SEPTEMBER 24, 1999 


Good morning.  We’re here today to “celebrate” the successes of volunteer service in Kentucky.  Through the AmeriCorps and the AmeriCorps VISTA programs volunteers have made a tremendous impact on the people they serve.  Since 1994, over 1,500 Kentuckians have volunteered their time and service to programs that help others achieve a better quality of life. 

For example the AmeriCorps Appalachian Self-Sufficiency Program provides one-on-one mentoring to welfare recipients, preparing them with the life skills they need to leave the welfare system and compete in the workforce.

Other programs such as the Morehead State University Corps and the Kentucky State University Reading and Service Consortium, improve educational success for high-risk students.  It’s very important for our institutions of higher learning to participate in service oriented programs.  With this approach, Kentucky can raise its academic status, and allow our children to lead productive lives.

Kentucky is known as a service oriented state. In 1965, we were the first state to have VISTA placements. The program has demonstrated over 35 years of successful service in our Commonwealth.

 I want to compliment the Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service agency for their hard work and success in securing funding for service programs.  In the first year of the AmeriCorps Programs, funding totaled $1.1 million dollars for programs focusing on homelessness and housing, public safety, mentoring and tutoring, and service-learning.  5 programs were put into place with only 96 volunteers.

 By the end of its first year AmeriCorps volunteers had increased to 18,000 with services provided in over 30 counties.  Today the commission oversees 9 AmeriCorps programs, and continues to make tremendous progress in helping to develop and sustain initiatives that meet the needs of Kentucky.

 As I look at our new recruits, I ‘m very proud of your commitment and dedication in serving our state.  This day truly demonstrates that the heart of Kentucky is neighbors helping neighbors.  I know you’ll develop the leadership skills that’ll empower you with confidence to continue your great work.  The Commonwealth expects great things from you.  Your service to Kentucky will help improve the quality of life for its citizens.  Congratulations and much continued success.