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The American Way to Change: How National Service and Volunteers Are Transforming America Hardcover – May 3, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0470565575 ISBN-10: 0470565578 Edition: 1st

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The American Way to Change: How National Service and Volunteers Are Transforming America + The Politics and Civics of National Service: Lessons from the Civilian Conservation Corps, VISTA, and AmeriCorps
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (May 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470565578
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470565575
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #611,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

What if our nation were able to capitalize on the energy of Americans willing to serve and volunteer for a year or more?

The American Way to Change offers a compelling vision of national service that clearly illustrates what this means for our country. Throughout the book, Shirley Sagawa (a leading expert on the topic) profiles real people who have performed national service, examines the organizations they have worked with, and reveals the often profound impact these local heroes have made through their efforts. Using powerful stories of transformation, the book shows how anyone can change their community through service.

The book highlights dedicated people such as Washington D.C. public school chancellor Michelle Rhee who began her career as a Teach For America corpsmember, teaching in an inner city school in Baltimore. She went on to found the New Teacher Project, which has placed thousands of teachers in difficult-to-fill jobs and sparked important reforms in teacher hiring. She is a nationally recognized school system leader, pursuing reforms once thought impossible in a large city district.

America could be transformed if programs like the New Teacher Project operated at scale—not just in one or two neighborhoods, but wherever they are needed. Filled with illustrative examples and key lessons, the book describes how to achieve change through action at the community and organizational level and shows how service programs can tackle a variety of issues.

The American Way to Change speaks to ordinary citizens who want to make a difference and offers a clear road map for achieving extraordinary results.

From the Back Cover

Praise for The American Way to Change

"The stories of everyday people changing the nation through service come to life in this book. Shirley Sagawa has been at the center of service policy for two decades, and if we follow the blueprint she offers, together we can solve the pressing problems of our day."
Alan Khazei, founder, Be the Change, Inc., and co-founder, City Year

"We are at a critical moment when real change is needed. Service can play a central role in that transformation, and this book spells out how everyone can participate."
Lisa Paulsen, president and CEO, Entertainment Industry Foundation

"Shirley Sagawa has written an invaluable how-to book for accomplishing nothing less than the transformation of our nation."
Marguerite Kondracke, president and CEO, America's Promise Alliance

"Sagawa vibrantly showcases our new opportunity to leverage civic energy to make a lasting impact. Policy makers, community leaders, and volunteers: this is your road map."
Karen Baker, Secretary of Service and Volunteering for the State of California

"In this book, the godmother of national service and volunteerism takes her ideas to the next level and outlines a new approach to national problem solving—one that asks each of us to help reshape America."
Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire state senator

"Sagawa offers a compelling case for the idea that citizen service is a critical strategy for solving the pressing problems of our time."
AnnMaura Connolly, steering committee member, Voices for National Service

"Sagawa shows how we can improve the quality of life in America's communities through policies that encourage a lifetime of service."
Stephen Goldsmith, chairman, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and author of The Power of Social Innovation

"This book highlights some of the most innovative and successful programs of our time and should be read by any policymaker or active citizen who is looking for effective strategies to solve our most critical social problems."
Harris Wofford, former Pennsylvania state senator, and author of Of Kennedys and Kings, and former CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service


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Customer Reviews

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I bought this book as a gift for my daughter who is a VISTA with AmeriCorp.
SusieQ
Shirley Sagawa is one of the most insightful thinkers and important voices in the world of national service.
kjkstar
Sagawa makes a compelling case that service is a critical strategy for social change.
barb

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Andrew Block on September 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Society gives a smile and gentle pat on the head to the volunteer who reads a book to a child, clears trash from a park, or delivers meals to senior citizens. The nice guy or gal lending a helping hand through national service also gets a grateful thumbs up, though some scoff at the notion of being paid to do good.

But to Shirley Sagawa, service isn't nice; it's necessary. Strategically focused volunteering goes way beyond doing a good deed, she believes, and those performing national service are well worth the modest amounts we pay them to boost the impact of volunteers many times over and provide services that volunteers can't. Together, she argues in the book, they're a powerful force that can help solve challenges in childhood development, education, health, aging, poverty, natural disasters, the environment, and other critical areas.

Consistent with the policy acumen she put to good use in helping draft the legislation that created the Corporation for National and Community Service, Sagawa argues calmly but forcefully that we can't afford to neglect service in our arsenal of problem-solving strategies. Whether it's helping low-achieving kids do better in school, reducing recidivism among parolees, helping the unemployed secure stable employment, or reducing the risk of disease and infirmity among the elderly, service should be viewed as a cost-effective tool in our social toolkit, and we can either invest in the infrastructure needed to put it to good use now -- or pay a bigger price down the road. Whether you're a deficit hawk or a believer in "big" government, it seems like an easy choice to make.

You can read my full review of the book at[...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jason Patnosh on June 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Full disclosure first for this review, I am the National Director of the Community HealthCorps (one of the programs featured in this book). As a practioner in national service this is a helpful discussion on the history of national service from someone who has been there for most of it over the last 20 years. Sagawa also captures the essence of those programs that see service as a solution (not the only answer) to helping our nation move in the positive direction of curing problems. We were honored to be featured in this book amongst such a group of programs that are more well known. We will continue to be the best and strongest program that we are able to be, and hope to live up to the honor of growing to scale for impact.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By kjkstar on April 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Shirley Sagawa is one of the most insightful thinkers and important voices in the world of national service. For years, she has played a leading role in growing national service, especially AmeriCorps, from an idea into a major American institution. In The American Way to Change, Sagawa has rolled up her thinking about national service and her observations of some of the leading programs in the field like Teacher for America and Experience Corps. The result is a short but powerful volume. For anyone who has either a passing or a deep interest in the promise of national service, Sagawa's book is essential reading. Top recommendation!
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By SusieQ on November 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book as a gift for my daughter who is a VISTA with AmeriCorp. It will open your eyes to volunteering in America and in your own backyard.
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By jamie on July 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Sagawa's book about service is both inspiring and informative. In her short but thorough book, Sagawa teaches you about different service organizations and the lessons that can be learned by their successes, all the while maintaining an excitement about the spirit of service. Whether you are someone who is curious about how the non-profit sector can help solve problems that the government and private sector ignore, or if you're looking for a way to join the non-profit movement, reading this book will help you. I would not hesitate to recommend this book to any one.
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