture: Art in Public - Politics, economics and a democratic culture
Lecture at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 17 at Grand Rapids Art Museum (101 Monroe Center)
Symposium on Friday, March 18 at 1 p.m. at UICA (41 Sheldon SE)
Lambert Zuidervaart is a former arts organizer and resident of Grand Rapids. His recently published book, “Art in Public” is informed by his experience as a leader in the Grand Rapids cultural community as well as his expertise in the arts, humanities and social sciences. He is in Grand Rapids to lecture and conduct a symposium from March 17-18.
[More]

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Comments

With increasing pressure for area non-profits to do more with less, the impact of an AmeriCorps member is huge. AmeriCorps members build capacity of these non-profits, and bring in a rejuvinating attitude of pragmatic idealism.

Eliminating funding to the Corporation for National and Community Service pulls the rug out from under organizations that are striving to meet the basic needs of neighbors living in communities shaped by poverty, institutionalized racism, drugs, poor education, the ingestion of lead, a lack of access to nutritious food, and cycles of abuse due to a virilent combination of all of these.

Even as we strive for systemic change, it would be devestating to our communities, our state, and our nation to suddenly eradicate an affordable force of individuals that make it possible for us to meet basic needs of our nation's citizens.

Furthermore, without this program, thousands of individuals will end up jobless, without unemployment benefits. They will only add to the demand for the human services. Many of the individuals who are taking positions with AmeriCorps are not only interested in making a difference in their community, but also have found this to be their only option for employment. Yes, AmeriCorps members are "volunteers", but many of these individuals have been laid off from a long held career, or have found themselves with a college degree and no prospects, or are trying desperately to find a way to afford the astronomically high cost of what has become a very unnecessarily necessary college education.

But serving AmeriCorps is a damn good way to invest energies, even at poverty wages. It offers a tremendous perspective, and the opportunity to build and utilize a much needed skill set to be responsible global citizens.

 


 Sheesh! Well said!

What stood out to me about my AmeriCorps training is that it attracted people from so many walks of life - younger, older, high school to grad school grads, different physical abilities, racial and income backgrounds. And all there to really put their abilities to the test for the communities where they're placed.

If it were not for the Digital Arts Service Corps, a program fueled by AmeriCorps VISTA, Grand Rapids would have never been on my radar. I'm grateful that AmeriCorps brought me to The Rapidian and to such a welcoming community where anyone who's passionate can make an impact.

It is unbelievable that, of all things, Americorps would be on the federal chopping block... What a great resource to organizations all over the country that otherwise couldn't afford the help. Americorps positions provide experience in hundreds of different fields as well... My Americorps experience leading a trail restoration crew in the Rockies and teaching environmental education has made me far more aware of humans' relationship with nature-- something valuable that I've brought back to my community here in Grand Rapids and hope to use when working with city parks.

 

An absolute shame. FDR would be rolling in his grave.

A few years ago, I never thought I'd be one to write about such an organization, but after having so many of my friends join and benefit while having so many diverse people come into my life as a direct result... it would seem hugely unfortunate to live in a world without it.

 

Like stated above, they already do so much with so very little and I feel any economic impact is probably the least concern. Helping other cultures & areas of the world via the people of our own communities and vice-versa helps us all grow together as societies and human beings. It teaches us new ways to live effectively and sustainably in a world so difficult to do so. We only learn best from each other. Having that one-on-one real-world interaction with real people on the other side of the planet and back is not something to take lightly.

 

To anybody reading this involved in the decision, please reconsider and research the organization you are looking to eliminate. The benefits are there. And they are huge.

 

A decision like this only closes us off to the rest of the world, which is the far opposite of what our intentions should be in this age.

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