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House Passes Yarmuth National AmeriCorps Week Resolution

House Passes Yarmuth Resolution Honoring National AmeriCorps Week

(Washington, DC)  Today the House of Representatives passed H.Res. 385, Congressman John Yarmuth’s (KY-3) resolution honoring National AmeriCorps Week.  The resolution passed 346-21.
The text of Congressman Yarmuth’s remarks is below:

Madam Speaker, I rise today in strong support of House Resolution 385, which recognizes national AmeriCorps Week.  

Since Congress created AmeriCorps in 1994, the program has yielded numbers that are impressive by any measure.  In 13 years, AmeriCorps has mobilized a million and a half volunteers in every state in the union, accumulating nearly 700 million hours of service, a value of 12 billion dollars.  In addition, AmeriCorps volunteers have earned more than a billion dollars in scholarships for that service.  My home state of Kentucky has benefited from seven million of the service hours from nearly 5,000 volunteers.

Few federal programs can quantify this type of success across the board, but the numbers would be meaningless, were it not for the tremendous impact these hours, and all those volunteers have made on countless lives throughout our communities. 

In my district, in Louisville, that impact can be felt all throughout the community.  I see it on the optimistic face of a young girl who recently found new reason to smile thanks to her mentor from Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Kentuckiana.  We feel it walking through a Portland neighborhood, freshly cleaned and painted by volunteers participating in the second annual Martin Luther King Season of Service.  You hear it in the voice of a boy proudly reading his first book to his mother who would not have been able to provide adequate education if not for the AmeriCorps Every 1 Reads program.

There can be no doubt that in our world, the ways these lives have been touched is exceptional, but in AmeriCorps—by providing resources to Court Appointed Special Advocates, Habitat for Humanity, the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association, and other educational and non-profits services, these successes are the norm.  They happen every day, all across the country over and over again, because this unique and ambitious government initiative provides the catalyst for large-hearted Americans— of all backgrounds— to push the limits of our capacity for service, and turn awareness into action, compassion into commitment.

AmeriCorps members live each day with the understanding that when we act as one for progress, we prosper together. Yet, all too often, these life-changing individuals and community building programs go unrecognized.  So I ask all my colleagues to join me for the next seven days in honoring all AmeriCorps members and alumni, to say thank you for all that they have done and continue to do, and to encourage more people to get involved.  I reserve the remainder of my time.