THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENT CLINTON: EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES FOR NATIONAL SERVICE February 10, 1999
Today, at the University of Maryland, College Park, President Clinton will call on Congress to expand the yearly participation level in AmeriCorps to 100,000 members by 2002. He will also kick off AmeriCorps' largest national recruitment campaign, to challenge young people to provide service to their communities.
EXPANDING AMERICORPS TO GIVE MORE AMERICANS A CHANCE TO SERVE. When he came into office in 1993, President Clinton outlined a vision for a national service program that linked responsibility to opportunity by allowing young people to serve our nation while earning funds for a college education. The result of that vision is AmeriCorps, which is bringing people of different racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds together to solve community problems and improve the lives of Americans. In the four years since its launch, over 100,000 AmeriCorps members have risen to the challenge. They have tutored children in school and after school, organized block watches and book drives, renovated housing for low-income families, and recruited people in neighborhoods to volunteer alongside them.
The President seeks to build on this success by creating more opportunities for Americans to serve through AmeriCorps. The President's FY 2000 budget request includes $533 million for AmeriCorps, an increase of $106 million over FY1999. This new funding would enable AmeriCorps to expand to nearly 70,000 members in 2000 and 100,000 members each year by 2002. This expansion also would allow high school students to join AmeriCorps -- by serving part-time during the school year and full-time during the summer.
A CALL TO SERVICE CAMPAIGN. President Clinton will announce the launch of the AmeriCorps Call To Service campaign, the largest-ever national recruitment drive for AmeriCorps. The President will challenge all Americans, especially young people, to get involved in service. The Call to Service campaign will provide young people with information on how they can serve in AmeriCorps to help strengthen local communities. The campaign includes a new television public service announcement produced by MTV, print advertisements, campus visits, and other local recruitment efforts.
A PROVEN RECORD OF SUCCESS. In just four years, over 100,000 young people have joined AmeriCorps to serve more than 4,000 communities. AmeriCorps provides needed human resources to schools, churches, community groups, and nonprofit organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Big Brother/Big Sister, and the American Red Cross. A recent evaluation confirms that AmeriCorps strengthens communities in many ways: building leadership, citizenship, and other important skills, and making community organizations more effective. Since 1994, AmeriCorps members have served more than 32 million people, mobilized nearly two million volunteers, taught, tutored or mentored more than two million children, organized after-school programs for more than a half million at-risk youth, helped more than 200,000 senior citizens live independently, and built or rehabilitated more than 25,000 homes. After a year of full-time service, AmeriCorps members receive education awards to help finance college or pay back student loans.