In 2011, AmeriCorps received a whopping 582,000 applications for just 82,000 positions. This is up from 536,000 in 2010 for 85,000 spots. That means that over two years, nearly 1 million Americans have been turned away from serving the country through AmeriCorps.
This is VERY sad to me. We definitely need more national service opportunities, and not just for young people who can afford to be paid small amounts. In the same way that any person who meets requirements can serve in the military, a qualified person should be able to contribute to making our country a better, more livable, more stable, healthier place through a government-supported program. The AmeriCorps model is strong, but the capacity needs to be increased tremendously. There is not a lack of need, and there is not a lack of demand, so why stifle the ability to do better for ourselves and the country?