SerVermont Celebrates AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary
President Obama delivers remarks from White House; Governor Shumlin presents Service Awards.
Montpelier (Sept. 12, 2014) – SerVermont, Vermont’s Commission on National and Community Service, today marked the 20th Anniversary of AmeriCorps by joining President Barack Obama in a live-stream nationwide ceremony from the White House, and honoring Vermont volunteers with the Governor Service Awards.
More than 200 AmeriCorps members, alumni, and SerVermont partners packed the State House to celebrate the occasion and hear remarks from AmeriCorps alumni and members, as well as Mayor John Hollar of Montpelier, Governor Peter Shumlin, and representatives for U.S. Congressman Peter Welch and U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy.
Governor Peter Shumlin presented the Governor’s Awards for Outstanding Community Service to nine organizations and individuals: David Fenn of Hinesburg, Cheryl McMahon of Lyndonville, Anna Houston of Montpelier, Kathrine Mansfield of Burlington, Grace Saunders of Colchester, James and Jeannie Milne of Barre, Blue Star Mothers of Colchester, Dealer.com, and Vermont Student Assistance Corporation.
“”Dealer.com is honored to be recognized with a Governor’s Service Award” said Jill Badolato, Director of Social Responsibility at Dealer.com. “We believe that one of the key attributes of Vermont is the commitment its residents and businesses have to service and stewardship. It is humbling to be a recipient, and we are grateful to be recognized for our contributions to the state and communities.”
The day’s events culminated with a live streamed ceremony from the White House, including remarks from President Barack Obama, and Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps. The White House ceremony was live-streamed to over 200 gatherings of AmeriCorps members in all 50 states and beyond. The celebration included a simultaneous nation-wide AmeriCorps Pledge, which officially launched a new service year for 75,000 AmeriCorps members. This event kicked off a year of service for more than 170 AmeriCorps members in Vermont.
“We are thrilled to be celebrating 20 years of AmeriCorps,” said Peter Hayward, SerVermont Commission Chair, “AmeriCorps members are out in communities meeting pressing needs through local organizations every day, and they have been for 20 years. Combine the rich history of AmeriCorps and the alums that are here with us today with the enthusiasm of a new class of AmeriCorps members and Governor’s Service Award recipients, and we have a lot of people celebrating service. We are excited to celebrate the past, and we are excited for the future. We have new AmeriCorps members geared up, and now it is time to go ‘get things done’ for Vermont.”
AmeriCorps members provide intensive, results-driven service to meet pressing needs in communities across Vermont. Since 1994, over than 4,400 AmeriCorps members have served more than 6.6 million hours in Vermont, and have qualified for education scholarships totaling more than $15 million.
“AmeriCorps members make a powerful impact on the toughest challenges facing our nation,” said Wendy Spencer. “The participation of the President and bipartisan governors and mayors across the country reflects how AmeriCorps has become an indispensable solution for local leaders and pathway to opportunity for those who serve.”
AmeriCorps has a long history of bipartisan presidential support, from President George H.W. Bush signing the first national service legislation in 1990, to President Clinton creating AmeriCorps in 1993, to President George W. Bush increasing AmeriCorps by 50% after the September 11th attacks, and President Barack Obama signing the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.
SerVermont (formally the Vermont Commission on National and Community Service) was established by Executive Order 05-98 on November 30, 1993 by Governor Howard Dean. The Governor appoints up to 25 individuals to serve three year terms as members of SerVermont’s Commission. SerVermont administers AmeriCorps in Vermont and promotes, supports, and recognizes volunteerism and community service throughout the state, including four AmeriCorps State Programs, and hundreds of volunteers each year. For more information about SerVermont please visit www.servermont.vt.gov .
AmeriCorps is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, the Social Innovation Fund, and the Volunteer Generation Fund, and leads the President’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit www.NationalService.gov .