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Valley residents

October 21, 2001

pledge service

to AmeriCorps

during ceremony

By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

On the steps of the Imperial County Courthouse in El Centro on Friday, 119 people pledged the next year of their lives to community service in the annual AmeriCorps launch.

The Imperial County branch of the national AmeriCorps program grows by about 15 to 20 people each year and has reached its largest numbers yet.

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The 69 full-time and 50 part-time members will work with multiple organizations and school districts in the county during the next year.

In addition to helping the community, AmeriCorps members help themselves, Imperial County Superintendent of Schools John Anderson told the members and audience at Friday's ceremony.

"They learn skills they can carry with them (after their AmeriCorps tenure," Anderson said.

Yuri Melchor, 20, of Calexico, said she decided to join AmeriCorps because it's a good opportunity to meet people and good experience for her future teaching career.

Tutoring Imperial Valley students and providing recreational activities for youths as an AmeriCorps member will be good practice for when Melchor gets into the classroom as a teacher.

The members were sworn in by Imperial County Superior Court Judge James Harmon.

Members will begin their year with upcoming events during Red Ribbon Week and Make A Difference Day.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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