Coalition Releases a Bold, Cogenerational Vision for National Service

"We must dramatically expand opportunities for cogeneration: young people and older Americans joining forces to serve side by side.”

By Eunice Lin Nichols | Oct 19, 2023

Photo courtesy of More Perfect.

CoGenerate is proud to be part of More Perfect, a coalition of national service and bridge-building groups that launched a bold plan today calling for cogenerational national service and volunteering, including a dramatic expansion of opportunities to engage 1 million young and 500,000 older Americans in national service by 2033. 

The plan describes national service (including AmeriCorps State & National, AmeriCorps VISTA, AmeriCorps NCCC, AmeriCorps Seniors, Conservation Corps, Peace Corps, and a variety of corps at the national and state levels) as “uniquely poised to bring generations together across divides for mutual benefit and social impact.”

This cogenerational vision for national service is deeply personal to me: I was 25 when I was inducted into the world of AmeriCorps through Experience Corps Bay Area, an intergenerational tutoring program I led that was fueled by national service members of all ages. 

Over the course of the most formative decade of my career, I worked side-by-side with a thriving, multicultural, multigenerational team, including dozens of AmeriCorps VISTAS as young as 18 and hundreds of older AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps Seniors and Experience Corps members — all dedicated to co-creating a better future for children in neighborhood schools. 

The opportunity to serve side-by-side with younger and older corps members alike changed my life, profoundly shaping my view of what it looks like to dedicate myself at every life stage to community change.

As America becomes the most age-diverse society ever, we have an unprecedented opportunity to form an equally age-diverse AmeriCorps that reflects the communities being served. It can be anchored by young people — and powerfully enhanced by older adults who can help their younger counterparts expand their networks, gain skills that better prepare them to thrive in a multigenerational workforce, and internalize a compelling vision of lifelong service. 

In the process, we’ll develop a diverse and effective talent pipeline to tackle some of society’s biggest challenges in education, climate, economic inequity, social isolation and loneliness, and more.

This year’s commemoration of AmeriCorps’ 30th anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate all that AmeriCorps has accomplished for the country, but it’s also an opportunity to cast an ambitious vision for the next 30 years – one that harnesses the growing age-diversity of our country as a catalyst for forging meaningful bonds across generations, bridging divides, and fostering more inclusive, caring communities for all. In these divisive times, national service can deliver a powerful and much-needed message that we’re in it together.

For more, check out the full report, Ask and All: A Plan to Expand National Service and Volunteering.