Gov. Matt Bevin last night welcomed a new class of Kentucky AmeriCorps members pledging to “get things done” as they embark upon a year of service to the Commonwealth.
The swearing-in ceremony was part of the Service for Peace “9/11 Salute to Our Heroes” event at Fourth Street Live! in downtown Louisville, which also recognized Kentucky’s first responders and military heroes on the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance.
“Tonight is an amazing evening of reflection and celebration of the American spirit,” said Gov. Bevin, a U.S. Army veteran. “We are truly grateful to all of our servant leaders who are gathered here—military personnel, first responders and AmeriCorps volunteers.”
Gov. Bevin praised Kentucky AmeriCorps members for committing to work to improve the lives of citizens across the Commonwealth.
“Thank you to each one of you who have stepped up and are willing to serve,” he said. “You have taken in the greatness of America and chosen not to keep it to yourselves, but to give it back to others. You will leave these communities that you are a part of different—you will leave them better.”
Kentucky AmeriCorps members address critical issues across the state—like teaching and tutoring students, combatting the effects of opioid abuse, providing drug resistance education, serving veterans and military families, empowering victims of domestic violence and assisting low-income senior citizens. During their service, AmeriCorps members will expand opportunity for themselves, gain skills and experience to jump-start their careers and earn education scholarships for their service.
The Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service (KCCVS), part of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), administers the Kentucky AmeriCorps program and coordinated last night’s celebration in Louisville.
“Kentucky AmeriCorps lives up to its mission of ‘getting things done,’ and I salute new, returning and alumni members for their service,” said CHFS Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson. “You have shown a focus on helping communities build a better future for all of Kentucky.”
KCCVS executive director Joe Bringardner administered the AmeriCorps pledge to the more than 400 members from 96 of Kentucky’s 120 counties. In total, there are 804 new and returning AmeriCorps members serving the Commonwealth this year. Kentucky AmeriCorps currently receives more than $6.5 million in federal funding for 23 programs.
“AmeriCorps is so effective because it helps nurture the skills and talents of civic-minded Kentuckians, giving them more educational and economic opportunities. Our members learn that service is vital to a community’s growth, and they realize this is an investment in their future,” said Bringardner. “Serving can mean the difference between getting a degree and becoming a local leader. It’s an investment in community stability and yields higher earnings for the members along with a ready network of volunteers for the community.”
Since 1994, more than 1 million men and women have served in AmeriCorps, providing more than 1.4 billion hours of service addressing critical challenges from poverty and hunger to disasters and the dropout crisis. AmeriCorps members have earned more than $3.3 billion in education scholarships to pay for college or pay back student loans.
In the Kentucky, more than 11,000 Kentuckians have served more than 17 million hours and have received education awards totaling more than $40.8 million.