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Latest News: National Service News

AmeriCorps Kicks Off Second Annual Video Contest

Friday, March 07, 2008  
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Lights, Camera, AmeriCorps!
 AmeriCorps Kicks Off Second Annual Video Contest;

Grand Prize is $5,000 Travelocity Volunteer Vacation

Washington, D.C. -- AmeriCorps is turning to its far-flung network of members and alums for help in recruiting the next class of AmeriCorps members by hosting its second YouTube-style video contest for the 2008 AmeriCorps Week.

The contest, which runs through May 2, asks participants to create a 60 second spot answering the question “Why AmeriCorps?”  Entries can address topics such as how AmeriCorps tackles some of America’s biggest challenges; what AmeriCorps means to you; and why someone should join AmeriCorps. 

The grand prize is a volunteer vacation worth up to $5,000 courtesy of Travelocity® through its Travel For GoodSM Change Ambassadors program.  Second prize is an iPod Shuffle, and third prize is an AmeriCorps Alums Prize Pack, both courtesy of AmeriCorps Alums.  The five semifinalists will receive a free one-year membership from AmeriCorps Alums.

“AmeriCorps is a transforming experience, and no one can tell the AmeriCorps story better than those who serve,” said AmeriCorps Director Kristin McSwain.  “We’re asking members and alums to grab a video camera, come up with an idea, and show us what AmeriCorps means to you and the community you serve.”

Last year’s 39 contest entries were viewed more than 69,000 times. Some videos tugged at the heartstrings, others tickled the funny bone, but all conveyed an important message about service.  AmeriCorps’ parent agency, the Corporation for National and Community Service, is using last year’s winners in an upcoming AmeriCorps recruitment PSA campaign to be rolled out to thousands of TV stations this spring.

The contest is limited to current AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps alums who have successfully completed their service.  A panel of judges will select five semifinalists by May 9.  The semifinalist entries will then be available for viewing and voting on the AmeriCorps video contest website during AmeriCorps Week from May 11-18.  The top three videos will be unveiled at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service taking place June 1-3 in Atlanta

This year’s grand prize is a Travelocity volunteer vacation through its Travel For Good’s Change Ambassadors program.  This generous donation will allow the contest winner and a guest to select from dozens of trips offered by Travelocity’s designated volunteer travel provider partners, including helping endangered sea turtles in Costa Rica, taking an Amazon riverboat exploration, or helping health professionals in rural villages near Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Stories of past volunteer vacations can be found at Travelocity’s website

“Whether in your own neighborhood or across the globe, we believe in the power of people to make positive change,” said Dan Toporek, Travelocity’s Vice President for Public Relations.  “AmeriCorps members are powerful change ambassadors, and Travelocity is delighted to team up with AmeriCorps to shine the spotlight on service and encourage more people to embark on their own service journey.” 

The video contest is part of AmeriCorps Week, a national recognition and recruitment event taking place May 11-18 aimed at engaging more Americans in service, saluting AmeriCorps members and alums for their impact, and thanking the partners that make AmeriCorps possible.  Last year’s inaugural AmeriCorps Week featured 200 events in all 50 states, a resolution passed by U.S. House of Representatives, proclamations from 23 Governors, and a White House ceremony with President Bush.  Information on this year’s AmeriCorps Week is at

The video contest is the latest step by the Corporation for National and Community Service to embrace new media and Web 2.0 strategies to support recruitment and other programmatic goals.  Other recent tools include a blog by an AmeriCorps NCCC team; RSS feeds;  “in-their-own-words” videos; stories of service, and the AmeriCorps eCommunity

AmeriCorps engages 75,000 people each year in intensive, results-driven service through more than 2,000 nonprofits across the country.  Among other activities, members tutor and mentor youth, build affordable housing, teach computer skills, clean parks and streams, run after-school programs, help communities respond to disasters, and recruit and train volunteers.  Since 1994, more than 500,000 men and women have served in AmeriCorps.  Interested individuals can learn about available opportunities and apply online by visiting


AmeriCorps is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, which also oversees Senior Corps and Learn and Serve America.  The Corporation improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering.  For more information, visit

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