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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 19, 1998
                       TO EXTEND NATIONAL SERVICE
                    First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton 
                    Joins Hill Lawmakers to Announce 
                  Bipartisan Measure Providing Millions 
                  of Americans the Opportunity to Serve

Today, President Clinton sent to Congress a bill to extend national service into the 21st century, creating the opportunity for millions more Americans to serve their communities. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton joined a bipartisan group of legislators on Capitol Hill to announce the bill, which reauthorizes the Corporation for National Service and its three initiatives -- AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve America, and the National Senior Service Corps -- for five years.

The Corporation for National Service was created in 1993, with bipartisan support from the President and Congress. Working in partnership with community-based national service programs, national and local non-profits, faith-based organizations, and others, the Corporation involves more than one million Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service that meets vital community needs.

"In community after community, people are coming together in service to meet our most vital social needs," said President Clinton. "Those of us in Washington should be able to come together in that same spirit to support this legislation to create more opportunities for Americans to serve. Serving others is at the heart of what it means to be an American."

"Since 1993, millions of Americans have answered the call of service, and the results can be seen across the country in better schools, safer streets, healthier children and a cleaner environment," said Harris Wofford, chief executive officer of the Corporation. "By creating opportunities for millions more to serve, this bill will take citizen problem-solving to the next level and help usher in a new century of service."

Thousands of communities across America have discovered that national service is an effective strategy for meeting vital needs in education, public safety, health, the environment and other human needs. The experience of these communities -- and the conclusion of several independent evaluations -- is that national service:

The National and Community Service Amendments Act of 1998 builds on this track record by extending for five years the three national service initiatives: AmeriCorps, which this year provides educational opportunities to more than 40,000 people in exchange for intensive service in non-profit and faith-based groups; Learn and Serve America, which engages a half million students of all ages in service-learning that improves academic learning and meets community needs; and the National Senior Service Corps, which taps the experience of more than half a million older Americans to help solve community problems who serve as Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions and Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) volunteers. The legislation also reauthorizes appropriations for the Points of Light Foundation for five years.

The legislation makes a number of changes to allow more Americans to serve, gives states and communities more flexibility to administer service programs, strengthens partnerships with traditional volunteer organizations and increases efficiency of national service programs.