A National Service Podcast

Host Ken Harbaugh sits down with policy makers, military leaders, academics, and changemakers for inspiring conversations about national service and what it will take to move our country forward.

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Spotify

Episode 4: Think Global, Act Local

| S:1 E:4

Ken explores national service at the local level by talking to Fagan Harris, co-founder and CEO of Baltimore Corps and board president of Lead for America, and Cheri Selby Pearson, Executive Director of Public Allies North Carolina.

The alumni testimonial features Raijene Murchison, a current Public Ally at the WELL (the Wade Edwards Learning Lab) in Raleigh and a former City Year Corps Member.

Ken Harbaugh: Are you interested in devoting a year to national service? Visit ServiceYear.org/podcast to start searching for thousands of paid, full-time opportunities to spend a year transforming your life through national service. ServiceYear.org/podcast

Welcome to Rebuilding America, produced in partnership with New Politics. We’re here to talk about national service: what is it, why do we need it, and can it rebuild America? Today, national service at the local level.

I’m talking first with Fagan Harris - co founder and CEO of Baltimore Corps - a social entrepreneurship platform serving the city of Baltimore. Fagan is also the board president of Lead for America and he served in the Obama administration on the White House Council for Community Solutions. Fagan has dedicated his career to national service on a local and city level.

Later, I’ll talk with Cheri Selby Pearson, the Executive Director of Public Allies in North Carolina, about her state-wide work helping non-profits build capacity. And we’ll hear a testimonial from Raijene Murchison, a Public Ally in Cheri’s North Carolina branch.

But first: Fagan Harris, founder and CEO of Baltimore Corps. I started our conversation by asking him why he’s dedicated his life to his hometown city. He went away to college and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford - how did he find his way back to Baltimore?

Fagan Harris: After I graduated college, I moved to Oakland and I worked for a nonprofit organization called College Track. We worked with some of the most vulnerable young people in the Bay Area. And I remember just feeling so enmeshed in place and also simultaneously being struck by the feeling that this wasn't my place. I would call home to my mom and she would just tell me all the things going on in Baltimore, the struggles, the aspiration, the hopes, the dreams, the neighbors, the communities. And I just had this eerie feeling, if I don't get home and do the work, I could just see 20 years flying by and I'll miss this opportunity to come home and dig deep in my home community and give back. And so it was really just as simple as that, at 25, I decided to come home.

KH: Talk to me about the work as you put it, explain the city core model. I know you are in the trenches in Baltimore, but it's applicable elsewhere as well. You have a presence in Birmingham. What's the theory of change? How do you do the work?

FH: Historically, national service has placed a really big premium on the national piece. National frameworks is really good and really strong and really important, but also incredibly top-down. And the city corps model is very much predicated on a belief that change comes from the bottom up and that communities are closest to the problems, and that, that reason they're closest to the solution. What we try to do is build a citywide model that really listens to the community, that enlists local residents in the solution, and really designs and deploys programs that are tailored to meet the most urgent problems in those neighborhoods and communities. In other words, it doesn't take a one size fits all model and tries to apply that everywhere. It's really cut from whole cloth and tailored to the specific needs of that community. And so what we do in Baltimore looks pretty different than what we're doing and supporting in Birmingham. And that'll look pretty different from what we'll do and support in other cities. And that's incredibly important because we feel like for national service to really be as innovative and as legitimate and credible in the eyes of the community as it needs to be to sustain and scale, it needs to come from the bottom up. It needs to come from the community.

KH: You said in your answer, that cities are closest to the problem, which is evocative of a quote that I've heard you use before, “people closest to the problem are closest to the solution”. The full quote is, “those closest to the problem are closest to the solution, but furthest from resources and power”. I want to have a conversation about that, the idea that we have so much accumulated wisdom and energy and desire for service in cities, but really a misallocation of resources and in some cases an intentional overlooking of those communities. How does your approach address that?

FH: It's a phenomenal question, Ken. When we were getting Baltimore Corps going, I like to point out to people, I said, Baltimore can be the best place in the world to change the world, this can really be a hub for social justice, this could really be an epicenter for racial justice in this country, for healing and for progress, for innovation. But to do that, we were going to need to invest and we were going to need to overcome centuries of intentional disinvestment. As important as Baltimore is today to the national conversation as a model, Baltimore is the very same city that at the turn of the 20th century was the first market to conceive of red lining, the intentional exclusion of Black people and people of color from certain neighborhoods because of the color of their skin and the hope to preserve home values for white people. Baltimore pioneered that, we invented that. And so that is as much of our history as some of the phenomenal work that's happening today. And so when you come into Baltimore and you do work in Baltimore, it's super important to repair the harm or at least begin to try to, and to really affirmatively invest in the neighborhoods, the communities, the families, the children, the individual leaders, who are homegrown and indigenous to the community who are doing phenomenal work in the community, but are coming from a context where for the last 250 years, they have been purposely excluded from resource allocation and the opportunity to be a part of the solution. The city corps model really pushes down as many responsive resources as we can to the neighborhood level. We have programs like our elevation awards, for example, that invest in social entrepreneurs of color from some of the most heavily divested zip codes in Baltimore City. And these folks are absolutely genius. We do an RFP for this, we'll get five or 600 applications in the span of just a couple of weeks. And this is from your neighbor next door, this is from the auntie across the street, this is from the grandma down the road. These are folks who just have phenomenal ideas for childcare, for food delivery and food systems, for the environment, for job creation, for workforce training. In other words, these folks who have really been confronting some of the most difficult problems have also been really proximate to some of the most powerful solutions. And if we just listen and go deep and invest and elevate, we can all benefit from that work.

KH: Can you share one specific story of that happening and you seeing the ROI that that investment expects?

FH: There is a man we awarded an Elevation Award to named Antoin Quarles. Antoin is a Baltimore native and was heavily involved in the drug trade in the 1990s and early 2000s. And so when Antoin came home from prison for the last time, he decided he wanted to take all that he had learned and all the wisdom he accumulated to really pioneer a new model to contain and reduce recidivism back to prison. Antoin had been through Narcotics Anonymous and was a big fan of the AA model. And so he conceived effectively an AA model for returning citizens. So when guys come home, every week they sit in a circle with other guys who have also returned home and they support each other. They do resume building, they do job skill training, they vent, it's a little bit like therapy, they support each other. And it has been unbelievably powerful. I mean, Antoin's been doing this for five years and he's not had a single guy go back behind the fence. And Antoin had the brilliant insight of, “hey, if we put some structure around this and we use some of the tools and some of the wisdom we've learned from other things that we have been through, we can recreate that experience. And by really mining from within our community of folks returning home from prison, support one another and help sustain the progress here back in the real world.”

KH: Baltimore Corps is a national service program, but when a lot of people think about national service, when they hear the term AmeriCorps, there’s this image of AmeriCorps I think that it's tied to old images of the Civilian Conservation Corps and bringing Americans together from across the country to join in some shared mission. And I think it misses just how much work there is to be done in reconnecting citizens in cities, because of that focus on reconnecting people across the country, it misses just how much of a gap there still is among neighbors. Is that something you think about in implementing your Baltimore Corps programs, the connectivity that you're engineering?

FH: We do think about it. Our conviction is that people really want to love their community and that's especially so in cities. Living in Baltimore is a fairly unique experience for those of us who call the city home and there's a bond there and there's a baseline to work from. When you come into a community like Baltimore, and I think this is true of a lot of midsize cities, it's a town where people really care where you grew up, it's a town where they really care if you vote, it's a town where they really care how you serve and how you show up. Whether that's attending a shiva for someone who's recently lost a loved one, if it's going to a baby shower, or if it's checking in on our elderly community at the nursing home, it's a town that notices when you show up and when you care. And I guess that was precisely what we were responding to at Baltimore Corps, was that a lot of the human assets and the connectivity was already there, but I had not seen many examples where anyone had put structure and resource around that and said, well, let's build a utility in proportion to our potential because people really care about this city and they are ride or die for it. And they desperately want to see it do well, no matter where they live. That's the shocking thing. I mean, from some of the most disinvested and struggling neighborhoods to some of the most affluent, people really really really care. Our job was really just to put the scaffolding around that, to help people connect. We like to say that we're the front door to service here in Baltimore. Anyone can knock, everyone's welcome in, everyone's got a seat on the bus. It's why we run so many different programs and have so many different kinds of on-ramps, is we want to give everyone that kind of tailored experience where they can show up and serve in the way that's most impactful, not just for the community, but also for them.

KH: Those divides that you allude to are our starkest in our cities and Baltimore's no exception. How successful has Baltimore Corps been in bridging those, not just by engaging opportunity youth, but by engaging others across the socioeconomic and cultural spectrum and bringing them together?

FH: In our programs, I think we've been hugely successful. So in our programs, Baltimore Corp is very intentional about how we acknowledge and address implicit bias in our screening process, making sure that everyone has the opportunity to be seen and to serve. And we take a lot of care to make sure that the demographics of the programs that we build by virtue of how we recruit and how we do outreach and how we communicate, roughly reflects the demographics of the city. We're a predominantly Black city, but we also have a vibrant immigrant community from all over the world, we have a rich Jewish tradition, and so we try to make sure all of that is reflected in our community at Baltimore Corp, we're a microcosm of the city. And so in our programs, I think we've been hugely successful because you would have say in our fellowship Rhodes scholars and folks with the GED, and they're all esteemed as really important and impactful leaders in our community because they are. Now, that said, I think at a population level, we've got a long way to go. So we're doing well in our programs. That is a lot of people, of course, but the city of Baltimore has 600,000 folks, and we have a long way to go in seeing the needle move on that front.

KH: Your organization has a pretty great track record for responding to urgent needs in the community and I don't think there's a better example of that than your response to COVID-19 and your formation of the Baltimore Health Corps. How were you able to create something like that so quickly? And how's it going?

FH: It's going really well. And I'm really proud of the team and how they've come together to meet this moment. Back in March, I fell ill with COVID, I got it at jury duty. It knocked me out for almost a month and-

KH: How are you doing?

FH: I'm doing okay, man. I'm doing okay. I really appreciate you asking. It was scary and it was really hard. I had pneumonia, I had trouble breathing and it took about four weeks to really come out of the worst part of it. And the whole time I was laid up in bed, I would just stare out the window and I would just think, “man, if I beat this thing, we are going to go on the offensive with COVID, we are going to take COVID out, enough of this stuff”. And so when we got on the other side of it, Baltimore Corps is organized functionally. It's a big organization, it's almost got 50 staff now, including our cohort of public allies who work internally to the organization and it's designed functionally. In other words, you have a team that works on recruitment for all of our programs. You have a team that works on programming and leadership development for all of our programs. You have a team that communicates their impact for all of our programs. And so when you have that functional orientation, it actually enables you to move very quickly in standing up new solutions. Because the functional expertise, the muscles, are already there. What's missing is just the new goal, the new objectives and what it is that we're trying to achieve. So we already had database capabilities, recruitment capabilities, programming capabilities. And that's precisely the design of the infrastructure why we think every city in the United States needs this kind of utility, is you need, for lack of a better term, the special forces and the toolkit, so that when things come up, you can move quickly to address them. And you don't have to build it from scratch. It will take six weeks instead of six months. And I'm not spiking the football by any means, we've got a long road ahead of us, but I do think it's notable that in the last six months, Baltimore has a fraction of the COVID spread and mortality that its neighboring cities of Philly, New York and DC have had. I think we are doing so well because we've been making those investments at a citywide service platform, in a city wide service model. We are poised to respond when things come up and get everyone enlisted and engaged in the fight. And so it's a really dark and dire time, but it could be almost by an order of magnitude much worse, but for those investments. And so you can extrapolate from this example here of Baltimore punching above its weight, doing by all things considered really well in this present moment. And look ahead to brighter better times and think, wow, if we really invest in our people, and if we take a talent perspective, which really is about respecting people's agency, helping them fulfill their hopes and dreams, not just commodifying labor, but empowering labor, we could live in a place where the schools work and the communities are safe and families can achieve their dreams because that's ultimately what cities are about.

KH: How do we scale this? You're less than an hour from the nation's capital. For the first time in a very long time there is a real push for national service legislation. How do we capitalize on that in a way that focuses resources where they're needed most, where they can make the most impact?

FH: I think part of it, Ken, and you and I've been in the movement for a very long time. Part of it is we have to change the way that we talk about the movement. I think the Joe or Jane citizen doesn't necessarily care about national service in and of themselves. Some of them do, but a lot of folks don't, but everyone cares about their community, everyone wants what's best for their family, everybody's passionate about a good education and hopefully a strong environment. And I think what we've demonstrated at Baltimore Corp, what they're doing at Lead for America, what other national service organizations have done through the years, is we've shown that we're a really powerful tool for solving the problems that matter most in people's lives. And I think we're living through a period because of COVID-19, because of the economy, because of all the things that have happened in recent years, there are a lot of problems that are present in people's minds right now, there's a lot of things that are on the front burner. And so what we have to do is position national service as a really relevant and timely tool to address that. And I think new models that really put community in the driver's seat, that work from a place of values, so that you're really speaking to people on that emotional level of what they care about. That this is not just about service, but it's about racial justice, this is about a commitment to our home and our place, and our community, and our children, and our friends, and making sure that they're okay too. I think that's how we broaden our coalition and really help bring the service movement into its next chapter.

KH: That was Fagan Harris, founder and CEO of Baltimore Corps and board president of Lead for America. He mentioned Public Allies in his description of the Baltimore Health Corps. He said that they have a cohort of Public Allies who help the Corps scale their capacity and efficiency to tackle urgent needs like the pandemic. We’ll learn what exactly Public Allies is from Cheri Selby Pearson in just a minute.

But first, let’s learn about New Politics, the sponsor of this podcast. Stay with us as founder and Executive Director Emily Cherniack tells us about the work New Politics does to lift up servant leaders into elected office.

Emily Cherniak: New Politics, which is an organization that I founded and now run, we are a nonpartisan organization that aims to revitalize American democracy by recruiting, developing, and electing servant leaders who put community and country first.

We help these outstanding leaders who have served in the military, or national service programs like AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps, run for office because we believe leaders who have dedicated their lives to serving our country are the kinds of proven leaders we need in politics.

We think that leadership should transcend "party". So we'll talk to, and consider, supporting anyone who has served and embodies those servant leadership values.

I would say to anyone who feels disillusioned and hopeless about our politics to not lose hope, because there are a wave of leaders coming up through the pipeline who have what it takes to change our politics. These are amazing servant leaders from across the country who are stepping up and answering the call to serve again, and as candidates and campaign staffers and volunteers. Leaders like James Talarico who is a Teach For America alum, and in Texas was the youngest state rep to be elected and he has already done some big wins with bipartisan efforts on education reform.

Or you look at David Crowley who is a Public Allies alum and Milwaukee state rep who, after scoring big wins for his community, is already positioned to even make more meaningful change as the first African American elected to the County Executive in the history of Milwaukee. They embody what it means to put the country first and they are sort of the hope and the inspiration that I feel when I think about the future of our politics for America.

KH: If you’re thinking about getting involved in politics, visit newpolitics.org to learn more about taking the next step in your service career.

I asked Cheri Selby Pearson to start by explaining Public Allies - who they are nationally and how they operate on a local level in her home state of North Carolina.

Cheri Selby Pearson: Here in North Carolina, we institute the national model across the state. Some of the Public Allies sites are specifically focused on cities, where some of us, like North Carolina, is focused on the state as a whole. And so, what we do is we recruit and train young leaders to go out and do capacity building in nonprofit organizations across the state. Capacity building is a really big catch-all word for a lot of nonprofits, but as we know with our current climate, but even before this, nonprofit organizations are really a safety net for a lot of people who are in need in all the communities in which we all live. And so, we go in and we kind of lift up their work, and lift up their voice, and expand their reach, increase their beneficiaries, we develop programs, institute models, and enhance their technology so that their delivery models are a bit more effective after we're done. It's a privilege to do that work and to do it within the communities in which we live.

KH: When most people think about AmeriCorps, they imagine this expansive, nationwide program that introduces young people to an ethic of service and helps inspire a sense of patriotism. But you talk about capacity building at a local level, a hyperlocal level, and I imagine many of the nonprofits that you're sending your Public Allies into are small. They are hyper-focused on the community around them. What is the importance of those local community organizations to shaping that larger sense of community and belonging, and maybe knitting it all together into an idea of citizenship?

CSP: Yeah. That is a really powerful question that you pose, Ken. My best response to that is here in North Carolina, just last year, the Center for Nonprofits of North Carolina released their survey that indicated that nonprofits in North Carolina, the large majority of them are operating on a budget of $100,000 or less. And so, they're struggling, right? Here in North Carolina also, we have a hundred counties across our state. 80 of our counties are in rural North Carolina. And so, access to things that other urban areas are privileged to have, those rural communities are not. There's maybe one grocery store, there's one gas station, there's one school. A lot of one of everything. There's not a lot of variety and opportunity for economic growth and development. And I think the third piece to that survey, which is the most important is that they were predicting that this year in 2020, that those same nonprofits that are operating on a very small budget, was going to have a 78% increase in services, and only about 16% of those nonprofits would be able to meet them. And so, it's critical that our Allies and that service year programs play a really effective role in rebuilding and reimagining what these nonprofits could do and how far their reach could go. And them wanting to serve in this capacity, you would be so surprised at how many young people want to serve their local community and have no idea how to do it and what to do. And it goes beyond the buffet tables in some shelters or giving out Thanksgiving meals, they want to do things like that all year round. And so, this is a ripe opportunity for them to do that and particularly for them to do that within the communities in which they know and they love.

KH: So many follow-ups to that answer that I want to ask you, starting with that observation that so many young people want to serve, but don't know how. What is the barrier? Is it awareness of AmeriCorps? How do we overcome the hurdles that young people face who already have that desire, they're just in need of the opportunity?

CSP: Yeah, there's a lot of hurdles, and I think that question is loaded and there's a lot of layers to pull back in that, because when we say young people, that's one big group of people, but when we begin to dissect young people in urban America, or young people in rural America, or young people of color versus young people who are not people of color, it can become really complex in terms of how do you reach them. But I think that overall, I think there's always going to be this gap in knowledge. For the typical young person that maybe has the privilege to go off to community college or to get a four year degree, even in college, you're given a curriculum and you're learning to grow and to become whatever it is that you want to become, but it doesn't really teach you that practically, and service is not something that is taught in institutions around our country, right? Civic engagement is a lost art, even at the foundational level, so I think that it's always going to be a missing piece. And I think when people are leaving college or they're leaving their two year community school, or they're within their own community, I think the need for them to want to serve rises up personally, and they're trying to figure out, "How do I do that?" And they're able to find us, AmeriCorps programs like Public Allies and a lot of service year programs, on the internet, so thank goodness for that. We have a lot of resources at our fingertips now, more than we have ever before. But I also think that there's always an opportunity for service year programs to be amplified, and we have to reimagine what that looks like, in order for us to get as many young people engaged as those who want to be engaged. I mean, it varies every single year, but on average, we get about 200 to 250 applicants and we only have 30 slots in our program. So some of that is that young people, when they do find out about us, we don't have as many opportunities for them to serve here in North Carolina as we would like, and we're hoping that that would also change.

KH: Can you share the story of one of those applicants, one of your Public Allies, and the organization that you sent them to work with?

CSP: Sure. Oh gosh. I'm actually going to choose six, and it's all under one umbrella of an organization that they served. And so, we all are pretty much familiar with former President Barack Obama's My Brother's Keeper Initiative and that initiative was kind of released to cities and states quite locally, nothing was really done on the federal level during his term of service. And so, here in Durham, where our office is centrally located in North Carolina, our County Manager Wendell Davis took up that initiative, and he couldn't quite figure out how to get it off the ground and get some movement forward, and he really wanted Durham to be a city that was going to take on this initiative and ensure that the outcomes for boys of color and Black boys would be different here in Durham. And so, I was able to sit down and talk to him about that capacity need that they had, and we went from hiring, not one Ally, but six Allies that went and begin to build on that initiative. And it is thriving and growing now, they have hired some full-time staff that are meeting the needs of boys of color and Black boys here in Durham, and trying to desperately change their outcomes, and I think that they're making a lot of traction in doing that. That story is the most powerful for me, because these six young people had no idea what they were getting themselves into. They just, again, like every young person who comes to our program, wanted to serve and wanted to be a part of something that was bigger than themselves. And until this day, each of them have chosen a pathway that continues in that same trajectory that they took working with My Brother's Keeper in Durham.

KH: When you read so much of the commentary about AmeriCorps that is coming out now with national service back in the spotlight, one of the common themes is the highlighting of its ability to bring Americans together from very different parts of the country. But speak to the importance of bridging divides, not just continentally from New York to L.A., but within a community. What is the importance, and how can a national service program facilitate this, of bridging those divides within a single community?

CSP: I believe that philanthropy exists because equity does not, and so we have these inequitable outcomes for so many people. And I think that when our humanity is brought to the table, and we're able to realize and hold our difference, and not so much see the inequities in between, there's so much more we can do to advance our community. One of the things I think about right now is the digital divide, right? We've always had a digital divide, we've always known that there are certain communities where there is no access to broadband, and there's certain communities where the students don't have access to laptops or digital devices. Now that we have COVID-19 and so many people are working remotely and students are forced to go digital, we're now forced to do something about it, and I think that those opportunities are so ripe for service years, like Public Allies, to go in and to help and to support and to rebuild those infrastructures and to provide just long-lasting sustainable outcomes for everybody within the community. Sometimes when you're in it, you don't see that there are these inequities until you step out of it, and I think that when you bring those two types of people together in a service year opportunity, they're able to come with a different lens and expose everything that needs to be exposed for everybody in the community, and it kind of becomes a healing process for the community, and changes the needs and the outcome of that community quite exceptionally. I would be remiss if I didn't say that for so many of our Allies who are able to serve in this capacity, this is not the traditional gap year service for them, because they finish a four year institution. So many of them are coming from community colleges or no college at all, and this is the most money they've ever made. And so, it is transforming very vulnerable communities at the same time that it is serving those communities that need to be rebuilt.

KH: Speaking of those Allies that Cheri talked about, we have a testimonial today from Raijene Murchison, a current Ally based in Raleigh. Her national service journey didn’t start with Public Allies though. She first served in City Year in Boston. Service was her response to a traumatic loss in her life.

Raijene Murchison: Where trauma normally leaves a gaping hole, this trauma and this loss actually left me feeling full. I just felt like I needed to love on people, I needed to do something in honor of the life that was lost. And I was like, "I need to really get my head together. I need to really figure out what I need to do with all of this energy that I feel like I need to give." And so I applied to City Year. I didn't really know what it was going to be about. I knew that it would be working with students who were considered at-risk, which was really important for me because I was an at-risk youth for most of my school career. So I said, "You know what? I think this will be the perfect way to give back to this community. And this would be a perfect way to honor the life that was lost and the trauma that I had gone through." So I didn't immediately get in. I think I was wait-listed, but thankfully a week after, I got confirmation. And I would say that, that's where my adult life began. City Year was just an amazing experience. I feel like my time at City Year, I learned how to work as a team. I learned how to be a leader. Each of the teammates, we had to lead events, we had to lead conversations and different things like that. And so it was just me, this little shy kid from Baltimore, Maryland. I was being pushed to the forefront because one, that was what was expected of me. But two, we had students that we had to mentor. We had students and we had to show the students that they could also excel in public speaking. And they could also excel at their learning and different things like that. It was just a transformative 10 months for me. And I actually got engaged. So I was looking to move to Raleigh, not knowing anyone, but my fiance. And I was like, "Okay, what can I do to get involved and ingrained in the community that is Raleigh. And so I said, "You know what, let me look and see what AmeriCorps programs are there." But Public Allies really stood out to me because you can partner with organizations and it's a lot of professional development. And I was like, "You know what, it'd be really cool to get involved in a nonprofit that deals with the community." And I can get to know the people in the community and where I live and the history, and I can help out in some way.

The thing I love about these two AmeriCorps programs that I've done, both City Year and Public Allies, is that you're working with a diverse group of people. So everybody's different. Everyone has come from a different background, everyone has had different experiences, yet we're all pushed to the forefront at some point or another to lead something, to lead an event, to lead a conversation. And there is no right or wrong way to do it. You do it and you get the experience and then you do it again and then you get a little better each time. And that gives you the confidence that you need to continue on your professional development, that you are a leader. I go into the WELL feeling like I can accomplish pretty much anything that the executive director gives to me because I have been supported, I've been encouraged enough by the program managers at Public Allies that like, "Raijene, you are a leader. Look, you lead this here, you led this there. And it was great. And people received it this way." My leading style may not be like anyone else's, but that's the point, right?

Everyone should do a term of national service. I really, really believe this because you'll be surprised how much good you can do for someone else, but you'll also be surprised how much of a leader you are. National service, it just keeps you humble and it keeps you wanting to have continuous learning, to continue to seek out where there are gaps or holes in your community and society and where you can fill them.

KH: Next week on Rebuilding America, we’re shipping out. General Stanley McChrystal and former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta join me to talk about military service and trust in government. The American people trust the military and veterans - is that something that can be replicated with other service programs? What can the military teach us about service more broadly? Find out next week.

Subscribe to Rebuilding America to get all ten episodes in your podcast feed as they come out every week. And don’t forget to rate and review - it really helps other listeners find the show.

A service year is a paid opportunity to develop real-world skills through hands-on service. Explore thousands of available service year opportunities at ServiceYear.org/podcast.

Rebuilding America is a production of Evergreen Podcasts, made in partnership with New Politics. Our producer is Isabel Robertson. Associate producer is Leon Pescador. Audio engineer is Sean Rule-Hoffman. Special thanks to Evergreen executive producers Joan Andrews, Michael DeAloia, and David Moss.

I’m Ken Harbaugh and this is Rebuilding America, a podcast about national service.

View Less

Sponsors

Recent Episodes

View All

Episode 6: The Fourth Estate

| S:1 E:6
Ken talks to Steve Waldman, co-founder and president of Report for America, about national service and journalism.
Listen to Episode 6: The Fourth Estate

Episode 5: The Military as a Model for Building Trust

| S:1 E:5
Ken talks to General Stanley McChrystal and Secretary Leon Panetta about military service and national defense and what insights they can offer into service more broadly.
Listen to Episode 5: The Military as a Model for Building Trust

Episode 3: Closing the Learning Gap

| S:1 E:3
Ken learns about national service in education, speaking with the leaders of two national organizations focused on improving educational outcomes for students: Teach for America and Communities in Schools.
Listen to Episode 3: Closing the Learning Gap

Episode 2: Healing America

| S:1 E:2
Ken investigates the possibilities of national service in healthcare, both to address the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Listen to Episode 2: Healing America

Connect on social media or subscribe to our newsletter

Connect