What's red and white and helps Texans all over? No, not a can of Lone Star – we're talking about AmeriCorps Texas, the state branch of the federal AmeriCorps program that is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Launched by aide to Governor Ann Richards (and later, Austin City Council member) Randi Shade and now administered by OneStar Foundation, AmeriCorps Texas does everything from coordinating literacy services to taking care of the homeless in Austin. In 2011 and '12, they joined forces with local nonprofits and communities in Bastrop to help reopen the State Park there after the worst wildfires in Texas history shut it down. To put it simply, these guys are animals for civic service. Since 1994, more than 800,000 mostly young individuals have served as AmeriCorps members and have dedicated more than 1 billion hours of service (so much for generation "me"). In Texas, 45,000 have served a total of 59 million hours. Feel like doing a little New Deal-style public work? Give these guys a ring. We're sure they'll find something for you.
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