California will join the second nationwide celebration of AmeriCorps Week, which starts Sunday and spotlights the vital work done by AmeriCorps members in communities across California since the national service program began 15 years ago.

More than 4,000 AmeriCorps members are serving in California this year, helping students learn to read, mentoring at-risk youths, providing health services, building homes for low-income families, and helping nonprofits recruit more volunteers and better achieve their missions.

In Santa Barbara County, AmeriCorps members help young people read and succeed in school. As literacy tutors, they help low-level readers in kindergarten through ninth grade at 20 schools throughout the county. Members also help with volunteer recruitment and disaster preparedness.

“The Santa Barbara County Education Office is extremely proud to operate a local chapter of AmeriCorps over the last seven years,” said County Superintendent Bill Cirone, whose office coordinates the program across Santa Barbara County.


Bill Cirone

“Our AmeriCorps members have made a significant impact on the ability of so many local schools to address the literacy needs of their students, and AmeriCorps Week is a perfect opportunity to recognize their great work.”

To mark AmeriCorps Week, Sunday through May 18, a number of events are happening around the state, including a local community outreach drive in Santa Barbara County. These events will allow community residents to learn about and participate in AmeriCorps programs.

Applications for individuals wishing to take part in the AmeriCorps program, often referred to as the domestic Peace Corps, are now being accepted for the 2008-09 school year, which begins in August. Detailed information about the opportunity, applications and reference forms are available at For further information, call Tom Spadoro at the Santa Barbara County Education Office at 805.964.4710, ext. 4405.

Wendy Shelton is a Santa Barbara County Education Office employee.