LOUISVILLE, KY—On Friday, September 12, AmeriCorps members, new volunteers, and professionals from all over the region gathered at the Yum Center in downtown Louisville to celebrate AmeriCorps’ 20th anniversary. The event featured a live stream of President Barack Obama and recordings of former Presidents George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. The celebration culminated with the swearing in of 400 new AmeriCorps volunteers by Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)—the federal agency that administrates AmeriCorps.
AmeriCorps volunteers and professionals from multiple Berea College programs, including Grow Appalachia and Partners for Education, made the journey to Louisville to add their voices to the celebration.
PartnerCorps Project Director Rob Bowers attended the event with many volunteers from the PartnerCorps program. “The 20th anniversary event allowed all of our members to see we are part of a much larger team which goes beyond our service area,” Bowers said.
Holly Korb, an AmeriCorps VISTA with Grow Appalachia, was impressed by the event. “What struck me soon after was the atmosphere—fun, contagious, excited. We were all there together, united by a common thread of service and devotion to our communities.” Korb also commented on her experience with her fellow VISTAs. “An added bonus to the day for me was getting to know some of my fellow VISTAs serving in Berea. We’ve all met before, but we’re all so dispersed throughout campus that we don’t get to connect often; this day, however, we all shared so many stories and facets from our own lives. We all have some pretty incredible stories. I was overall very inspired by the day, and I will carry the memories with me as I continue my service, and hopefully beyond.”
Rachel Tsvetanov, Partners for Education’s associate director of grant services and compliance and AmeriCorps alum, offered her thoughts after the event. “The AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary was a great opportunity to see how many different kinds of people are involved in national service. I hear it said over and over that national service isn’t a partisan cause and it’s true. There’s a lot to celebrate in our region and in our country—a lot of civility and spending a day with a large group of people committed to doing good and taking action really makes you hopeful for our shared future.”
Over 900,000 AmeriCorps members have served their country since the programs founding in 1994. To learn more about AmeriCorps visit http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps.