Imagine the enormous difference it would make to our communities and nation if every American served for a year with a community-service group, nonprofit enterprise or faith-based organization.
This month we're introducing in the Senate the Serve America Act, which provides funding and incentives for service programs, so that as many people as possible can serve at any or every stage of their lives. We want to make it feasible for many to devote a year or more to service. We've already seen lives change as Americans give their time and talents to service organizations. But we know much more could be done. It's time to encourage many more Americans to roll up their sleeves and volunteer in communities at home and abroad. Americans across the nation are beginning to answer this call, devoting one year or more to volunteer service and, in the process, changing the world.
They are weatherizing homes and increasing energy conservation. They are improving health care in low-income communities. They are enabling people throughout the world to have cleaner water and lifesaving vaccines. They are helping communities rebuild after the devastation of hurricanes and floods. Some of the most remarkable efforts are taking place in our schools. Citizen Schools enables people to spend time leading after-school programs to extend the school day, so students have more time to learn and can interact with professionals who will help them connect their learning to a future profession. City Year brings talented, motivated young AmeriCorps members into schools to tutor and mentor at-risk students and show them that someone cares. There are other examples but not nearly enough. It's time to do more.
For those who can't give a year to service, we should create incentives for part-time or short-term service in their communities. We should support states and communities and social entrepreneurs who are developing innovative approaches to help those in need.
And for those who can give a year or more, the time has come to help them do so. The challenges we face are too great. We've already waited too long to tap their amazing energy, ingenuity and commitment.
Senator Kennedy of Massachusetts and Senator Hatch of Utah are collaborating on a national-service bill