Fact Sheet: Improving America Through National Service: President Clinton Urges Congress to Reauthorize Americorps (10/11/00)
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|   IMPROVING AMERICA THROUGH NATIONAL SERVICE: PRESIDENT CLINTON URGES   |
|                   CONGRESS TO REAUTHORIZE AMERICORPS                    |
|                            October 11, 2000                             |
|                                                                         |
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Today,  President Clinton will address hundreds of AmeriCorps volunteers in
Philadelphia  and  will  urge  Congress to reauthorize AmeriCorps and other
vital national service programs before their session adjourns.  In the past
six  years  since the inauguration of AmeriCorps, nearly 200,000 AmeriCorps
members  have  served  our  nation by building homes, responding to natural
disasters, helping to make our streets safer, and tutoring in schools.  The
President  will  release findings from a new independent study showing that
AmeriCorps? reading tutors are making a major difference in student reading
achievement  and  affirms  that  we must do all we can to ensure AmeriCorps
members continue to have the opportunity to serve their communities.

AMERICORPS  VOLUNTEERS  ARE  GETTING  THINGS  DONE  FOR AMERICA.  President
Clinton?s signature national service program, AmeriCorps, is part of a long
bipartisan  tradition  of  service.   Today,  the  Corporation for National
Service  supports  the  Civilian  Conservation  Corps,  the Points of Light
Foundation,  General  Powell?s  America?s  Promise,  as well as AmeriCorps.
Since  the inception of AmeriCorps in 1994, AmeriCorps members have tutored
and  mentored  millions  of  children; established or expanded thousands of
neighborhood  safety  patrols;  helped  build  or rehabilitate thousands of
homes;  and helped communities rebuild after dozens of natural disasters in
more  than  30  states, including the recent fires in Montana and Colorado.
AmeriCorps  also  provides  trained,  dedicated  people  to  help nonprofit
organizations  such  as Habitat for Humanity, the YMCA and the American Red
Cross.   In  exchange for their service, AmeriCorps members are eligible to
receive  educational awards that help pay for college, job training, or pay
back  student  loans.   To date, AmeriCorps members have qualified for more
than $400 million in education awards.

AMERICORPS  AND OTHER VITAL NATIONAL SERVICE PROGRAMS MUST BE REAUTHORIZED.
The  reauthorization  of AmeriCorps has wide-ranging support.  Recently, 49
of  the  nation?s  50  governors  sent  a  letter  urging Congress to renew
AmeriCorps  and other national service programs, stating, "As Governors, we
recognize  the  value  of  national  service as a tool in meeting important
needs  in  our  states.   We do not want to lose this force for good in our
communities,  states,  and  country."   The  National and Community Service
Amendments  Act  of 2000 would reauthorize the Corporation for National and
Community  Service  and  its  major  service  programs  for five years, and
strengthen  our  nation?s  commitment to national service by enabling these
programs  to  build  on  the  far-reaching benefits they have provided.  In
addition, the reauthorization would expand AmeriCorps to include an E-Corps
of volunteers working to close the digital divide.

AMERICORPS  READING  TUTORS  HELPING  CHILDREN  LEARN TO READ. In 1996, the
President issued the "America Reads Challenge" to help every child learn to
read  well  and independently by the end of the third grade, and called for
an  army  of  trained reading tutors to join forces with parents, teachers,
and  reading  specialists  to  help achieve this goal.  AmeriCorps members,
VISTA  volunteers,  and Foster Grandparents all heeded the President?s call
to  action  and  have since taught, tutored, or mentored nearly one million
children  learning  to  read.   Today,  the  President  will  announce  the
preliminary  results of a national study that shows that AmeriCorps members
are  making  a  difference  in  helping the students they work with improve
their  reading skills.  This independent study, conducted by Abt Associates
Inc.,  surveyed  hundreds  of  AmeriCorps  reading  tutors and thousands of
children  learning  to  read,  and  concluded  that in every instance these
tutors  are  making  a major difference.  In fact, the children involved in
the  study improved their reading abilities more than the gain expected for
similarly  situated  children at their grade level.  Many of these students
started  out  in  the  tutoring  programs  well  below  grade  level and by
year-end,  students  closed  the  gap  and  were  reading  at  or  near the
grade-level  expectation.   President Clinton urged Congress to reauthorize
funding  to support programs like the AmeriCorps reading tutors in addition
to  his  call to enact other critical education reforms to improve reading,
including  smaller  class-size,  teacher  quality,  and  more  after-school
opportunities.

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