WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Bill Clinton will join President Barack Obama at the White House this week to mark the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps, officials said Tuesday.
Clinton launched the first crop of AmeriCorps volunteers in September 1994.
Clinton and Obama will address hundreds of AmeriCorps volunteers on the South Lawn on Friday as they are being sworn in for duty.
The event will kick off a year of a national service for some 75,000 volunteers who have signed up through AmeriCorps to spend the next 12 months serving the country. It is one of dozens of pledge ceremonies being held Friday in the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and several U.S. territories.
Former President George H.W. Bush is scheduled to participate in a pledge ceremony at his home in Kennebunkport, Maine. His son, former President George W. Bush, and former first lady Laura Bush also filmed a video that will be played at the ceremonies.
Each of the former presidents played a part in the creation and growth of AmeriCorps, which each year directs tens of thousands of volunteers to domestic service projects at nonprofit organizations, schools, public agencies, and community and religious-based groups across the country.
George H.W. Bush signed the 1990 National Service Act, which created the Commission on National and Community Service and funded a national service pilot program.
Clinton signed legislation in 1993 to create AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National and Community Service, and launched the first class of 20,000 AmeriCorps members 20 years ago Friday. The younger Bush expanded the number of AmeriCorps positions after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Obama has taken steps to expand national service by creating such new AmeriCorps partnerships as FEMA Corps, School Turnaround AmeriCorps and STEM AmeriCorps.
Since 1994, more than 900,000 people have spent more than 1.2 billion hours volunteering on projects around the country, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service. AmeriCorps members also have earned more than $2.7 billion in education scholarships to pay for college or repay student loans.
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