What can we do when politicians prefer polarizing rhetoric to concrete action? We can roll up our sleeves and serve those who need help. Meaningful service can be the antidote to disappointing political paralysis. In this episode of Add Passion and Stir, two longtime leaders in service, Michael Brown of City Year and Boston chef Jason Santos (Buttermilk and Bourbon) talk with host and Share Our Strength founder and CEO Billy Shore about why it is so important to ‘turn on your social justice nerve’ and ‘flex your service muscle.’ Michael founded City Year in 1988 in Boston and grew it to a national service program of 3,100 18-25 year olds improving academic performance in high-poverty, poor performing schools in 28 cities. “Service is part of the American spirit… it is at the very heart of how we perceive ourselves as a nation,“ he declares. Jason began volunteering with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign more than 20 years ago as a very young chef, and since then has taught many Cooking Matters courses, been inducted into the Cooking Matters Hall of Fame, and raised an impressive amount of money for the campaign. “I have to do my part to help fix something that, in 2017, still blows me away that it’s such a problem,” he says. Listen to how these leaders use service to cut through politics and give themselves and others the gratifying experience of serving others.
Resources and Mentions:
• No Kid Hungry Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending child hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day.
• City Year: At City Year, we’re working to bridge the gap in high-poverty communities between the support that students actually need, and what their schools are designed and resourced to provide. In doing so, we’re helping to increase graduation rates across the country, and changing the lives of the students we serve.
• Americorps: AmeriCorps engages more than 80,000 Americans in intensive service each year at 21,600 unique sites including nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country. Since the program’s founding in 1994, more than 1 million AmeriCorps members have contributed more than 1.4 billion hours in service across America while tackling pressing problems and mobilizing more than 2.3 million volunteers for the organizations they serve.
• Buttermilk and Bourbon: Nationally recognized chef Jason Santos’ Buttermilk and Bourbon delivers Southern hospitality to guests in the heart of the Back Bay. Drawing on the South’s trademark charm, the restaurant offers a vibrant, cozy atmosphere with an innovative American menu featuring Southern-influences. Santos, who currently owns and operates Boston’s Abby Lane and Back Bay Harry’s, channels his love of New Orleans and all things Southern to transport guests to the Bayou by way of Buttermilk & Bourbon.
• Voices for National Service coalition: We are a coalition of organizations that believe citizens are central to solving the problems facing their communities. Together, we urge leaders in Washington and around the country to expand national service, a vital resource for strengthening communities and the nation.