TODAY: PRESIDENT CLINTON EXPANDS AMERICORPS AND ISSUES NATIONWIDE CALL TO SERVICE
At the Presidents' Summit for America's Future, President Clinton announced new proposals to expand service and mutual responsibility nationwide:
President Clinton announced new AmeriCorps Challenge Scholarships -- asking charities, religious groups, and community groups to enlist young people for a year of full-time service, and giving those young people AmeriCorps scholarships in return. If the private and non-profit sectors rise to this challenge, these scholarships would go to as many as 50,000 young people with money that is already in the President's balanced budget.
President Clinton challenged every state and every school system to offer young people the chance to serve -- to help teach them the responsibility of citizenship.
President Clinton announced new legislation to allow any young person with a college loan to take a year to serve without accruing additional interest on that loan.
President Clinton announced the expansion the Police Corps, to triple the number of young people who can earn four years of college by agreeing to serve at least four years as police officers, and challenged young people to become teachers where they are needed most -- in America's central cities.
In his speech this morning, President Clinton said that "The era of big government is over, but big challenges remain. We are here to proclaim: the era of big citizenship has begun."
The President issued a call to action to all Americans to serve our children, and to help teach them to serve -- not as a substitute for government, but to meet our major challenges as one community, working together.
The President emphasized that even with all the progress our nation has made -- 12 million new jobs, falling crime and welfare rolls -- we still face enormous challenges. But the toughest of these are challenges of the heart -- ones that must be faced person by person, neighbor by neighbor, community by community. That is why restoring an ethic of service and mutual responsibility is so important.