Across the country, local leaders honored AmeriCorps volunteers Tuesday.
On National Service Recognition Day, the leaders honored Volunteers in Service To America (VISTA) and Senior Corps members who serve in urban, suburban, rural and tribal areas to help people overcome poverty.
More and more communities now use volunteer services to help them overcome their toughest challenges, according to a Central Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association news release. CMFCAA recognized its three VISTA members in a ceremony Tuesday morning. Each received a certificate of appreciation.
VISTA member Rubina Jabbar, from Chicago, said support from the city and Lincoln University has helped her serve in Jefferson City.
"I serve because I believe every child deserves a loving, forever family," Jabbar said. "Here at CMFCAA, every day, we make sure that children have access to a loving family."
The VISTA volunteers came from all over the United States to help CMFCAA combat adverse childhood experiences for children who have been abused and neglected, organizers said.
VISTA member Ronald Little now lives in Tennessee, but that wasn't always the case, he said. He grew up in Waynesville.
But he was seriously injured in a traffic accident.
"To make a long story short, somebody helped me to get where I am today," Little said. "So why not help the other generation as well?"
Little now is serving at his second AmeriCorps site, having served in Mississippi previously.
"The fact that Jefferson City welcomes us here makes this job more meaningful," he said.
Bryanna Leach was raised in Lansing, Michigan, and is a student at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She said CMFCAA is the perfect site for her.
She is adopted, and she wants to work in public service.
"(Being adopted) had a big impact on me," Leach said. "CMFCAA is important to me because I know how important adoption and foster care are."
"I've been involved with and gone to some of events and fundraisers you've held," Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin said as she prepared to read a proclamation. "To actually be here it just makes it real. Everything that's going on in the community — this is why it really hits home."
Tergin read the proclamation marking the sixth annual National Service Recognition Day. She read the Corporation for National and Community Service engages more than 325,000 volunteers in national service at more than 50,000 locations annually.
"Efforts of the AmeriCorps VISTA members," she said, "will increase the resiliency and healing of youth who will break the cycle of abuse and neglect in order to improve the outcome of your future and strengthen communities through personal engagement and service."