Americorps celebrates thirty years of service

Published 9:59 am Friday, March 22, 2024

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During AmeriCorps Week, citizens honor the dedication of millions who have served their country through AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors, celebrating patriotic Americans who inspire others to join in this tradition of service. This year is especially significant, as it marks the 30th anniversary of AmeriCorps, a program that has had a profound impact across America and locally in Butler County.

AmeriCorps volunteers have contributed to various causes, including supporting Butler County students in a myriad of ways — combating hunger and homelessness, responding to natural disasters, fighting the opioid epidemic, helping seniors live independently and supporting veterans and military families.

AmeriCorps members play a vital role in Butler County’s school system, particularly through the Instructional Support Team. Members assist pre-K through 12th-grade students in all schools in the county, including McKenzie, Georgiana, Greenville High, Greenville Middle, Greenville Elementary, W.O. Parmer Elementary and the Bright Beginnings Pre-K Program.

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Joseph Eiland, the Butler County School Superintendent, emphasized the program’s importance.

“The Americorps program is vital to success in Butler County,” Eiland said. “They provide much-needed assistance in classrooms and offices,.It is one of the greatest programs in our schools as far as outcomes and results.”

AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith highlighted the impact of AmeriCorps members and volunteers.

“Across the country, AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Senior volunteers continue to come together to bring hope, healing, and possibility to communities when they need it most,” Smith said.

Smith emphasized the transformational impact of AmeriCorps members and volunteers, noting that many alumni have become innovators and change-makers in various fields.

In the thirty years since the program’s inception, 20,000 Americans pledged to get things done for America as AmeriCorps members, helping over 1,000 communities nationwide during their first year of service. Since then, more than 1.25 million Americans and hundreds of thousands of AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers have provided billions of hours of service across all 50 states and all US territories.

Kathy Tolin, the Butler County Program Director, echoed Eiland’s sentiments, highlighting the significant role AmeriCorps members serve within the local school system.

“We’ve been assisting students here from pre-K to 12th grade since 1997,” Tolin said. “We enroll twenty members a year, and they assist with things like tutoring and with students that might need one-on-one help.To date, 33% of members have ended up employed by our school system.”

As AmeriCorps celebrates its 30th anniversary, it continues to be a beacon of hope and service, inspiring Americans to make a difference in their communities and beyond.