Fifth Annual Event Comes at Time of Growing Demand for AmeriCorps
Washington DC -- Every day in communities across the nation, AmeriCorps members are improving schools, rebuilding after disasters, providing health services, preserving the environment, fighting poverty, and meeting other local needs.
The fifth annual AmeriCorps Week, taking place May 14-21, honors these public servants, who work quietly and without fanfare across the U.S. to improve the lives of millions of our most vulnerable citizens.
In the past 17 years, more than 700,00 men and women have taken AmeriCorps's pledge to "get things done for America," providing more than 860 million hours of service. In 2010 alone, about 80,000 AmeriCorps members mobilized 2.6 million community volunteers, and tutored, mentored or served more than 2.5 million disadvantaged youth.
The coast-to-coast recognition of AmeriCorps Week includes hundreds of service projects, recruitment events, alumni gatherings, open houses, presentations to schools and community groups, and other events. The aim of the annual effort is to demonstrate AmeriCorps impact on critical issues, thank the community partners that make AmeriCorps possible, and recruit more Americans into service
"AmeriCorps members are building stronger, healthier, and safer communities, and improving the lives of millions of our most vulnerable citizens," said Patrick A. Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. "During AmeriCorps Week, we salute AmeriCorps members for their commitment and encourage all Americans to discover how they can transform communities and their own lives through service to others."
AmeriCorps Week comes at a time of growing demand for AmeriCorps by organizations and individuals eager to serve. For the past three years, the numbers of organizations applying for AmeriCorps grant funding has increased, and AmeriCorps applications from individuals jumped from about 360,000 in the 2008-2009 program year to more than 536,000 last year.
"The surging demand for AmeriCorps is a reminder that today's young people – and those young in spirit - are eager to make a difference, to have a purpose, to serve a cause larger than themselves," said John Gomperts, Direct of AmeriCorps. "AmeriCorps members provide a powerful boost of energy and talent to help nonprofits meet pressing local needs, and that experience often turns into a lifelong commitment to public service."
An AmeriCorps Week website, located at AmeriCorpsWeek.gov features events, news, stories, information about how to join, and ideas on how to use social media to "Tell Your AmeriCorps Story" – the theme of 2011 AmeriCorps Week. Participants are urged to “like AmeriCorps Week on Facebook and "Follow" AmeriCorps Week on Twitter.
A key focus of this year's AmeriCorps Week is community roundtables in which AmeriCorps members discuss the impact of their work with elected officials and community members. Some of the roundtables are part of the White House's Your Future, Your Solutions: 100 Youth Strategies to Win the Future initiative, which enables the administration to hear directly from young people about challenges they face.
Highlights of the 2011 AmeriCorps Week include:
- Nationwide: More than 440 Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps members are participating in a week-long build-a-thon to address the need for affordable housing. Blitz builds are taking place in Franklin, W. Va.; Bay St. Louis, Miss.; Birmingham, Ala.; Seattle and King County, Wash.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Wilmington, Del.; and Pensacola, Fla. Over 5,000 AmeriCorps members have helped Habitat for Humanity build more than 12,500 homes since 1994.
- Nationwide: More than 1,000 Arab-Americans and others in 22 U.S. cities will engage in volunteer projects as part of the National Arab American Service Day. Volunteers will package food, build community gardens, clean lots and make other improvements as part of the seventh annual event, spearheaded by the Arab American Resource Corps, a national AmeriCorps program offering Arab Americans and non-Arabs the opportunity to serve at Arab American community organizations.
- Nationwide: AmeriCorps Week roundtables, some featuring Mayors and other elected officials, will be held in Chicago, Ill., Omaha, Neb.; Topeka, Kans.; Bozeman, Mont.; Morehead, Ky., Columbus and Hamilton, Ohio; Phoenix, Prescott, and Mesa City, Ariz.; and other locations.
- Montana: Event are taking place across the state, including a fire prevention brush cleanup project in Billings, roundtables in Bozeman and Missoula, a recycling drive in Sydney, a garden service project in Helena, among others.
- Denver, CO: A series of events are planned including volunteer trail construction at Red Rocks Park, presentation of the Governor's Service Awards at the state capitol, and AmeriCorps Night at the Colorado Rapids.
- Philadelphia: Mayor Michael Nutter will celebrate the work of AmeriCorps members at an AmeriCorps Rally at City Hall.
- Geneva, NY: Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Patrick Corvington will discuss the importance of public service in a commencement address at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
- Nashville, TN: Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and other service leaders will discuss AmeriCorps impact in middle Tennessee and the state, followed by a service project.
- Las Vegas: Nevada Volunteers will honor exemplary AmeriCorps members at the National 9/11 Flag Tour Ceremony, which will bring together local service heroes from the public sector and the military to add a stitch to the National 9/11 Flag that will hang in the museum at Ground Zero.
- Orlando, FL: The Agency for Persons with Disabilities in partnership with its AmeriCorps members will host a Disability Volunteer/Job Expo to connect people with disabilities to potential employers
- Iowa: Events are happening around the state, including an environmental service project in Des Moines and AmeriCorps open houses in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Waterloo.
- Washington DC: Events include a professional networking night, an all-corps clean up with the Anacostia Watershed Society, and AmeriCorps Night at the Washington Nationals baseball game, one of several AmeriCorps appreciation nights taking place at sporting events around the country.
- Buffalo, NY: City of Good Neighbors and Buffalo Gives Back will present a Family Resource Festival and Giveaway featuring distribution of 1,000 bags of groceries, interactive exhibits, and a cooking and urban farm demonstration to kickoff AmeriCorps Week 2011.
- San Francisco: The San Francisco Community HealthCorps is hosting a disaster preparation fair for low-income residents in the Tenderloin neighborhood to teach skills and provide supplies to prepare residents for disasters.
- Phoenix, AZ: The National Society for American Indian Elderly is teaming up with Native American Connections to revive and beautify the grounds and gardens of a low income senior housing community.
- Potsdam, NY: AmeriCorps members will work with Potsdam High School students to create Hero Packs filled with books, games and photo albums for kids who have a parent deployed overseas.
Many of the projects are being organized by AmeriCorps Alums, which has chapters in more than 25 cities organizing events and thousands of alumni participating across the country.
"AmeriCorps Alums believes strongly in the immeasurable impact that national service has on an individual, and is proud to join CNCS in celebrating AmeriCorps Week. The more than 700,000 AmeriCorps members and alums in this country represent a critical pipeline of future civic leaders that are equipped to tackle the issues facing 21st century America," stated Executive Director of AmeriCorps Alums Ben Duda.