AmeriCorps Celebrates 20th Anniversary
Friday marked the 20th Anniversary of AmeriCorps- a volunteer service program that works on a number of community development projects across the country. The ceremony was a rare opportunity for AmeriCorps members from across the country to come together—along with alumni and community partners.
AmeriCorps tutor children and help address issues of homelessness and poverty. They help veterans find successful employment, and they develop heritage sites and preserve historic towns.
To mark the 20th anniversary of the program, AmeriCorps alumni met up with this year's AmeriCorps members, who were sworn in today in ceremonies across the country.
Four Presidents also helped celebrate the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps. President Obama and President Clinton delivered remarks at the White House, while President George H.W. Bush participated in a pledge ceremony in Maine. President George W. Bush and Laura Bush filmed a video that was shown at pledge ceremonies across the country.
And in Charleston, AmeriCorps volunteers and AmeriCorps alumni also celebrated.
“I came thinking that I was just going to be serving a community, and I've been given an opportunity to learn about that community and learn about what that place is, and the people that are a part of it,” said Audrey Stefenson, who just began serving in her third year of AmeriCorps with the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area Project.
Stefenson is from New York City, but she found a community in Tucker County that she loves. She'll be continuing to help organize the Art Spring festival in Thomas.
“I think the AmeriCorps program in West Virginia is very unique. Part of it is it's a small state, people tend to know their neighbors, so there's definitely a spirit of community and people being willing to help each other out,” said Stephanie Yu, executive director of Volunteer West Virginia, which organized today's events in Charleston.
The swearing in ceremony took place at 1:00 pm today on the Capitol Steps located on Kanawha Boulevard in Charleston. At least 275 National Service members, alumni, and community partners attended the celebration.