C. D. Book

Are You A Volunteer?

In Economy, People, Politics on May 7, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Candidate Obama made several pleas for Americans to commit to public service here, here and here. 

The president signed the The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act , H.R.1388 on April 21, 2009:

The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act (formally the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act) authorizes a dramatic funding increase for AmeriCorps and other volunteer programs, and the creation of new programs for seniors and veterans. It establishes a goal of expanding from 75,000 government-supported volunteers to 250,000, and would increase education funding and establish a summer volunteer program for students, paying $500 (which would be applied to college costs) to high-school and middle-school student who participate.

Here is a fact sheet concerning the act from the Corporation for National and Community Service including implementation progress. Here you can view volunteer activity by state (2009 is the latest year that statistics are available).

With all that has happened in the world recently we haven’t paid sufficient attention to the value of volunteerism in our society. A related article suggesting the interesting premise that all of us are an “army of altruists” can and should be read here. Individuals who can’t “afford” to volunteer don’t necessarily not want to volunteer: they are too busy trying to survive on a daily basis.

Imagine if young people were required to participate in a national public service program. In return for their service they would receive funds towards college, or  technical and vocational skills courses. I’ve heard the right-wing nuts say that a public service requirement would be akin to a “Hitler Youth” organization. However I’m not talking ideology but service to mankind and the earth. There should be absolutely zero resistance to a program that exists to help others and those that participate. Empathy would be fostered and those that “graduate” from the program , having experienced the feeling of accomplishment that comes with helping others, may go on to change the current political climate that exists to enrich the ones who are already rich and calls for “shared sacrifice” from everyone else.

What do you think?

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