Why do Americans serve? Three prerequisites for civic engagement:
A generation eager to engage
Why do Americans serve? To solve big problems Americans believe that individuals can make a difference in solving big problems related to: poverty, education, health needs, the environment, homelessness, immigration, economic and racial inequality, the economic crisis. Americans believe these problems can’t be solved by one sector alone: not government, not the private sector, not the NGO sector acting on its own.
Compassion surge: tradition of helping neighbors when in need.
Why do Americans serve? To solve big problems City Year lowers high school dropout rates City Year inspired the creation of a national service program, AmeriCorps. City Year has adapted its mission to meet serious problems and demonstrate impact. Volunteers reduce high school dropout rates through mentoring and tutoring.
In 2010, 90% of all students tutored by City Year improved their literacy scores.
Why do Americans serve? Inspired leadership “ Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961
Why do Americans serve? Presidential leadership In 1965, President Johnson launches Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA).
In 1993, President Clinton establishes the Corporation for National and Community Service to house VISTA and the new AmeriCorps program.
Why do Americans serve? Corporation for National and Community Service The Corporation for National and Community Service provides Americans with opportunities to solve the problems of their communities. It empowers communities by supporting volunteer organizations through grants, training, and technical assistance.
The CNCS links volunteers and volunteer organizations through Serve.gov.
Why do Americans serve? “I will make service a cause of my presidency.” Senator Barack Obama President-Elect Obama and family spent Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2009 working at a homeless shelter for teens.
In April 2009, President Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, tripling AmeriCorps by 2017.
Why do Americans serve? “ Solutions to America’s problems are being developed every day at the grass roots—and government shouldn’t be supplanting those efforts, it should be supporting those efforts.”
-President Barack Obama, June 30, 2009
Why do Americans serve? Local leadership. Local leaders, Republicans and Democrats, recognize the value of volunteerism in their communities. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg founded Cities of Service to harness the work of volunteers to meet the needs of their cities.
Cities of Service now includes over 100 mayors and their cities.
Why do Americans serve? Willing generations
Each generation of Americans mobilizes to meet the greatest challenges of their era through service.
Why do Americans serve? Millennial Generation Makes a Difference “ They have become a generation of activists possessed with that most American of ideas—that people who love their country can change it.” – President Barack Obama
The “Millennial Generation” is leading the way in forming a service culture. They’ve grown up in an era of big problems, and they want to solve them.
What works? Service learning Maryland was the first state to require community service credits for high school graduation. Service-learning requirements are becoming common at city and district levels. Chicago requires sophomores to have served 20 hours before they are promoted and 40 hours before graduation.
CNCS supports service learning through Learn and Serve America.
What works? Faith-based volunteering. 34% of Americans volunteer through religious organizations. This is especially true of older Americans and minorities. Volunteers through faith-based organizations are more likely to keep serving.
Non-profits benefit by partnering with faith-based organizations.
What works? Corporate support: Timberland City Year approached The Timberland Company in 1989 to provide 50 pairs of boots for their volunteers. Timberland designed the red jackets that are now the symbol of City Year.
Timberland gives staff the benefit of 40 paid hours per year for community service.
What works? Support volunteers and organizations: Hands On Network Hands On Network is the largest volunteer network in the nation with more than 250 HandsOn Action Centers. Supports non-profit development, provides orientation for volunteers and links volunteers to opportunities for flexible volunteering or skilled volunteering.
Encourages companies to find sponsorship opportunities and get their employees involved in volunteering.
What works? A multi-faceted approach: Habitat for Humanity Founded in 1976 to build affordable homes for low-income families. Building materials are almost entirely supplied by corporate donors, providing 22% of income. Collegiate Challenge gets students to donate their spring break to building Habitat homes. President Jimmy Carter
Works on rehabilitating housing in neighborhoods and using green building techniques.
What works? Preparing for and Responding to Disasters Volunteers can play an enormously important role when they are well coordinated. Volunteer organizations can support government disaster organizations, such as FEMA, in relief efforts.
Preparation counts: disaster readiness teams, strong relationships with local government, and emergency plans
What’s happening in Spain? A growing commitment to volunteerism. Strong government involvement with regional volunteer coordinators. Strong volunteer and non-profit resources such as Plataforma del Voluntariado.
New local initiatives such as the Oficina de Innovación Social in Madrid
What’s happening in Spain? A growing commitment to volunteerism. Empieza por Educar: Inspired by Teach for America
Corporate volunteering: 80% of Alcoa Spain’s employees volunteer, and Alcoa donates $3000 to each NGO they work with.
What is U.S. Embassy Madrid doing? Sharing best practices through speakers, outreach, exchange programs and conferences Support service learning in schools
Volunteers in Action help solve problems through Embassy volunteering
Lessons Learned: Engaging Youth Service-learning and service graduation requirements instill an ethic of service Alternative spring breaks mobilize students Campus-wide service days at universities and schools
“ Commencement challenge”
Lessons Learned: Engaging Business and Government Corporate volunteering, company-wide service days and skill-based volunteering Supporting government initiatives through volunteer resources
Research to quantify the benefits of volunteer service
Lessons Learned: Bringing People Together Local and national service days to commemorate events or people unite communities and promote volunteer opportunities
Engaging a variety of actors to unite around the same goal
“ Economic recovery is as much about what you’re doing in your communities as what we’re doing in Washington –and it’s going to take all of us, working together.” President Barack Obama, June 17, 2009