For 20 years AmeriCorps has been impacting the lives of young students across the nation, and today the initiative celebrated the anniversary of its inception.

AmeriCorps has evolved over the past two decades from a program that used to offer help however it could to focusing on English language arts, or reading. It’s impact has been shown through studies.

“It shows students who are just shy of benchmark, if they don’t get that help, then they’re really going to fall and that gap is going to increase,” Matthew Bryce, an AmeriCorps member working with K thru 6th grades, said. “Jumping in and getting that help that they need, it really closes that gap and gets them to where they need to be.”

Byce has only been with AmeriCorps for a short time, but said it’s been fun and the people he works with in MARESA are like a close knit family. He said working with AmeriCorps is a lot of work, but it’s worth it.

“If you’re looking for a way to get involved in your community and you’re passionate about helping people, do it. It’s so rewarding. The experiences and the people that you meet out of this program, it’s huge; it’s amazing,” Byce said.

President Obama celebrated AmeriCorps alongside President Clinton on the White House south lawn this morning. Presidents George W. and George H.W. also commemorated the initiative.

If you would like to apply for the AmeriCorps 2014-’15 Program you can do so here.