In response to David Brooks’ piece “We Need National Service. Now.”:
I agree. National service not only helps those being served but those serving. I am a walking testimony of how true this is. I’d given up hope after aging out of foster care as I struggled with so much financial hardship. Then in late 2015, unemployed, living in public housing, I was accepted at Green City Force, an AmeriCorps program that gives young adults the opportunity to serve throughout NYC, with a focus on environmental and health projects in public housing communities, while preparing for careers. The financial and moral support from the organization motivated me and changed my living conditions; the acts of gratitude and change from the people I got to serve gave me purpose, changing my views on life.
Many young adults are unemployed due to the pandemic, disproportionately young adults of color like myself. They are ready to find a purpose. This is why I believe Chris Coon’s idea to expand National Service is a tremendous idea. This will give young adults, full of potential to help build a greener and healthier society, a chance to find financial stability while also preventing the many hardships that come with being unemployed. It can create alternatives and improvements which will potentially minimize crime rates as well. It can be the start of a brighter future that everyone should have the opportunity to be a part of. We need change, led from within communities most affected! We need National Service now!
Sadiqua Minor, Cohort 11
EmPower Program Coordinator