For Immediate Release – September 15, 2015
Contacts: Barry Brown / Communications and Public Relations Officer / 831.784.4245
Kathleen Heagney / Coordinator, AmeriCorps Monterey County United for Literacy / 831.755.0375
AmeriCorps Members Begin a Year of Service - Sworn In by U.S. Representative Sam Farr
Salinas, CA – Promising to “get things done for America,” thirty-six new members of AmeriCorps were sworn in today to begin a year of service to the community. Congressman Sam Farr, U.S. House of Representatives 20th District, administered the AmeriCorps oath during a ceremony at the Monterey Office of Education in Salinas.
The new AmeriCorps members will provide services through programs operated by the Monterey County Office of Education (AmeriCorps Monterey County United for Literacy), and California State University Monterey Bay AmeriCorps Volunteer Infrastructure Project (VIP).
Congressman Farr told AmeriCorps members that they are fighting a modern war on poverty. “Many Americans – even some here in Monterey County – don’t have access to education, health care, and a safe place to sleep,” he said. “The only way to break that cycle of poverty is to go there, live it, gain their trust and confidence, and help them learn the skills they need to succeed.”
AmeriCorps is a national program that engages more than 75,000 Americans in intensive service each year at nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country. AmeriCorps members commit to a year of service to meet critical community needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment.
AmeriCorps Monterey County United for Literacy members serve a minimum of 1700 hours during the program year as reading tutors, offering one-to-one reading assistance to kindergarten through 4th graders during school and in extended programs at schools in Salinas, Greenfield and King City.
“It is amazing what you do,” said Dr. Nancy Kotowski, Monterey County Superintendent of Schools. “You touch lives. You change the community. You are making a difference, one interaction at a time.”
Now in its sixteenth year, the program’s mission is to enable Monterey County children to read well and independently by the end of the third grade so they can read to learn in the fourth grade and beyond.
The AmeriCorps Volunteer Infrastructure Project (VIP) is designed to address the significant challenges faced by California communities due to the recent economic downturn. Through the program, teams of AmeriCorps members are placed in communities to develop volunteer programs, harnessing the desire to serve to directly impact communities in need. Specifically, these non-profits will focus on providing services to children and their families.
AmeriCorps VIP serves the following agencies in Monterey County: Everyone’s Harvest, Peacock Acres, Chinatown Renewal-Learning Center, Service Learning Institute-Student Leader Program, Watershed Institute, CSUMB Student Activities, SLI Student Activities, Loaves and Fishes Computers, Monterey County Housing Authority, United Way Monterey County, and Monterey County Free Libraries.
During the swearing in ceremony, AmeriCorps members take the following pledge:
“I will get things done for America - to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier.
I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities.
Faced with apathy, I will take action.
Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground.
Faced with adversity, I will persevere.
I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond.
I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done.”