This is an extraordinary moment in time. As Americans, we have a unique opportunity to come together and solve our nation's most vexing problems. In this spirit, President Obama is announcing a nationwide service initiative, the beginning of a sustained, collaborative and focused effort to meet community needs and make service a way of life for all Americans – United We Serve. You can watch the President's remarks online.
In addition, on June 22, First Lady Michelle Obama will launch the national campaign. That same day, President Obama's Cabinet secretaries will travel across the country to lead service efforts throughout the nation and highlight organizations that will be participating in this initiative. The service initiative will conclude with a National Day of Service on Sept. 11, 2009. This National Day of Service offers a chance to both celebrate the service to our country over the previous two and a half months and to honor the Americans who died on Sept. 11, 2001 by recommitting to serve in the future. Governor Culver will officially kick off this service initiative during a press conference in Iowa City on June 19.
The goals of the Summer of Service initiative are three-fold:
- Bolster civic engagement in Iowa by connecting people from all walks of life with service opportunities and empowering them to develop their own opportunities to address unmet needs.
- Better our communities in four national priority issue areas: energy and the environment; education; health care; and, community renewal.
- Develop creative partnerships with nonprofit organizations, faith-based groups, issue groups, labor unions, educational institutions, businesses, corporations, foundations and all levels of government.
Purpose: A New Call to Service
The service initiative will take traditional calls to service further by:
- Putting volunteers on a path to sustained service.
- Asking volunteers to step up and become volunteer organizers by identifying unmet needs in their community, developing their own service projects, and engaging others who are interested in the same issue.
- Providing easy-to-use tools for volunteers to develop their own service projects, set outcome-oriented goals and track their community impact.
- Developing creative partnerships with a broad and diverse group of stakeholders.
The Challenge: Help Needed, Capacity Stretched
At a time when volunteers' help is most needed, the capacity of traditional service organizations to absorb volunteers has been stretched thin. To help meet growing social needs resulting from the economic downturn, the service initiative aims to both engage new volunteers in expanding the impact of existing organizations and to encourage "do-it-yourself" projects.
The service initiative - spanning 81 days, or just under 12 weeks - will officially kick off June 22 at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. Now is the time for organizations to post opportunities and prepare to absorb new volunteers or plan new projects. Organizations should register for an account, which will enable them to post volunteer opportunities on the new volunteeriowa.org portal or through their local volunteer center or United Way system. Those volunteer opportunities will automatically appear on the new national portal, serve.gov.
Governor Culver will promote volunteeriowa.org, which will provide additional state specific tools such as disaster volunteer registration, volunteer event promotion and other volunteer management tools. Information disseminated in the national pushes will ask you to register volunteer opportunities at www.serve.gov. However, if your organization is located in Iowa, we ask that you register them with either your local volunteer center or United Way system. It is extremely important to keep the opportunity postings up to date. Even though the systems are all connected, those postings are maintained by the system of original entry. Keeping systems and volunteer opportunities accurate and providing technical assistance is best performed locally so it is important to use the system closest to you. If you do not have a local volunteer center or United Way with a web-based volunteer referral system, you can post your volunteer opportunities at www.volunteeriowa.org — just click on the "Post an Opportunity" button to get started.
The service initiative will culminate with a National Day of Service and Remembrance on Sept. 11, 2009, which will provide an opportunity to recognize the summer's accomplishments, honor those who died on Sept. 11, 2001, by serving in their memory, and encourage Americans to make an ongoing commitment to service.
What YOU can do:
● PLAN a project ● JOIN a project ● POST your project ●
Get more information, register, find a project,
or download a toolkit to help design your own project
by using the Summer of Service buttons at: