Celebrating 25 Years of National Service

 

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The 25th Anniversary is the perfect moment to share how National Service has changed lives across America. 

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25 Amazing Ways National Service has Made an Impact

  • #1 AmeriCorps Launched

    On September 12, 1994, at the White House and simultaneously in locations across the country, 20,000 people joined the first class of AmeriCorps and took the pledge to "Get Things Done for America." By 2016, AmeriCorps marked the milestone of one million members who had served "to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier.”

  • #2- AmeriCorps NCCC Created

    Authorized in 1992, the National Civilian Community Corps was designed to be a residential program and build on the best of the Civilian Conservation Corps and the U.S. Military.  In 1994, it became part of AmeriCorps and annually deploys more than a thousand 18-24 year-old individuals to help communities recover from disaster and address other community needs.

  • #3- Senior Corps Launched

    Following the National Community Service Trust Act of 1993, the legacy senior service programs of RSVP, the Senior Companion Program, and the Foster Grandparent Program were aligned under one brand, Senior Corps. With stories and rich histories, these programs have continued their service to communities across the nation and provided opportunities for millions of America’s seniors to serve their country in a variety of ways. Every day our volunteers prove you are never too old to serve.

  • #4- Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that leads service and volunteering, with leading this effort. Annually, hundreds of thousands of volunteers answer the question, “…What are you doing for others?” by serving in their communities.

  • #5- Learn and Serve Act Created

    Learn and Serve, which was created by Congress in 1993, distributed grants to increase service-learning in schools and higher education as a strategy to engage students in applying their learning to address real community issues.

  • #6- AmeriCorps Focuses on Literacy

    Launched in 1996, America Reads was a partnership among the Department of Education, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and higher education to put trained college work study students in classrooms to address 3rd grade literacy.

  • #7- Building Technology for Nonprofits

    Teaming for TECHnology, a collaboration between AmeriCorps VISTA, IBM, and United Way of America, was designed to strengthen technological skills and leadership among nonprofit organizations. Teaming for TECHnology AmeriCorps VISTA members were trained and supported by IBM and local United Way affiliates to help build the capacity of small and mid-sized nonprofits by providing free technology audits, plans, training sessions, and workshops for staff and clients.

  • #8- Improving the Lives of America's Youth

    In 1997, the Corporation for National and Community Service and Points of Light worked with Communities in Schools, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the United Way of America, and MENTOR to convene the Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future.  President Clinton, former Presidents Bush, Carter, and Ford, and Mrs. Nancy Reagan, representing President Reagan, gathered with 3,000 people from across the country to envision a path to improving the lives of America’s youth.

  • #9- Honoring 9/11 Through Service

    Americans came together in the wake of the attacks on 9/11. In 2009, Congress designated September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with helping to support this effort across the country.

  • #10- Protecting Public Lands

    The national service family takes its role as environmental stewards seriously. AmeriCorps and Senior Corps help enhance national parks to promote outdoor recreation; help communities conserve energy; restore watersheds and clean rivers and streams; perform fire mitigation services and fight wildfires; and train youth about natural resources and the great natural beauty our nation contains.

  • #11- Baby Boomers Called to Volunteer

    In 2005, the White House Conference on Aging focused on the coming explosion of baby boomers becoming seniors and how to accommodate them. Senior Corps offered an important solution, “Get Involved.” Not only will you help your community, you will stay engaged and healthier.

  • #12- Responded to Hurricane Katrina

    After Hurricane Katrina devastated a wide swath of communities along the Gulf Coast, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs began a recovery response across the region that has continued for more than a decade. CNCS awarded grants totaling more than $333 million toward this effort. Additionally, 40,000 national service participants served nearly 10 million hours and leveraged an additional 650,000 volunteers in the first 10 years following the disaster.

  • #13- Signed Serve America Act

    In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act added 13,000 AmeriCorps members to the program in response to the economic downturn. Later that year, President Obama signed the Serve America Act to strengthen the federal commitment to national service, increase the Education Award, and expand the number of national service members. The Serve America Act also created a summer of service program for 6th-12th grade students, who earned $500 toward college ,and volunteers 55 and older became eligible to earn an Education Award that they could transfer to a child, grandchild, or foster child for later use.

  • #14- Supporting Veterans

    Our veterans have served our country with valor and honor, and national service programs make it a priority to serve and support these warriors and their families. AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs offer support services for families during deployments and for veterans transitioning to civilian life after they come home. We are also honored that thousands of veterans choose to serve their nation again through our programs to help their fellow veterans and other Americans.

  • #15- FEMA Corps Created

    In 2012, CNCS partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to create a separate program track of AmeriCorps NCCC focused on emergency management and response that was christened FEMA Corps. These AmeriCorps members provide support by working directly with disaster survivors, supporting disaster recovery centers, and sharing valuable disaster preparedness and mitigation information with the public. Many of our FEMA Corps members have used their national service experience to start careers in emergency management.

  • #16- Bolstering America's Volunteer Sector

    National service increases the nation’s capacity to manage, deploy, and reward volunteers. We provide support to states through the Volunteer Generation Fund, deploy approximately 300,000 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members who volunteer annually and lead other volunteers, support initiatives like A Billion + Change to increase pro bono and skills-based volunteering, and recognize volunteers with the President’s Volunteer Service Award.

  • #17- Providing Access to Higher Education

    National service increases access to higher education all along the cradle to career continuum. It starts with supporting young children, getting them on the right path before they start kindergarten, improving their reading skills, and keeping them excited about learning. As they grow, near-peer mentors provide guidance and encouragement to teens to improve attendance and help them stay on track to earn a high school diploma, and navigate the college admissions process. Finally, student loan forbearance and Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards help AmeriCorps members lower college costs.

  • #18- Senior Corps Responded to West, TX

    On the night of April 17, 2013, the West Fertilizer Company in West, Texas exploded. The explosion devastated this small community of 2,800. Senior Corps RSVP volunteers were some of the first help to arrive. RSVP volunteers went on to manage the Long-Term Recovery Center, providing the community with assistance they needed to rebuild.

  • #19- Responded to Joplin, MO Tornado

    On the hot and humid Sunday afternoon of May 22, 2011, a deadly EF-5 tornado struck Joplin, Mo., resulting in 158 fatalities and over 1000 injuries. The first team of AmeriCorps members arrived hours after the tornado ripped through the area. In the first year following the tornado, more than 350 AmeriCorps members provided vital services and coordinated more than 75,000 volunteers who were essential to the city’s recovery. Through their service, AmeriCorps members coordinated an influx of volunteers and donations that saved the City of Joplin more than $17.7 million.

  • #20- STEM AmeriCorps Launched

    In 2013, CNCS created STEM AmeriCorps to place hundreds of AmeriCorps members in nonprofits across the country to inspire young people to excel in STEM education and to engage tens of thousands of students in science, technology, engineering, and math learning. This initiative has connected tens of thousands of students with engaging STEM experiences that expand their horizons and help build public-private partnerships that expand opportunities for service.

  • #21- Expanding Economic Opportunity

    One of the major objectives of national service is to expand economic opportunity for more Americans. This service can take many forms: AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members have helped thousands of tax filers reclaim millions in refunds through free tax preparation services; AmeriCorps VISTA members follow their poverty-fighting creed to improve lives through community capacity-building and organizing efforts; Senior Corps volunteers offer much-needed service to support independent living; and CNCS formed the Employers of National Service initiative to help AmeriCorps alumni find employment after they complete their service terms.

  • #22- Combating the Opioid Crisis

    To help address the nation’s growing opioid crisis, CNCS significantly increased its support of substance abuse prevention, education, and recovery programming by devoting $27.9 million to opioid-related AmeriCorps and Senior Corps grants and programming.

  • #23- Senior Corps Supporting Elder Justice

    Our nation’s seniors are targets to those who prey on the vulnerabilities that often come with aging. Senior Corps partnered with the Department of Justice to support the Elder Justice Initiative to prevent elder abuse of all types. The initiative combines the use of federal resources, law enforcement, and state and local officials to protect seniors from financial, emotional, and physical threats to their well-being.

  • #24- Supporting Public Safety

    All Americans deserve to have safe communities to call home. AmeriCorps and Senior Corps support initiatives that create safe routes for students traveling to and from school, perform community watch duties, mitigate blighted properties, support healthy afterschool activities, promote drug prevention programs, and combat elder abuse and fraud. Programs such as the Urban Safety Corps program in Detroit have developed techniques that build community pride, reduce policing costs, and created a template that is being replicated to improve other communities with similar challenges.

  • #25- Senior Corps Service Benefits Health

    Research shows that Senior Corps volunteers report much higher self-rated health scores compared to older adults in similar circumstances who do not volunteer. They also reported feeling significantly less depressed and isolated compared to non-volunteers.

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