Thursday, September 18

Americorps Turns 20!

It seems impossible that it’s been 20 years since the founding of AmeriCorps.  When Shirley Sagawa, its first Executive Director, selected me as their organizational consultant, I never imagined the development of the Corporation for National Service would be more than a full-time commitment for the next two years—nor that it would be one of the greatest experiences of my life.  Twenty years later, I remain close with Shirley and both her personal and professional families, continuing to enjoy the bonds we forged in those early days of what was both a bold start-up and a merger of existing service programs.  
This past week, there were celebrations throughout our country of what began as our “domestic Peace Corps” and turned into a movement.  As you can imagine, it was a challenge to forge a connective culture between and among those who joined the effort with the robust enthusiasm of an exciting new venture and those who came from existing programs.  Yet, we embraced the crusader spirit and forged ahead with the very worthwhile adventure.   Since 1994, when President Clinton swore in the first class of 20,000 Americorps members, the Americorp group of volunteers has grown to include over 900,000 Americans who have served more than 1 billion hours.     
Clinton’s video address:

Thanks to Shirley for her leadership in creating AmeriCorps and her continued vision of how national service is transformative for both the volunteers and the lives of those they touch. 

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