November 27, 2001 - Buffalo News: AmeriCorps volunteers will be used to bolster public safety

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2001: 11 November 2001 Peace Corps Headlines: November 27, 2001 - Buffalo News: AmeriCorps volunteers will be used to bolster public safety

By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, November 30, 2001 - 12:01 pm: Edit Post

Read this story from the Buffalo News on how AmeriCorps volunteers will be used to bolster public safety at:



Nov 27, 2001 - Buffalo News

An America that once reached out to the world through the committed volunteers of the Peace Corps has now turned its concerns inward, with a call to service within its borders. In a time of war that has touched these shores with tragedy, that's an understandable summons -- and it ought to be answered.

Beyond the brief announcement by President Bush that AmeriCorps and Senior Corps volunteers would be used to bolster public safety agencies that have committed their own manpower to homeland security, Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Evan Bayh of Indiana have offered a "Call to Service Act" that would rapidly expand recruiting for the often-threatened "domestic Peace Corps" launched eight years ago by the Clinton administration.

After years of fighting to survive, AmeriCorps now has a prioritized role in defense of the homeland. Its volunteers won't carry weapons or fight, but the local AmeriCorps director rightly notes that they can "provide a level of public comfort" while keeping watch and filling needs.

The Corporation for National and Community Service -- AmeriCorps' proper name -- already provides identifiable young "rangers" to patrol Buffalo's transit mall and downtown streets, watching for a chance to help or to head off trouble. Multiply that across America, as the corps expands, and you combine a real benefit for the community with a valuable chance for volunteers to do something tangible in a common cause, the war against terror.

AmeriCorps Chief Executive Officer Leslie Lenkowsky, in Buffalo during the president's announcement, said the agency already is "really on track in a lot of ways" with the new goals. AmeriCorps youths, and the larger number of part-time volunteers 55 and over who make up Senior Corps, normally tackle jobs that strengthen community organizations or tutor students, but they also can provide counseling and outreach help, bolster security for public health programs and offer needed support to law enforcement agencies that have lost members to military call-ups or disaster relief operations.

Bush wants 20,000 of the government-subsidized volunteers -- who get a modest annual stipend and GI Bill-type benefits when they complete service -- to help police, fire and health departments. The McCain-Bayh bill would expand AmeriCorps from its current 50,000 members to 250,000 by 2010, providing 125,000 homeland defense program volunteers and linking their work to the new Office of Homeland Security. It would also encourage military enlistments, adjust AmeriCorps funding, enhance volunteer benefits and provide for an annual independent review.

Lenkowsky says his agency cannot yet commit to specific numbers, but the pending legislation is "the right direction." Since Sept. 11, he adds, AmeriCorps has seen a 30 percent increase in interest from potential volunteers. This is a case where the will to work intersects with a national need -- and that deserves encouragement.

By mourad kacem ( - on Sunday, November 13, 2005 - 5:20 am: Edit Post

Dear peace corps staff,
I really appreciate what you are doing all over the world.I am ateacher of English from Morocco.Could you please tell me if I can become a member of your organization if It is possible and How.Thank you.

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