The start of the 2008 National Learn & Serve Challenge is right around
the corner! We are just 10 days out from the first day of the Challenge,
and we have more than 100 activities registered and participation estimates
far surpass last year's 18,000 participants. At least eleven different
states have proclamations pending with their governor's and other state
The Challenge is also receiving national recognition. Kudos to all of
you who have written editorials, articles, and short blurbs for your own
organizations. The National Service-Learning Partnership was also able
to secure ad space in Youth Today and Ed Week, running September 15-October
With all of these exciting events going on, there are still things that
we can all do. Below are a few things that you can all do to make the
Challenge even more successful:
Don't forget to register your activity in the Accept the Challenge section
of the website (www.learnandservechallenge.org). We want your event to
Document your event in various form: video, editorial, writing an Op-Ed,
sending out a media advisory, writing a press release. Please see the
attached documents for press releases and media advisories. Don't forget
to send a copy to the National Service-Learning Partnership (email@example.com).
The National Service-Learning Partnership is sponsoring a media contest
(www.service-learningpartnership.org). Use the Challenge as a way to collect
video footage and pictures for the contest - there is a $500 prize for
each of the group winners!
Add the Challenge to your organization's website/newsletter. Widgets,
logos, and banners are all available on the website.
Join us in making this even more successful than last year's Challenge!
Director of Member Engagement
National Service-Learning Partnershipat the Academy for Educational Development
1875 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20009
Take the National Learn & Serve Challenge!
October 6-12, 2008
For more information visit www.learnandservechallenge.org
FYI—Please see details below about a bill that has been introduced
in the U.S. Senate as a key strategy for enacting recommendations and
ideas that were generated through ServiceNation, the
recent high-profile national initiative to promote and expand service
and volunteering (www.servicenation.org). One component of this bi-partisan
legislation (the “Serve America Act”) would provide awards
of $250,000-$1M directly to local partnerships (K-12, higher education,
and community-based organizations) to do the following:
“(1) provide increased high-quality service-learning opportunities
for in-school and out-of-school youth in high-need, low-income communities
as a strategy to retain and re-engage youth likely to drop out and youth
who have dropped out; (2) to encourage more individuals to engage in lifetimes
of service by teaching young people the value of service early in their
lives; and (3) to establish youth engagement zones with the goal of involving
all secondary school students served by a local educational agency in
service-learning to solve a specific community challenge, through a program
that can serve as a model for other communities.”
Please see below for details. If passed and fully appropriated, this
bill would provide $20M in its first year and up to $40M by its fourth
year for service-learning activities. There is a national effort underway
to get as many co-sponsors for the bill in the Senate as possible by September
26. Florida’s Senator Martinez has been identified as an important
potential co-sponsor. As a Learn & Serve America awardee, you and
your students can provide information to Senator Martinez about your service-learning
efforts and how the proposed Serve America Act could help to improve,
expand, and sustain them. As a private citizen, you can contact Senator
Martinez and express your wishes about this bill and whether or not you
would like him to support it.
Stay Informed • Be A Voice • Support National
Kennedy, Hatch Introduce National Service Legislation
On Friday, September 12th, Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Orrin Hatch
(R-UT) introduced S. 3487, The Serve America Act. A major legislative
initiative to expand and improve domestic and international service opportunities,
the bill will recruit Americans of all ages to do service work in health,
education, environmental protection and anti-poverty programs. Senator
Kennedy, Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee,
said in a statement, the “Serve America Act” will “connect
every generation through service, and enable them to help tackle a wide
range of national challenges, from the dropout crisis that plagues our
schools to the lack of health care in our neediest communities to the
energy and environmental crises that threatens our planet.” Senator
Hatch said, “By harnessing the talents and efforts of the American
people, faith-based groups and nonprofit organizations, we can empower
more people, improve more communities and tackle more of our nation’s
S. 3487 will expand opportunities for people to serve their communities
at every stage of life, from students and working adults to retirees.
The original cosponsors include both presidential candidates, Senators
John McCain (R-AZ) and Barack Obama (D-IL), as well as Senator Hillary
Clinton (D-NY), Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), and Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT).
The introduction of S. 3487 is the first step towards the passage of
a comprehensive national service reauthorization bill that will build
off the success of the existing national service programs. Programs like
AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and Learn and Serve America have not been reauthorized
in 15 years and legislation is needed to help strengthen and expand the
federally supported service initiatives, stimulate community volunteerism,
and increase accountability and efficiency within the administration of
the programs. S.3487 builds and expands the national service infrastructure
to further address critical community needs while developing civic competencies
in those who participate.
Last week’s ServiceNation event was historic for Volunteerism and
National Service! Beginning with President Bush’s renewed “Call
to Service” and ending with 108 national leaders and experts from
the service sector participating in a daylong Summit in New York City,
national service has never had a higher profile! Over 700 sector leaders
participated! The highlight of the week was a nationally televised forum
during which Senators John McCain and Barack Obama fielded questions about
their individual visions for service to America.
I was honored to take part in all of these events, both as a member of
the ServiceNation organizing committee and as a member of the President’s
Council on Service and Civic Participation. Alex Amparo was able to participate
as well as he played a key role in developing policies for volunteerism
in disaster work.
Some of the national leaders featured during the Summit were First Lady
Laura Bush; New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg; New York Governor David
Paterson; Caroline Kennedy; singer and dancer Usher; Alma Powell; Senators
Orrin Hatch, Hillary Clinton, and Chris Dodd; President of Carnegie Foundation
Vartan Gregorian; Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan; Secretary of the Interior
Dirk Kempthorne; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen;
AARP CEO Bill Novelli; News Commentator and advisor to four U.S. Presidents
David Gergen; Martin Luther King III; plus leaders from corporations like
Target, Deloitte, Home Depot, and General Electric. There was a significant
presence from higher education with presidents and other leaders in attendance
from Duke, Columbia, Tufts, Georgetown, Bentley, Tulane, and Harvard Universities,
just to name a few. Major players from the foundation community, such
as the Case Foundation, and all of the leaders in the Service Sector including
CNCS CEO David Eisner and Hands on Network CEO Michelle Nunn attended.
President George W. Bush, Former President George H.W. Bush, Former President
Bill Clinton, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger all made video appearances.
Some of the Big Ideas Raised and Major Commitments Made:
Announcement of the Kennedy-Hatch bill, called the Serve America Act,
to expand opportunities for people to serve at every stage of life both
domestically and internationally. This bill was introduced on Friday and
the first co-sponsors were Senators McCain and Obama.
Governor Schwarzenegger called for the next President to establish a Federal
Cabinet Secretary position for Service.
$250 Million pledged in Pro Bono service support from IBM, bringing to
$400 Million the total commitments toward the $1 Billion Pro Bono goal.
Establishment of a goal for 100 million Americans to serve.
Establishment of a goal for 1 million full and part-time participants
in National and Community Service per year by 2020.
Establishment of a Volunteer Rating System, an online system to allow
service participants to rate their experience.
Creation of a new America’s Civic Health Index, which gathers data
gauging how well Americans are connected to each other and their communities.
Communities and states would then be able to compare how they are doing
with the rest of the nation.
New financial commitments of well over $50 million from companies, colleges,
and foundations for volunteer and national service incentives and support.
Announcement of the National Day of Action on September 27, when thousands
of communities around the nation will mobilize volunteers to demonstrate
the impact that service can have on our society
These are just a few of the strategies for “becoming a Nation of
Service.” You will soon receive the full list of these strategies
with the rationale and implementation plans to support them.
The ServiceNation web site is filled with a full recap of the Summit
including photographs, taped coverage of the sessions, and even testimonials
sharing support for the movement. Take a look: www.servicenation.org
Two of the five key organizers of ServiceNation will be with us at our
Commission meeting in Miami on September 25-26. City Year CEO and co-founder
Michael Brown and City Year Vice President AnnMaura Connolly will share
details of City Year Miami at our Thursday evening dinner. They also will
tell us the latest news on the progress of ServiceNation.
National service has never generated more excitement. We all are fortunate
to be a part of this important movement right now!
Chief Executive Officer
Governor's Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service -Volunteer