ICYMI: AmeriCorps Celebrated National Volunteer Week and Earth Day
AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith recognized volunteerism and urged climate action
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism, celebrated National Volunteer Week April 17-23 and the 52nd Earth Day Friday, April 22. AmeriCorps leadership, partners and other federal agencies participated in service projects, AmeriCorps program site visits and recognition ceremonies in honor of the observances.
National Volunteer Week, an annual observance led by AmeriCorps and civic, nonprofit and faith-based organizations, recognized the contributions of millions of volunteers across the nation. AmeriCorps connects individuals of all ages to volunteer programs to tackle our nation’s toughest challenges. The agency’s largest volunteer program, AmeriCorps Seniors, is one of the oldest programs in national service and empowers volunteers aged 55 and older to serve their communities.
On April 20, AmeriCorps, in partnership with Points of Light, re-launched the President’s Volunteer Service Award. AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith presented awards to five students from the George Washington University. The students were recognized for their service during multiple National Days of Service and in AmeriCorps programs including Latin American Youth Center, Civic House Scholars, Jumpstart and Martha's Table, among many others.
"During National Volunteer Week, we celebrated the pivotal role volunteers have in the future of our nation,” said Smith. “I’m honored to have had the opportunity to thank some of our nation’s volunteers in person. I echo President Biden’s call to all Americans to volunteer and serve in their communities. When we work together, anything is possible.”
On April 21, ahead of Earth Day, AmeriCorps recognized Yale School of the Environment as a School of National Service, a nationwide AmeriCorps initiative to improve college access and affordability for those members who have completed their term of service. With this program, up to five AmeriCorps alumni admitted to the university’s forestry and environmental graduate programs will receive $5,000 scholarships.
On April 22, AmeriCorps also celebrated the 52nd Earth Day, which honors environmental conservation efforts and the vision of a healthier, more prosperous world where all people can thrive. Each year, AmeriCorps engages more than 16,000 members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers in conservation, renewable energy and community-resilience programs to help offset the climate change impacts.
"On the heels of Earth Day, I urge all Americans to join in the fight for our environment,” said Smith. “Now is the time to improve parks and public lands, increase energy efficiency, strengthen rural and urban economies, expand opportunity for young people, older Americans and veterans, and create the next generation of conservation and climate resilience leaders.”
In celebration of Earth Day, AmeriCorps recognized partners, members and volunteers whose service helps create a greener and cleaner future with a series of blogs highlighting AmeriCorps environmental leaders and projects around the country.
Smith ended the week with visits to partner organizations as part of AmeriCorps’ continuous efforts and commitment to environmental stewardship, climate change mitigation and resilience, and building pathways to future green jobs.
Smith joined AmeriCorps observances and participated in service projects including:
- Native plant service project with the Maryland Conservation Corps at Smallwood National Park in Marbury, Md.
- Trail restoration service project with AmeriCorps NCCC members team deployed to Manassas National Battlefield Park in Manassas, Va.
- Earth Day service with FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, Washington Parks & People, AmeriCorps NCCC and FEMA Corps at Marvin Gaye Greening Center in Washington, D.C.
At each location, Smith met with AmeriCorps members and volunteers who shared how their service experience is preparing them for the future by helping them develop crucial skills, making them more competitive to employers; discovering new career pathways in green fields; and paying down student loan debt. Many were considering a second year of service. These anecdotes track with agency research which shows overall, 80 percent of AmeriCorps alumni credit their AmeriCorps service with helping them to advance their careers.
For long-term, short-term, or just one time, volunteer opportunities to get involved in climate action or community service use the AmeriCorps Volunteer Search, powered by VolunteerMatch. Visit americorps.gov/volunteer to find out more.