PEACE CORPS AND AMERICORPS USHER IN A NEW ERA OF SERVICE

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By Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn and AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith

Washington, DC, April 24, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Across the world, young people are grappling with incredible challenges: rampant polarization, social isolation, a climate crisis, school-based violence, and so much more. It’s no wonder we face a staggering increase in mental health challenges, the advent of climate anxiety, and a generation that is outraged and enraged, but not always sure how to engage. They’ve protested, they’ve marched, and they’ve made their voices heard online, but this generation is still seeking ways to create lasting solutions.

This April, as the world celebrates Global Volunteer Month, we have an unparalleled opportunity to harness the passion and dedication of young people everywhere to make a difference. As organizations that thrive on the spirit of volunteering and recognize the profound impact that can be made when individuals come together to serve their communities and the world at large, Peace Corps and AmeriCorps are taking up the charge here in the United States.

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Since 1961 and 1993, respectively, the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps have created opportunities for millions of individuals of all ages to tackle seemingly overwhelming challenges at home and abroad through impact-oriented service. Along the way, those Americans have gained skills that have created accelerated paths to careers and become more engaged global citizens.

When the world calls, the Peace Corps answers. Over the last six decades, more than 240,000 volunteers have served with the Peace Corps, living and working in some of the most remote regions of the world at the invitation of host country governments. Volunteers work to advance host country development priorities in their communities of service, as English language and STEM teachers and as health care workers tackling the HIV/AIDS epidemic. They serve as agricultural volunteers, working alongside community members to promote sustainable and climate-smart farming practices and community economic development volunteers supporting entrepreneurs pursuing new business opportunities. And in almost everything they do, Peace Corps Volunteers are tackling community priorities and supporting the largest generation of youth in history to become global leaders.

And when America calls, AmeriCorps answers. Here at home, millions of AmeriCorps members and volunteers are also transforming the landscape of our nation. When Hurricane Katrina devastated the Mississippi and Louisiana, AmeriCorps members waded in to help. Following the tragedy of September 11, AmeriCorps members gave aid to first responders outside Ground Zero. More recently, when America faced a pandemic, members reached 12.3 million Americans in testing and vaccination lines, food banks, and virtual schooling.

Global Volunteer Month underscores the significance of both organizations’ efforts to amplify how action spreads something our world so desperately needs right now: optimism and hope for a brighter future. It’s a time to recognize those who have served and the incredible community changemakers they work alongside to inspire more people to commit to volunteerism. This month also exemplifies our missions – to mobilize individuals for the greater good, to bridge divides, and to foster a culture of service and unit.

Yet today, we still find ourselves facing a generation skeptical of the idea and intentions of traditional institutions and civic responsibility. And that skepticism comes at a great cost.

That’s why this January, the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps joined forces to sign a landmark agreement to engage with and galvanize the next generation of community service leaders of every background and community, to deploy domestically and internationally. Together, our teams will recruit and retain members and volunteers who are committed to advancing the cause of peace, friendship, stronger communities, and civic engagement through service and volunteering.

But our agreement is about more than our two Federal Government agencies. This agreement is a call to action for everyone in America. It’s a call to individuals to consider meaningful sustained service. It’s a call to corporate and philanthropic partners to help us recruit members and volunteers and provide wraparound support to reduce barriers, opening the doors for many more to serve. And it’s a call to usher in a new era of service.

When we forged our partnership, we issued a bold Invitation to Americans widely to step up and take action. We have faced great challenges before, and we know that the way forward to a more vibrant, safe, and healthy world has always been through service.

If you want to serve here in America, visit: AmeriCorps.gov/Serve. Or if you want to serve internationally, visit: PeaceCorps.gov/Bold.

CONTACT: National Service Press Office AmeriCorps [email protected] 

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