In an effort to encourage more American volunteerism, President Obama signed the 5.7 billion dollar national service bill entitled the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. The bill, which was signed Tuesday, triples the size of the AmeriCorps service program over the next 8 years, and expands the ways students can earn money for their education. For those that don’t know, AmeriCorps is a government program which partners with non-profit and faith-based organizations, as well as public agencies to promote and execute volunteer efforts in the US. It was created under the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993 by then President Bill Clinton.
The Serve America Act plans to expand the ways students and seniors can earn money for college or other education initiatives by allowing them to earn scholarships through their volunteer efforts. It aims to foster and fulfill people’s desire to make a difference whether it be from mentoring the youth to weatherizing homes for the poor.
The Serve America Act calls for a gradual increase of the Clinton established AmeriCorps from about 75,000 participants to 250,000. The bill also outlines five categories where people can direct their individual service initiatives: helping the poor, improving education, encouraging energy efficiency, strengthening access to health care, and helping veterans.
‘I’m asking you to help change history’s course, put your shoulder up against the wheel,’ Obama said. ‘And if you do, I promise you your life will be richer, our country will be stronger, and someday, years from now, you may remember it as the moment when your own story and the American story converged, when they came together, and we met the challenges of our new century.’
To find out more about AmeriCorps and how you can get involved, visit their website HERE.
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