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DHSS Press Release

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

Date: March 11, 2013


NEW CASTLE (March 11, 2013) - As Delaware marks AmeriCorps Week, Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, will visit Wilmington on March 15 to announce two special programs to benefit the state. Spencer will join Gov. Jack Markell, Sens. Chris Coons and Tom Carper, Gen. Frank Vavala, DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf, First Lady Carla Markell and others in a press briefing and an invited community roundtable beginning at 9:45 a.m. Friday, March 15, at the Clarence Fraim Boys and Girls Club, 669 S. Union St., Wilmington.

"AmeriCorps members are an indispensable resource for the communities in which they serve," said Spencer, who heads the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps. "AmeriCorps Week is an opportunity to recognize the help they provide in communities to address economic challenges, prepare and recover from disasters, improve schools, or assist veterans in adjusting to life after the military every day. These members have the opportunity to make a measurable impact through service and, thus, transform the lives of people in need and the communities in which they live."

After being nominated by President Barack Obama, Spencer has served as CEO of CNCS since April 2012. AmeriCorps Week provides an opportunity for Delaware's 170 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. Since 1994, more than 2,000 Delaware residents have served more than 2.6 million hours and have qualified for educational awards totaling more than $5.9 million.

The theme of AmeriCorps Week 2013, "AmeriCorps Works," communicates the value and effectiveness of AmeriCorps while providing flexibility for the service members to be used in many different contexts. The week provides an overarching framework to communicate AmeriCorps triple bottom line return on investment - for the recipients of service, the members who serve, and the larger community and nation.

Gov. Markell said Delaware clearly benefits from the service that AmeriCorps members contribute. "The people who serve Delaware through 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. Through this human connectedness, we are building a better Delaware for today and for tomorrow."

Delaware Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf, whose agency oversees Delaware's AmeriCorps members, praised the impact they will have on communities this week and throughout their year of service.

"Wherever AmeriCorps members share their spirit and skills, they are protecting vulnerable populations and making our communities stronger," Landgraf said. "We see it from increasing the amount of affordable housing in Sussex County, to supporting students in Kent County, to helping individuals who are homeless in New Castle County. Each day, Delaware's AmeriCorps members demonstrate the power of service."

AmeriCorps member serve in the areas of disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures and supporting veterans and military families. Since 1994, more than 800,000 AmeriCorps members have served more than 1 billion hours, mobilizing tens of millions of volunteers, and improving the lives of countless citizens.

Since its inception under President Bill Clinton, AmeriCorps works through service commissions in each state to match a member's interest to the area in which they would like to serve. Each year, more than 85,000 people join AmeriCorps.

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

During AmeriCorps Week in Delaware, March 11-15, members will participate in several local events: Monday, March 11: Habitat for Humanity, home on Cedar Street in Laurel and another on King Road in Seaford. AmeriCorps members painted, did repairs, cleaned yards and more. 9 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 12: The Caring Corps, Ministry of Caring, Samaritan Outreach, 1410 N. Claymont St., Wilmington. Members will clean and organize clothing and pantry, and also process donations. 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.

Wednesday, March 13: Cranston Heights Fire Company, 3306 Kirkwood Highway, Wilmington. Emergency Service Corps members will clean up the station. 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.

Thursday, March 14: Connecting Generations, Central Middle School 211 Delaware Ave., Dover. Members will participate in a school clean-up and a student-led mural painting project. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday, March 15: Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, will meet with Gov. Jack Markell, Gen. Frank Vavala, Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, Secretary Rita Landgraf of the Department of Health and Social Services, First Lady Carla Markell, AmeriCorps members, and others to announce two Delaware projects. Clarence Fraim Boys and Girls Club, 669 S. Union St., Wilmington. 9-11 a.m.

Friday, March 15: Christiana Fire Company, 2 E. Main St., Christiana. Emergency Service Corps members will clean up fire trucks and gear. Noon-3 p.m.

Friday, March 15: Delaware Theatre Company, 200 Water St., Wilmington. Totally Awesome Players event will bring volunteers together to spread the word about the theater program for young people with intellectual disabilities. Noon-3 p.m.

For more information about AmeriCorps Delaware, 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.