Each year, more than 80,000 AmeriCorps volunteers scattered about the country work tirelessly to make our country safer, healthier, and stronger. Since its inception as part of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), over one million AmeriCorps volunteers have served more than 1.4 billion hours and motivated over 2.3 million Americans to volunteer alongside them.
That’s a huge volunteer force, right?
Let’s take a closer look at the impact and outcomes of this volunteering giant.
What key areas does AmeriCorps serve?
Through its three branches – State and National, VISTA, and NCCC – AmeriCorps strives to build stronger communities by targeting the following areas: education, economic opportunity, disaster relief, healthy futures, environmental stewardships, and veterans and military families. Combined, these efforts help fortify, rebuild, and educate communities around the country.
How has AmeriCorps affected American communities?
Through community-based programs, non-profit initiatives, and disaster relief efforts, AmeriCorps volunteers have assisted disadvantaged communities, enhanced the capabilities of non-profit organizations, and aided the recovery of areas destroyed by natural disasters. Hard evidence of AmeriCorps’ impact doesn’t lie; in fact, measurements of AmeriCorps’ impact are quite impressive:
- Each year, thousands of AmeriCorps volunteers tutor and mentor at-risk youth at over 12,000 schools nationwide.
- AmeriCorps NCCC volunteers have provided over $1 million in free tax preparation to disadvantaged families.
- In the last five years, 16,000 AmeriCorps volunteers have assisted recovery efforts for over 200 natural disasters, including Hurricane Sandy, tornadoes in the Midwest, and wildfires in California.
- In Detroit alone, crime as been reduced by 26% and saved law enforcement $302 million in extra costs, thanks to the AmeriCorps Urban Safety Project.
- Annually, over 8,000 AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers mobilize an additional 900,000 volunteers, and they raise $178 million for over 3,000 non-profit organizations.
- Overall, AmeriCorps volunteers raise over $1 billion in cash and other resources to support needy causes.
What strategies help AmeriCorps achieve its goals?
AmeriCorps empowers state and local entities by providing manpower, funds, and skills to community-based initiatives, organizations, and governments. AmeriCorps volunteers strengthen non-profits by enhancing operations and helping them develop innovative and sustainable ways to advance their mission. Local entrepreneurial initiatives also receive AmeriCorps support, which enables leaders and citizens to solve local problems at the ground level.
AmeriCorps volunteers leverage assistance from private organizations outside CNCS, which ensures long-term, uninterrupted financial and in-kind support. By recruiting and rallying thousands of additional volunteers, AmeriCorps members are able to provide substantial skills and manpower to meet the needs of their beneficiaries.
Since 1994, AmeriCorps volunteers have proven themselves to be a muscular force, capable of getting things done swiftly, effectively, and inexpensively. Their training, work, and collaboration reinforce on-going initiatives and provide significant relief in times of distress. And, while helping others, AmeriCorps volunteers gain worthwhile experience, which assists them later in educational or professional endeavors. Equipped with a greater concept of active citizenry, practical know-how, and significant leadership skills, AmeriCorps alumni make attractive candidates for potential employers.
If you want to learn more, check our first installment in our AmeriCorps series, and stay tuned for the third installment, which will focus on AmeriCorps alumni.
Additional information can be found at AmeriCorps’ home page.