Among the most recent additions to the network, the Philadelphia Service Year Impact Community is led by the Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service, with strong support from state-wide national service leadership and cross-sectoral partners. With the goal of growing and diversifying programs to address unmet needs of under-resourced populations in the city, this Service Year Impact Community is in the early stages of developing a strategy to integrate service years into a more coordinated system of targeted investment, while developing career and leadership skills, and further increasing the sense of collective community responsibility that is already embedded in the fabric of Philadelphia.
Serve Philadelphia, Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service
Education, Health, Environment, Workforce Development, Economic Opportunity, Immigrants and Refugees, College Access
Current number of service years in impact community:
Philadelphia has over 2,500 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members serving each year and many other members who participate in service years not funded by CNCS.
Current number of service year programs in community:
35 programs participate actively in our National Service Task Force Program Council which meets monthly to share best practices, collaborate and organize network-wide events.
Our goal is to make service more accessible so that every Philadelphian feels that they have the ability to give a year of service. Additionally, we hope to reduce barriers to service so that all of our service corps reflect the diversity of the city.
How service years have/will help your community address local challenges:
Currently in Philadelphia, service years address every issue area that our city faces including education, health, environment, public safety, and workforce development. Part of our growth strategy is to work to embed service years as a part of the solution to any issue that exists and may arise in the future. We have been able to strategically create service year positions to address our most pressing issues including combating the opioid crisis.
In October 2018, Mayor Jim Kenney signed an executive order to combat the opioid crisis. This order activated 35 City departments, agencies and offices for a joint emergency response to the epidemic. The innovative ideas and cross collaboration which came out of this Resilience Project was the catalyst for the opportunity to leverage AmeriCorps VISTA members though the City’s Serve Philadelphia VISTA program. These five service year members have been assigned to work on increasing safe and affordable housing, developing medically assisted treatment plans for individuals moving in and out of the prison system, creating safe corridors to schools for students and many more capacity building projects which will greatly increase the quality of life in this affected area and help to address the opioid crisis as a whole.
PowerCorps has strong results with the AmeriCorps members who are serving. In addition to its environmental impacts, PowerCorpsPHL intentionally recruits disconnected or “opportunity youth,” and the support they provide to these AmeriCorps members are telling: 70% of alumni who transitioned to employment entered full-time career-pathway positions. 59% of alumni who transitioned to employment secured positions in the environmental field. Only 10% of PowerCorpsPHL alumni with prior criminal convictions recidivated within one year of service, a contrast to Philadelphia’s rate of 45% of individuals 18-24 re-arrested within one year.
How working with Service Year Alliance/being a member of the Impact Community Network has been helpful:
"Working with Service Year Alliance has helped Philadelphia to take the next step in expanding service in the city. For many years, Philadelphia has had a strong network of programs which are able to support each other on an operational level. With the support of Service Year Alliance, we are now we convening a cross-sector collaborative which will work towards creating a strategic long term plan for Philadelphia with a goal of making service years more accessible and expanding the number of opportunities to serve our city.”
-Amanda Finch, Chief Service Officer, City of Philadelphia