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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 3, 1998
                      PRESIDENT CLINTON SPEAKS AT 

                              June 3, 1998

Seven years after visiting City Year members in Boston, President Clinton today travels to Cleveland to speak to 1,000 young City Year AmeriCorps members from nine cities gathered for their end of year celebration. City Year was an inspiration for AmeriCorps. Since the President created AmeriCorps, City Year has grown in size and effectiveness, a direct result of President Clinton's leadership and support.

In his speech, the President will reflect on the Administration's accomplishments on national service since 1992, including the creation of AmeriCorps. When the President first visited the City Year program in December 1991, it was a fledgling program with 100 members funded through private donations. Today, with support from AmeriCorps, City Year has over 1,000 young people ages 17 to 24, in full-time service in nine cities -- Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Columbia, SC, Philadelphia, Providence, San Antonio, and San Jose -- with Seattle to be added as a tenth city in the fall. All members of City Year are also members of AmeriCorps. Program co-founders Alan Khazei and Michael Brown emphasize that members make a commitment to a lifetime of citizen service. Service with a diverse group of young people is integral to the City Year experience.

City Year's annual "Convention of Idealism" brings together 1,000 City Year members from across the country as they complete their year of service. Activities include a day of service as well as workshops, a parade, and a rally. The Convention is called CYZYGY (pronounced "SiZiGee," meaning "to align together"). Last year First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton was the keynote speaker at the convention, held in Providence, RI. Today's audience will include 100 other AmeriCorps members from local Cleveland programs, including Habitat for Humanity, West Side Ecumenical Ministries (a local faith-based program), and others. The convention is being held at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio -- a Jesuit university with a strong community service tradition.

Increasing Student Service for America Reads

Today, the President announced that a total of 1,000 colleges have agreed to take the America Reads Challenge. These colleges have agreed to use Federal work-study funds to support college students who serve as reading tutors for preschool and elementary school children.

Furthering the Goals of the Presidents' Summit

The President also announced today that the Corporation for National Service will create 500-1,000 new AmeriCorps positions specifically to pursue the goals of last year's Presidents' Summit for America's Future in Philadelphia. The Administration has worked closely with America's Promise, the organization founded by General Colin Powell to build alliances that help at-risk young people reach their full potential. These new AmeriCorps members, to be selected by states and local communities pursuing the goals of the Summit, will add new firepower to the effort to ensure that all young people have the five resources they need to succeed: a caring adult, a safe place, a healthy start, an effective education, and a chance to give back to their communities through service. The Corporation will fund the new AmeriCorps positions with $5 million in demonstration and innovation funds.


President Clinton came into office with a vision of a national service program that would offer young people the chance to serve our nation in exchange for increased access to higher education. Today, AmeriCorps involves over 40,000 people in intensive, results-driven service, working through a grassroots network of over 1,000 local and national nonprofits. Now in its fourth year, more than 88,000 Americans of all ages and backgrounds have enrolled in AmeriCorps.

Getting Things Done to Solve Community Problems

Improving the lives of children and youth. AmeriCorps helps children succeed by tutoring, mentoring, leading after-school programs, and getting children to school safely. Last year, AmeriCorps members taught or tutored more than 500,000 youth, mentored 95,000 more, recruited 39,000 volunteer tutors, and immunized over 64,000 children.

Responding to disasters. In tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, and floods, AmeriCorps members trained in disaster relief have responded to disasters in more than 30 states.

Making neighborhoods safer. Working with local police and neighborhood groups, AmeriCorps members created or expanded more than 3,100 public safety patrols and trained 109,000 people in violence prevention.

Building housing. Serving with Habitat for Humanity and other partners, AmeriCorps members built or rehabbed 5,600 homes and placed more than 32,000 homeless people and families in permanent housing.

Strengthening Community-based, Volunteer, and Faith-based Organizations Providing "people power." National service invests in successful organizations like Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America, the American Red Cross, City Year, and hundreds of local groups, providing trained, dedicated people who commit to sustained service.

Generating new volunteers. Last year, national service members recruited, trained, and supervised over 300,000 volunteers -- making the organizations they serve more efficient.

Supporting faith-based organizations. More than 6,000 AmeriCorps members serve through faith-based organizations like the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and the National Council of Churches.

Cutting costs and expanding opportunities to serve. In the Education Awards Program, more than 100 non-profits and faith-based groups pay members' living allowances, with the education award provided by the Corporation for National Service. At last year's Presidents' Summit for America's Future, the President challenged these groups to provide 50,000 places over five years. The Corporation is ahead of schedule in meeting that goal.

Expanding Educational Opportunity

National service uses the GI Bill model: in exchange for a year of full-time service, AmeriCorps members earn educational opportunity -- a $4,725 scholarship that helps pay for college, or pay back student loans. To date, 48,000 Americans have qualified for education awards.

A cost-effective, non-bureaucratic way to engage citizens in meeting our challenges

Nonprofits must compete every year for AmeriCorps members, and they must set and meet tough goals at the local level. Most sponsors are chosen by bipartisan state commissions appointed by governors. Community groups that sponsor AmeriCorps members must raise at least 33% of the program costs.

An independent study done by three noted conservative economists shows that every federal dollar invested in AmeriCorps returns $2.60 in direct, measurable benefits.

The President's proposal to extend national service into the 21st century

On March 19, President Clinton submitted legislation to reauthorize the Corporation for National Service and its three initiatives -- AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve America, and the National Senior Service Corps -- for five years.

The President's proposal would extend and strengthen national service programs, provide opportunities for millions more Americans to serve, give states and communities more flexibility to administer service programs, strengthen partnerships with traditional volunteer groups, and increase the efficiency of national service programs.