National service agency hosts city-wide, swearing-in and volunteer recognition ceremonies with Volunteer Louisiana and Teach for America NOLA

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, Sept. 22, AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism, Volunteer Louisiana and Teach for America NOLA hosted a city-wide AmeriCorps member swearing-in event and volunteer recognition ceremony in New Orleans. During the event, Michael D. Smith, AmeriCorps CEO and Ge’ron Tatum, Teach for America NOLA executive director gave remarks about national service and volunteerism in Louisiana. Smith then led AmeriCorps members from across the city in the AmeriCorps pledge to kick off their year of service. Smith also awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Lifetime Achievement Awards to two New Orleans-based volunteers who have served thousands of hours across multiple organizations.

“For the past 19 years, the President’s Volunteer Service Award has inspired countless people to enact change, which highlights the enduring spirit of service,” said AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith. “I was honored to recognize Craig Blackburn and Ed Brannan for their decade's long commitment to service in the New Orleans community. Thank you both for sacrificing your time and demonstrating service as a uniting force.”

Yesterday’s President’s Volunteer Service Award recipients include:

  • Craig Blackburn, Down Syndrome Association of Greater New Orleans, Gold Award, 500 Hours
    Blackburn is a volunteer, advocate and champion for Down Syndrome Association of Greater New Orleans. He has served on numerous boards over the last 20 years such as National Down Syndrome Society and Special Olympics Athlete Leadership Counsel. He also volunteers at Knights of Columbus, East Jefferson Hospital and enjoys spending time helping older adults.
  • Edwin “Ed” Brannan, AmeriCorps RSVP with Volunteers of America, Lifetime Achievement Award
    A lifelong resident of New Orleans and proud Jesuit High School and Spring Hill graduate, Brannan serves with AmeriCorps RSVP where he supports local seniors who need rides to doctor’s visits and appointments, among other services to support their independence. Brannan has been a mainstay of the transportation program since 2003 and has completed thousands of volunteer service hours.

Led by AmeriCorps and managed in partnership with Points of Light, the President’s Volunteer Service Award allows organizations to recognize their most exceptional volunteers based on service over a 12-month period or a lifetime. The awards program began in 2003 and honors individuals whose service positively impacts communities in every corner of the nation and inspires others to act.

Currently, more than 470 AmeriCorps members and 380 AmeriCorps Senior volunteers serve at more than 120 locations in New Orleans. Last year, the city received more than $2.6 million AmeriCorps funding, which was matched with nearly $1.5 million in local support.

AmeriCorps CEO Presents President’s Volunteer Service Award to New Orleans Volunteers