California will join the eighth nationwide celebration of AmeriCorps Week — March 9 to 17 — which spotlights the work done by AmeriCorps members in communities across the state since the national service program began 21 years ago.

Applications for individuals wishing to take part in the AmeriCorps program, often referred to as the domestic Peace Corps, are being accepted for the 2013-14 academic school year. Detailed information about the program and applications are available on the website at www.americorpstutors.org.

More than 7,500 AmeriCorps members are serving in California this year, helping students learn to read, mentoring at-risk youth, providing health services, building homes for low-income families, and helping nonprofits recruit more volunteers and better achieve their mission. National service programs have become a key method in the effort to meet local community needs directly connected to priority national issues.

In Santa Barbara County, AmeriCorps members help young people read and succeed in school. As literacy tutors, they help below-proficiency readers in grades K-8 at 18 schools throughout the county. Members also help schools and non-profit organizations recruit community volunteers to meet the educational needs of youth.

“Especially in these times of serious challenges to school budgets, the Santa Barbara County Education Office is pleased to operate a local chapter of AmeriCorps, now in its 12th year locally, to help support students,” said county Superintendent Bill Cirone, whose office coordinates the program countywide. “Our AmeriCorps members have helped many local schools advance the literacy of their students, and AmeriCorps Week is a perfect opportunity to recognize the great work they do.”

To mark AmeriCorps Week, many events will enable community residents to learn about and participate in AmeriCorps programs, including a member recruitment drive in Santa Barbara County.

For further information, contact Tom Spadoro, Santa Barbara County Education Office, at 964-4710, ext. 4405.

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