EDUCATION

Celebrate AmeriCorps Week: Submit Your Photos!

03/14/2012 01:57 pm ET

When President Bill Clinton swore in the first class of AmeriCorps members in 1994, he asked them to reflect on the power of service:

Service is a spark to rekindle the spirit of democracy in an age of uncertainty. When it is all said and done, it comes down to three simple questions: What is right? What is wrong? And what are we going to do about it?

AmeriCorps has evolved into a federally funded organization that places about 80,000 volunteers in underserved communities each year to tackle issues such economic inequity, education and environmental concerns.

The theme for this year's AmeriCorps Week 2012, spanning from March 10 through March 18, is "AmeriCorps Works," focusing on honoring service efforts and connecting members and alumni with one another.

This year's celebration, however, occurs amid recent struggles for the service organization. Since the economic downturn, AmeriCorps has seen an increase in the number of applicants. Its various programs received 582,000 volunteer applications in 2011, up from 360,000 in 2009.

The organization hopes to expand, but for now, AmeriCorps can't afford to meet the demand for volunteer positions.

"People are raising their hands and saying, 'I want to tackle the biggest challenges in our country today,'" AmeriCorps director John Gommperts told The Huffington Post. "It's hard not to have an opportunity for them."

To celebrate AmeriCorps Week this year, set up a volunteer event and register it through AmeriCorps, or find an event already set up, through its website.

The org is also encouraging past and current volunteers to tweet about their experiences @AmeriCorps, using the hashtag #AmeriCorpsWeek.

If you're a past or present AmeriCorps volunteer, submit your photos to the slideshow below!

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