FoodCorps Iowa members joined with other AmeriCorps members and alumni across the state to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of AmeriCorps at the Iowa State Capitol on Friday afternoon.
Hosted by State Representative Kevin Koester, the ceremony began with a video salute from President George W. Bush and his wife Laura, followed by a message from President Bill Clinton, who signed the AmeriCorps program into law during his first term of presidency. AmeriCorps alumni Katie Pypes and Joe Hutter followed the video, identifying how the program had motivated them to make an impact in their communities.
Additional guest speakers included Adam Lounsbury, Executive Director of the Iowa Commission of Volunteer Service; Jancy Follette, Iowa State Specialist at the Corporation for National and Community Service; and Dan Milnes, the North Central Regional Director for the National Civilian Conservation Corps, who honored members for their service and celebrated the 1,360 AmeriCorps members who will be serving across Iowa this year.
Remarks followed from staffers of Congressman Loebsack and Senator Harkin’s offices. Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds then took the podium to lead the swearing-in of new AmeriCorps members and to recognize how the program fits into Iowa’s “extremely rich history of service.” The Lieutenant Governor also played a video message from Governor Terry Branstad, who stated how “service is a powerful tool to meet our most pressing challenges.” Lieutenant Governor Reynolds read the proclamation from the Governor establishing September 12, 2014 as “AmeriCorps Day” in honor of the program’s twenty years.
The ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol was just one of many that were held all across the country to honor the 20th Anniversary of AmeriCorps, including one with President Barack Obama and President Bill Clinton held on the White House’s South Lawn.
Des Moines FoodCorps service members Chelsea Krist and Amy Joens attended the Iowa AmeriCorps celebration along with Iowa FoodCorps Fellow Marlie Wilson and Ann Robinson, Director of the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s (NCAT) Midwest Office.
NCAT administers FoodCorps in Iowa. NCAT is a non-profit organization helping people by championing small-scale, local, and sustainable solutions to reduce poverty, promote healthy communities, and protect natural resources. Part of the AmeriCorps network, FoodCorps is a national non-profit organization that teaches kids about real food and how to grow up healthy. NCAT collaborates with five partners around Iowa to guide nine FoodCorps members in teaching hands-on nutrition education, maintaining school gardens, and connecting local farmers to the school cafeteria.