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New Law Dramatically Increases National Volunteer Program

President Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act today, which could quadruple the size of AmeriCorps over the next eight years. The president was joined by the $5.7 billion bill's namesake (Ted Kennedy) and former president Bill Clinton, who started the nationwide volunteer program in 1993.

The new law creates four new service programs: the Clean Energy Corps, the Education Corps, the Healthy Futures Corps, and the Veterans Service Corps. It also increases the amount of money volunteers receive toward their educations. And seniors who participate can transfer $1,000 toward the education of a family member.

Supporters hope that having volunteers work on crucial projects will rejuvenate the country and perhaps save us money. According to one study, each dollar invested in AmeriCorps yields a $4 return. Sounds like a good investment to me!


hartsfull hartsfull 8 years
I'm a little bothered by the mandatory words. It's not volunteering if there is mandatory anywhere. It's not volunteering if you're getting paid. I'm all for volunteering and incentives for it. So I am a little appreciative of the efforts or ideas of the bill. I don't like the gov't saying mandatory on any of this though. I can't help but to feel this smells a bit.
mermei mermei 8 years
Okay, I'm highly skeptical of the $4 return on each $1 invested in Americorps - what's the source? The government pays out at least $16,000 per volunteer, and what it gets back really depends on the individual and the project - and some projects are exceedingly stupid. And I'm saying this as an Americorps alum with a good project. Out of my 12 months of service, I spent in total 1 month in "training" programs, one of which flew me to Chicago, put me up in a 4-star hotel, and paid for lush spreads at mealtimes. There's a lot of waste built in to programs run by large government bureaucracy. Why not have volunteers actually, you know, volunteer?
greenapples1987 greenapples1987 8 years
yeah, i guess that is what i was trying to say..charismatic..wait i'm suppose to be commenting on the topic, not the pic. maybe i need to go read it, HA!
xxstardust xxstardust 8 years
I never found Bill "very attractive", persay - but he's certainly charismatic. He's a charming, winning man and I'm sure that has a lot to do with upping his physical appeal. And he is better looking than a lot of other presidential men ..
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I like the sounds of this.
crayolasky crayolasky 8 years
This sounds like a good's the GIVE act I don't approve of, especially since I'm in the mandatory age group.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
lol it's funny I have never considered Bill Clinton a "very attractive man". I have to admit my surprise in how good Senator Kennedy is looking after his recent medical issues. Good for him!
jocupcake jocupcake 8 years
I am so excited about this program! Keep it up Mr. President!
greenapples1987 greenapples1987 8 years
all i have to say is there are three men in that picture that i admire the most..YES, bill clinton too!! you have to admit, he's a very attractive man..he just has that charm!
ThrillK ThrillK 8 years
If you volunteer for something but receive some form of payment, how can that be volunteering? Isn't that a job? And if the number of volunteers doesn't grow, can it really be called a dramatic increase? Aside from the practical or impractical questions, this is a good program. Looks like the gov't got one right this time.
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