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Elementary and Primary Education
Harris County Department of Education
News Release
Friday, September 12, 2014

Harris County Department of Education’s CASE for Kids hosts local AmeriCorps swearing-in Sept. 12 to unite in nationwide celebration of AmeriCorps 20th anniversary

Harris County Department of Education’s CASE for Kids hosts a local swearing-in ceremony 9:30-11:30 a.m. on Sept. 12 at 6300 Irvington to welcome 2014-2015 Houston-area AmeriCorps members. The ceremony celebrates members from Project Grad Houston, Houston Center for Literacy, CASE for Kids and other area AmeriCorps programs. Members will pledge to “get things done for America” as part of simultaneous statewide and nationwide ceremonies to mark AmeriCorps’ 20th anniversary. The Houston AmeriCorps Alum Chapter will also support the event.

“We are proud to celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments of Houston’s AmeriCorps members in tandem with the AmeriCorps 20th anniversary,” said Lisa Thompson-Caruthers, CASE for Kids director. "I am thrilled to welcome this new class as they embark on a year of service for greater impact and growth for their communities. Later on in the day, our members will be participating in a back-to-school service project with other local AmeriCorps members.”

The event at Harris County Department of Education takes place in tandem with a statewide event based in Austin, Texas and hosted by OneStar Foundation that features prominent spokespeople. Speakers include Mark Updegrove (LBJ Presidential Library director); Randi Shade (founding executive director, Texas Commission on Volunteering & Community Service/former Austin City Council member); Rosie Mauk (former director of AmeriCorps); and video messages from champions such as Dan Rather, Neil Bush and Gov. Rick Perry.

Both events will be held simultaneously alongside a nationwide AmeriCorps event led by President Obama. Obama will give remarks to AmeriCorps members at the White House, which will be live-streamed by the Corporation for National and Community Service in Washington, D.C.  The event celebrates 20 years of inspiring Americans to be involved in what is the country’s best example of civic engagement, collaboration and problem solving. Additional pledge ceremonies will also be taking place simultaneously from coast to coast, launching a new service year for 75,000 AmeriCorps members.  

“Here at OneStar Foundation, we are so proud of the 4,500 AmeriCorps members serving across the State of Texas this year through AmeriCorps State and National, Volunteers In Service to America (VISTA), and National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC),” said Elizabeth Darling, president and CEO of OneStar Foundation. “The good that these AmeriCorps members do for their communities exceeds 2.5 million hours of service per year, and we’re looking forward to swearing in this new class of AmeriCorps members as they take the AmeriCorps Pledge to embark on their year of service.”

AmeriCorps’ Role in Texas:
Since 1994, more than 46,265 Texas residents have served in AmeriCorps, providing more than 61,114,400 hours of service. They have earned education scholarships totaling more than $129,885,900 to help pay for college or pay back student loans.

Whether through mentoring students so they can stay on grade level or helping young people gain access to post-secondary education, AmeriCorps members have made a difference in the lives of Texas youth. AmeriCorps is making a significant contribution to Texans’ quality of life. 

In Houston, Harris County Department of Education’s CASE AmeriCorps alum Angela Spencer says her AmeriCorps experience with children in Houston afterschool forever changed her life and inevitably, her career path. “Having experience in capacity building and community development through AmeriCorps has provided an invaluable benefit as I start my graduate studies at the University of Texas School of Public Health,” she said.

Photo: AmeriCorps members from the Center for Afterschool, Summer and Expanded Learning, or CASE for Kids, are inducted at Harris County Department of Education during a May 2014 board of trustees meeting. Members work in after-school programs with students and are engaged in community service projects in greater Houston. For more information about opportunities, go to www.afterschoolzone.org .

About the Center for Afterschool, Summer and Expanded Learning (CASE) for Kids: CASE for Kids, formerly the Cooperative for After-School Enrichment, was launched by Harris County Department of Education in 1999. CASE for Kids is an after-school intermediary which leverages community resources and strengthens the capacity of the out-of-school time field. Services benefit approximately 11,000 kids in greater Harris County. CASE for Kids programs happen before and after school, on weekends and during the summer. Go to www.afterschoolzone.org for information.

About Harris County Department of Education: HCDE provides education services to the general public and 25 school districts throughout Harris County and beyond. Services include adult education, programs to promote safe schools, after-school programs, therapy services, professional development for educators, special schools, alternative certification for principals and teachers, Early Childhood Intervention and Head Start programs. We offer purchasing procurement, grant development, program research and evaluation, records management, and school finance support. Since 1889, our services continue to evolve to meet the needs of our education public. Visit us at www.hcde-texas.org .

About OneStar Foundation: OneStar Foundation was created to support the State of Texas by strengthening the nonprofit sector, encouraging civic engagement through service and volunteering, promoting innovative strategies to address local issues and facilitating public-private partnerships to expand the reach of the sector.  For more information, visit onestarfoundation.org.

About AmeriCorps: Nationally, AmeriCorps members serve at more than 25,000 locations from coast to coast, strengthening education, providing disaster services, fostering economic opportunity, assisting veterans and military families, preserving the environment, and expanding health services.  While they serve others, AmeriCorps members expand opportunity for themselves - gaining skills, experience, and education support to help jumpstart their careers.  Since 1994, AmeriCorps members have earned more than $2.7 billion in education awards to help pay for college or repay their student loans. AmeriCorps is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, the Social Innovation Fund, and the Volunteer Generation Fund, and leads the President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov. 





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