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Congress Considers Bill to Spur Volunteerism

The House of Representatives will vote on the Give Act today, which would triple the size of AmeriCorps and create four other service programs. The new Corps would be:

  • The Clean Energy Corps
  • The Education Corps
  • The Healthy Futures Corps
  • The Veterans Service Crops

The bill also increases the amount of money volunteers, like the ones Michelle Obama hung out with yesterday, receive toward education.

Supporters of the bill say that America's service infrastructure needs a critical boost. Plus, if we can get volunteers to focus energy toward crucial projects, it might save money. According to some analysis each dollar invested in AmeriCorp yields a $4 return.

But critics say it would just throw money at the idea of giving back. And jobless Americans already seem excited about the idea of giving back and gaining skills.

So what about you? Do you favor this bill?


Join The Conversation
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Is it really volunteering if the government mandates it?
stephley stephley 8 years
A lot of foundations and charities have taken serious hits with the economy in general and Madoff in particular, while at the same time they face greater calls for help. If this will help them do their work, I'm okay with it.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
It's not like getting paid to tutor kids or serve food to the homeless. I did AmeriCorps back in 2003, under Bush, (yes, the gov'ts hand was in volunteerism back then, too) and it's a full-time job. You get paid around $8000 for an entire year of service, plus either a $1500 stipend at the end of the year, or a couple thousand of forgiven school loans. Maybe things have changed a little since then, but, it's hardly something people are going to be abandoning their minimum wage jobs to do. The money you make while there is to cover the most basic of living expenses. Trust me, I didn't do AmeriCorps for money. I gave up a 60K job to make 8K. I could have made more working at McDonalds - and I'm not kidding. The money was just to feed myself. I didn't buy myself so much as a shirt for an entire year so I could stay within budget.
piper23 piper23 8 years
Everytime I volunteer it costs me money. I don't do it for financial benefit that's for sure. But I guess some people need an incentive to volunteer.
Carrie-Sue Carrie-Sue 8 years
So now we need the Govt's hand in volunteerism? Is there nothing sacred? Beyond that, I thought the entire for basis for volunteering was that there's no compensation involved? Is it really volunteering if you're getting something in return for it?
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
Well if you get more out of it than you put in why not.
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