Health and Family Services Cabinet
Gov. Beshear Proclaims AmeriCorps Week; Kentucky hosts national kickoff and bed-building event
FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 7, 2010) – Gov. Steve Beshear has proclaimed May 8-15 AmeriCorps Week in Kentucky.
During AmeriCorps Week, AmeriCorps programs across Kentucky traditionally sponsor special events to promote community service as part of the annual observance. However, this year many AmeriCorps members are coming together at one central location as Kentucky hosts the national kickoff event -- Build-A-Bed -- a 24-hour, 500-bed building blitz for children in need.
Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Secretary Janie Miller said it’s a privilege to host this signature event in Kentucky because it highlights the strong leadership of AmeriCorps members and the much needed services they bring to Kentucky communities.
“Shining the national spotlight on the Kentucky AmeriCorps’ Build-A-Bed project shows not only Kentuckians, but also all Americans, the wonderful things that we accomplish when we work together,” she said. “It also provides an example of the opportunities to truly make a difference in the lives of others through service.”
Each child who receives a bed will also receive a mattress and a “bedtime bag,” with items such as sheets, pajamas, books, nightlights, pillows, blankets and a toy or cuddly animal.
In Kentucky, AmeriCorps programs are administered by the Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service (KCCVS) within the CHFS. KCCVS Executive Director Eileen Cackowski said AmeriCorps members got the idea for the project through their involvement with families in their communities.
Over the next few years community service projects of this type are expected to become more commonplace because of the passage of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act last year. The Serve Act sets AmeriCorps on a path to grow to 250,000 members by 2017 and focuses AmeriCorps on critical national issues of education, health, clean energy, veterans and economic opportunity.
In 2009, AmeriCorps members recruited and supervised more than 16,000 community volunteers in Kentucky, demonstrating the program’s value as a force multiplier.
Since the Kentucky AmeriCorps program was launched in 1994, more than 6,000 Kentuckians have taken the AmeriCorps pledge to “get things done for America,” to improve the lives of vulnerable citizens, strengthen the education system, protect the environment and enhance public safety.
“AmeriCorps members make lasting contributions to the people and communities they serve,” said Cackowski. “AmeriCorps members deserve the recognition of AmeriCorps Week to make more people aware of the priceless service they perform, and to promote the opportunities AmeriCorps offers to members.”
AmeriCorps members may serve one or two years. Upon completion of their service, members are eligible for an education award equal to the current amount of a Pell grant that can be used to pay back student loans or cover tuition costs. Kentucky AmeriCorps members have received more than $20.5 million in education awards since the program began in 1994.
For more information about Kentucky’s AmeriCorps programs, call toll-free (800) 239-7404 or visit the KCCVS website at www.volunteerKY.ky.gov.
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