New Jersey Department of Education

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Contact: Richard Vespucci
For Release: October 20

, 1999

AmeriCorps Prepares for Fifth Anniversary Launch

AmeriCorps, the national community service organization, is marking its fifth anniversary with swearing-in ceremonies of new members. In New Jersey, Commissioner of Education David Hespe will swear in 300 new members on the State House steps, beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday, October 22.

Accompanying Commissioner Hespe will be Dr. John Sherry, assistant commissioner for the Division of Field Services, New Jersey Department of Education.

"AmeriCorps members are supporting many of our educational goals by helping students achieve academic success," said Hespe. "The New Jersey AmeriCorps members also remove tons of trash from waterways, provide assistance and hope to homeless families, supply warm meals and a helping hand to senior citizens, mentor juvenile offenders and recruit thousands of volunteers to expand the impact of these efforts."

AmeriCorps engages Americans of all ages in community-based service. In return for their year of service, AmeriCorps members receive an education award of $4,725 to help pay for college or pay back student loans.

AmeriCorps will be celebrating its fifth anniversary in conjunction with national "Make a Difference Day," which will be Saturday, October 23. To commemorate the event, the New Jersey Commission on National & Community Service, the New Jersey Department of Human Services and various AmeriCorps programs are sponsoring two service activities. Volunteers will participate in the revitalization of two community playgrounds in the Paterson and Trenton areas.

NOTE: A list of "Make a Difference Day activities in New Jersey is attached. Media coverage is both invited and strongly encouraged. For more information about these events, contact Rowena Madden at 609-633-9627.