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A Concern for AmeriCorps Funding

by Lorenzo Burgio

NEW BRITAIN — A concern over possible cuts to AmeriCorps’ funding was expressed to Sen. Richard Blumenthal during a town hall meeting held at Central Connecticut State University in Welte Auditorium on Sunday, Feb. 27.

“There has recently been a potential list of programs that will be cut by the White House and that includes AmeriCorps. This would devastate the programs — it would definitely directly affect Teach For America,” said Christopher Marinelli, Social Justice Chair of the CCSU Student Government Association, to Blumenthal in front of a crowd of several hundred.

“The past four years here [at CCSU], it has always been my expectation that upon graduation I will enter public service,” said Marinelli, who added he begins a job with Teach For America in the fall.

AmeriCorps funds Teach For America, the Peace Corp and United Way. ”All these organizations are under the umbrella of the AmeriCorps grant,” Marinelli said to The Recorder. This would impact about 800 Teach For America participants in Connecticut alone.

“What expectations are there right now between the Democratic and Republican members of Congress to uphold this program amongst the cuts that are kind of being floated around? And is there anything that we should do besides just calling and getting involved in the local political process to kind of make sure these programs are maintained?” Marinelli asked Blumenthal.

“We all are involved in public life because of role models we had, and because of examples of leadership that we follow. And the Peace Corp and Teach for America… give people a way to make a difference and to begin careers in public service and civic engagement,” said Blumenthal.

“I am going to continue fighting for them because they make a difference to the young people who are taught, to people abroad who see Americans and that’s the way they regard this country, as the way they see those young Americans who are idealistic and caring and generous,” added the senator. “They are essential to our fighting as a democracy.”

“It was great to hear him [Blumenthal] on recorder saying he will uphold these organizations,” said Marinelli after the meeting.