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Governor Proclaims AmeriCorps Week in Maine

May 11th, 2009

GOVERNOR’S PRESS OFFICE
CONTACT: David Farmer, 287-2531
Rochelle Runge, MaineCommission for Community Service, 287-8933

May 11, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AUGUSTA – Governor John E. Baldacci today joined the Maine Commission for Community Service to announce that May 9-16 has been proclaimed AmeriCorps Week in the State of Maine and that all citizens are urged to recognize this observance.

"AmeriCorps Week gives us the opportunity to salute members and alumni, to thank the community partners who make AmeriCorps possible, and to encourage others to serve," Governor Baldacci said.

During the ceremony, Governor Baldacci signed the proclamation while AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA members, alumni and AmeriCorps program directors looked on.

Maine has had 3,500 AmeriCorps members over the last 16 years who have received $11.7 million in education awards. This year, the Corporation for National and Community Service will commit more than $6.7 million to support Maine's national service initiatives including Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, VISTA, and Learn and Serve. This federal money coming into Maine will help support much needed work across the State, such as mentoring children, keeping Maine people safe and warm in their homes, and caring for those in need.

Earlier this year, President Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act to grow national service participants from 75,000 to 250,000 with focus on priority needs including advancing student achievement and graduation, providing economic opportunity, increasing energy efficiency, improving health care access, and enhancing service opportunities for veterans. For information on how to get involved during AmeriCorps Week and year round visit www.VolunteerMaine.org.

The Maine Commission for Community Service builds capacity and sustainability in Maine's volunteer sector by funding service programs, developing managers of volunteers, raising awareness of the scope and impact of the sector, and encouraging an ethic of service. To learn more about the Maine Commission for Community Service visit www.maineservicecommission.gov.

The text of the proclamation follows:

WHEREAS, service to others is a hallmark of the American character, and throughout our history citizens have stepped up to meet challenges by volunteering in their communities; and
WHEREAS, the current economic downturn means more Americans are facing hardships, and volunteering and national service is needed now more than ever; and
WHEREAS, the AmeriCorps national service program has proven to be a highly effective way to engage Americans of all ages and backgrounds in meeting a wide range of community needs and promote the ethic of service and volunteering since its creation in 1994; and
WHEREAS, each year AmeriCorps, including AmeriCorps VISTA and AmeriCorps NCCC, provides opportunities for 75,000 citizens across the nation, to give back in an intensive way to our communities, our state, and our country, including nearly 4,000 men and women from Maine taking the AmeriCorps pledge; and
WHEREAS, those AmeriCorps members have served a total of 5,416,769 hours helping to improve the lives of our state’s most vulnerable citizens, strengthen our educational system; protect our environment, and contribute to our public safety; and
WHEREAS, AmeriCorps was designed to give a key role to states in deciding where resources should be directed to meet state and local needs through the work of Governor-appointed state service commissions, including the Maine Commission for Community Service; and
WHEREAS, AmeriCorps members last year recruited and supervised close to 17,400 community volunteers, demonstrating AmeriCorps value as a powerful catalyst and force multiplier; and
WHEREAS, AmeriCorps members from the State of Maine have earned more than $11,718,262 in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards since the inception of AmeriCorps to further their own educational advancement at colleges and universities; and
WHEREAS, many AmeriCorps members, after their terms of service end, remain engaged in our communities as volunteers, teachers, public servants, and nonprofit leaders; and
WHEREAS, AmeriCorps Week (May 9-16, 2009) is an opportune time for the people of Maine to salute AmeriCorps members and alums for their powerful impact; thank all of AmeriCorps' community partners in Maine who make the program possible; and bring more Americans into service,
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOHN E. BALDACCI, Governor of the State of Maine, do hereby proclaim May 9-16, 2009 as AMERICORPS WEEK throughout the State of Maine, and urge all citizens to thank AmeriCorps members and alumni for their service and to find ways to give back to their communities.