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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498

Date: March 9, 2012


For more information, contact Jill Fredel, Director of Communications, (302) 255-9047.

Delaware to Mark AmeriCorps Week March 11-17 with Several Events

NEW CASTLE (March 9, 2012) - Celebrating the impact that AmeriCorps members have on Delaware's communities, the state will mark AmeriCorps Week March 11-17 with several public events.

AmeriCorps Week provides an opportunity for Delaware's 110 AmeriCorps members, alums, grantees, program partners, and friends to shine a spotlight on the work done by members - and to motivate more individuals to join AmeriCorps or to volunteer in their communities.

Whether improving schools, fighting poverty, rebuilding after disasters, providing health services, preserving the environment, or supporting veterans and military families, AmeriCorps members are getting things done. Since 1994, more than 775,000 AmeriCorps members have given one billion hours of service, mobilizing tens of millions of volunteers, and improving the lives of countless citizens.

In Delaware, the theme this year, AmeriCorps Works , communicates the value and effectiveness of AmeriCorps and the programs they support. AmeriCorps state, national and Public Allies members in Delaware will support Connecting Generations, Ministry of Caring, Emergency Services Corps, Habitat for Humanity and the Food Bank of Delaware with service projects during the week. Public events begin Monday with a clean-up at Fairview Elementary School in Dover, where Sen. Tom Carper will address those volunteering, and conclude with work on a Habitat for Humanity home on Friday in Lincoln.

Gov. Jack Markell said Delaware clearly benefits from the service that AmeriCorps members contribute.

"The young people of AmeriCorps bring vitality, enthusiasm and a strong commitment to making a difference to the communities in which they serve. In exchange for their yearlong commitment to giving back, the nonprofit agencies, governments and schools where they serve offer them valuable on-the-job learning experiences. This is the way we build a better Delaware for today and for tomorrow."

Delaware Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf praised AmeriCorps Delaware for the impact its members will have on communities this week and throughout their year of service.

"Delaware's AmeriCorps members clearly demonstrate the power of service," Landgraf said. "This coming week, we will see it when they help to clean up a school's grounds in Dover or the inside of the Samaritan Outreach and Distribution Center at the Ministry of Caring in Wilmington. We'll see the difference they make by helping to clear out the interior of a home in Lincoln so Habitat for Humanity can rehabilitate it for a family or by collecting donations all week for the Food Bank of Delaware. Wherever AmeriCorps members share their spirit and skills, they are protecting vulnerable populations and making our communities stronger."

"One of the most important things we can do in life is to serve others, and AmeriCorps and its members spread that spirit of service throughout our communities and nation," said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del. "AmeriCorps members dedicate their time, talent, and hard work to make some of our most vulnerable communities stronger and I've seen first-hand the positive difference they have made in the First State. Moreover, the program helps AmeriCorps members develop valuable skills though on-the-job training and community engagement. AmeriCorps is a program that works, ensuring a brighter today and tomorrow for Delaware and our country."

"Volunteerism is a fundamental part of what it means to be American, and I've long believed that those who engage in volunteerism and service to others in fact get more out of it than they put into it," said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del. "AmeriCorps provides a wonderful avenue for people to bring their gifts, their talents and their unique spirit to volunteering. As New Castle County Executive, I helped launch a new AmeriCorps program, the Emergency Services Corps, to help recruit volunteer firefighters, conduct training on CPR and first aid, and provide fire awareness training for schoolchildren across our county. So far they've recruited more than 220 new volunteer firefighters and logged more than 100,000 hours of service to our community in the five years since it was created. This program is just one shining example of the hundreds of AmeriCorps programs across our country that are making a difference."

"As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'Everybody can be great because everybody can serve,' " said U.S. Rep. John Carney, D-Del. "I commend the dedicated young people in AmeriCorps for answering the call to serve those most in need. They are a tremendous example for others to follow, and I hope that the events of this week inspire even more people in our community to serve others."

AmeriCorps was created in 1994 under President Bill Clinton. Working through service commissions in each state, it matches a member's interest to the area in which they would like to volunteer, meeting critical community needs in social services, the environment, emergency preparedness and education. Each year, more than 85,000 people join AmeriCorps, with more than 500,000 members serving since 1994.

In exchange for a year of service in Delaware (1,700 hours), members 17 and older receive:

The list of public events during AmeriCorps Week in Delaware includes:

Monday, March 12: Connecting Generations Youth Ambassadors school clean-up, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Fairview Elementary School, 700 Walker Road, Dover. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., will speak at noon.

Tuesday, March 13: Book event with Public Allies CEO Paul Schmitz, 10 a.m.-noon, Trabant Center, University of Delaware. Schmitz is the author of "Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up." Public Allies is a national movement grounded in the idea that everyone leads. Its mission is to advance new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participations across the country. Schmitz, who served on President Barack Obama's transition team, is recognized as one of America's nonprofit leaders.

Wednesday, March 14: Ministry of Caring Samaritan Outreach Center clean-up, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., 1410 N. Claymont St., Wilmington. Staff members of Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., will be honorary AmeriCorps members as they help with the clean-up.

Friday, March 16: Habitat for Humanity "Interior Demolition," 9 a.m.-3 p.m., 21064 Mayhew, Lincoln. Open to the public. Habitat for Humanity must clear out the interior of this existing home to rehabilitate it.

All week: At any public event, members of the public can drop off donations for the Food Bank of Delaware.

For more information about AmeriCorps Week, go to or Or contact Catherine Fox, Marketing and Media Coordinator, at the State Office of Volunteerism, at (302) 255-9745.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.