Local students take petition against budget cuts to D.C.

Students going to Washington D.C. to try and save Americorp

MUSKEGON COUNTY, MICH. - An organization that impacts thousands in Michigan could soon be in jeopardy. President Donald Trump's budget proposal could wipe out millions of dollars used to fund AmeriCorps. 

AmeriCorps has 27 different programs across the state and although its unclear how they will be impacted, a group of kids are getting ahead of it in hopes to keep the programs alive. 

"I was shocked, you know the President is always saying lets make America great again, this is one of the programs that makes America great," Sarah Serene said. "It helps so many people so I don't understand why he would want to take it away.

That program  the Oakridge High School senior is talking about is AmeriCorps an organization that uses public service to solve community issues.

"In 2015-16 AmeriCorps members served more than 28,000 youth, we had more than 12,000 students receive college advising so AmeriCorps just makes a big impact across the board," Jason Alexander, Communications Specialist for Michigan Community Service Commission, said. 

But that impact could all be gone as President Trump proposed cutting the Corporation for National and Community Service out of the budget. According to AmeriCorps officials, that's $63 million that could be wiped out. 

"We're not sure what's going to happen yet, so we're just following the situation closely and we're kind of in a wait and see mode," Alexander, said. 

But these students are not waiting.

The five have spent the last month circulating a petition to keep AmeriCorps funding and have managed to gather more than 1200 signatures. 

"People always think kids don't get involved or they're too lazy, well this is us showing that we want to be involved, Serene said.

The students are part of 'Close Up' a program that sends high schoolers to DC for a week to learn about the diplomatic process. But besides learning something new, the group is taking their petition to the nations capitol in hopes of doing some schooling of their own. 

"We have meetings set up with our Representatives or their staff and we're going to try and walk into their office and set this on their desk and see how we can educate them." 

The group leaves for D.C. Saturday morning and have meetings set with Michigan lawmakers on Wednesday.

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