Congresswoman Dina Titus
H Res 1338 – AmeriCorps Week
M. Speaker, I rise today in full support of House Resolution 1338, which recognizes the substantial contributions of AmeriCorps.
Since 1994, AmeriCorps programs have engaged over 570,000 individuals of all ages in national service programs, totaling 705 million hours of service to our nation.
AmeriCorps was launched following the establishment of the Corporation for National and Community Service under the National and Community Service Trust Act. The organization is composed of AmeriCorps State and National programs, the National Civilian Community Corps, or NCCC, and the Volunteers In Service to America, or VISTA program.
The initial class of 20,000 volunteers helped establish and grow this wonderful program of volunteer service. AmeriCorps now involves 75,000 individuals each year to improve the lives of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens, protect the environment, contribute to public safety, respond to disasters, and strengthen the educational system.
AmeriCorp participants have tackled many timely and important issues, including health care, gang violence, drug abuse, the environment, and homelessness. They have partnered with thousands of organizations, including Habitat for Humanity to the Red Cross.
AmeriCorps VISTA participants have been on the front lines in the fight against poverty in America. VISTA’s 6,500 participants provide assistance each year to low-income communities by helping businesses, expanding access to technology, recruiting literacy volunteers, strengthening anti-poverty groups, and creating sustainable programs that help people rise out of poverty.
National Civilian Community Corps participants have led service projects in areas of critical national need, including disaster response, infrastructure improvement, environmental & energy conservation, and urban and rural development. Corps volunteers have responded to every nationally declared disaster since 1994, as well as helping communities prepare for the next emergency.
Most importantly, AmeriCorps members continue to serve their community even after their terms of service. Many former members work as volunteers, teachers, nonprofit professionals, and government employees.
M. Speaker, for those struggling to make ends meet in a tough economy, volunteers and national service are more important than ever. The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, signed in 2009 by President Obama, expands the AmeriCorps programs to incorporate 250,000 volunteers each year, and the strength of our nation depends upon individuals who take action towards building better communities.
This week is AmeriCorps Week, when we recognize and thank the commitment of these volunteers so that future generations will continue to support the ideal of national service. It is important for us to highlight the vital work done by the organization and motivate others to become engaged and to volunteer, whether through AmeriCorps or other service opportunities throughout the country.
I ask that my colleagues join me in full support of House Resolution 1338, and to take a moment and appreciate the contributions made by AmeriCorps participants. I want to thank Representative Matsui for bringing this resolution to the floor, and I urge my colleagues to pass this resolution.
I reserve the balance of my time.