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Remarks on the 20th Anniversary of AmeriCorps

September 20, 2013
Remarks on the 20th Anniversary of AmeriCorps

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize AmeriCorps on its 20th Anniversary.

As a co-Chair of the National Service Caucus, I am proud to recognize the hard work and dedication of the men and women who have served our nation through AmeriCorps.

Since its inception in 1994, more than 820,000 Americans have taken the AmeriCorps pledge, serving over one billion hours with more than 15,000 nonprofits, public agencies and faith-based organizations across America. In my home State of North Carolina, 10,000 people will participate in one of hundreds of AmeriCorps programs this year alone.

Their common goal is to improve the lives of the American people, and they have done so immeasurably. Every day, these dedicated men and women work with community-based organizations to deliver services, address local needs, and deliver aid where it is needed most, and in innovative ways. They support and improve low-performing schools, build and renovate homes for low-income families, fight poverty, expand access to health services, rebuild communities after disasters, and help veterans transition back to civilian life.

Building on the service of individual AmeriCorps members, the AmeriCorps national program provides benefits far beyond the sum of its parts and multiplies a modest federal investment many times over.

First, AmeriCorps members help tens of thousands of faith-based and community groups expand services, enhance their capacity, raise funds, develop new partnerships, and create innovative, sustainable programs. In fact, AmeriCorps is the most effective multiplier of volunteers in service, with its members helping to recruit, train, and supervise more than 4 million volunteers in 2012.

Along the way, AmeriCorps helps organizations leverage substantial private investment from businesses, foundations and other sources, thereby stretching our federal dollars and broadening the reach of the AmeriCorps mission.

But our national service programs not only transform the lives of those who receive services; they transform the lives of those who deliver them. Participants learn marketable skills and earn post-service education scholarships, which helps them jumpstart their careers and increase earning potential over the course of their professional careers. And AmeriCorps alums are also more involved in their communities and more likely than their peers to enter into a career of public service.

This September is just the beginning of a year-long celebration of the extraordinary impact AmeriCorps has had in its past twenty years. It is also a time to look ahead and to ensure AmeriCorps is poised for even greater impact in future years.

To all of our remarkable AmeriCorps members and alums, I want to personally thank you for your service and commend your efforts to help our local communities. And once again, I extend my congratulations to AmeriCorps on this twenty year anniversary and my excitement for what is to come!