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blog no. 24:Obama’s Call to Serve

I think the election of Barack Obama will increase civil engagement by Americans. He has initiated a movement through inspirational speeches and promised legislation that will encourage Americans to become. Specifically by the year 2011 he plans to double the size of the Peace Corps from the currently 7,800 volunteers to 16,000 volunteers. I find this very encouraging because I think the Americans tend to live in a bubble without really traveling and experiencing different cultures first hand. His views are summed up in the following quotation from his speech at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa.

“It is an honor to be introduced by Harris Wofford – one of America’s greatest advocates for public service. Starting with the civil rights movement and the Peace Corps, Harris and a generation of Americans answered a call to service. At a pivotal moment in our history, they stood up; they changed America; and they changed the world….”

To restore America’s standing, I will call on our greatest resource – not our bombs, guns, or dollars – I will call upon our people. We will grow the Foreign Service to renew our commitment to diplomacy. We will double the size of the Peace Corps by its 50th anniversary in 2011. And we’ll reach out to other nations to engage their young people in similar programs, so that we work side by side to take on the common challenges that confront all humanity….”

The Peace Corps is not a non profit organization itself but in conjunction with AmeriCorps they have begun to partner with non profit organizations to promote philanthropy world wide. Increased funding and awareness given to Foreign Service will help to restore our image internationally and boast well for our future. Educating children in other languages in addition to English will also promote more worldly Americans.

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3 Responses to “blog no. 24:Obama’s Call to Serve”

  1. That’s very inspirational. Obama seems to be bringing out the best in people. Not only did this election increase the percentage of voters, especially the young, but now he is encouraging volunteerism. I think its quite an auspicious goal, maybe a bit too high, but I suppose its better aim for the stars and hit the moon rather than aim for the moon and miss altogether.

  2. I am excited about the changes that are hopefully coming for our country with the new president. I feel that some people may have expectations that are far beyond what he will be able to accomplish in just four years. I also believe he will motivate civil engagement and I feel it will be a step in the right direction for our country.

  3. Thank you for posting this. I think some of the things that Obama has planned for the nonprofit sector are very exciting, this is from Change.gov:

    Enable All Americans to Serve to Meet the Nation’s Challenges

    * Expand Corporation for National and Community Service: Expand AmeriCorps from 75,000 slots to 250,000 and focus this expansion on addressing the great challenges facing the nation — helping teachers and students in underserved schools; improving public health outreach; weatherizing homes and launching renewable energy projects; assisting veterans; and helping communities plan, prepare for and respond to emergencies.
    * Engage Retiring Americans in Service on a Large Scale: Expand and improve programs that connect individuals over the age of 55 to quality volunteer opportunities.
    * Expand the Peace Corps: Double the Peace Corps to 16,000 by 2011. Build an international network of overseas volunteers so that Americans work side-by-side with volunteers from other countries.
    * Show the World the Best Face of America: Set up an America’s Voice Initiative to deploy Americans who are fluent speakers of local languages for public diplomacy. Extend opportunities for older individuals such as teachers, engineers, and doctors to serve overseas.

    Integrate Service into Learning

    * Expand Service-Learning in Our Nation’s Schools: Set a goal that all middle and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year. Develop national guidelines for service learning and give schools better tools both to develop programs and to document student experience.
    * Expand Youth Programs: Create an energy-focused youth jobs program to provide disadvantaged youth with service opportunities weatherizing buildings and getting practical experience in fast-growing career fields. Expand the YouthBuild program to give 50,000 disadvantaged young people the chance to complete their high school education, learn valuable skills and build affordable housing in their communities.
    * Require 100 Hours of Service in College: Establish a new American Opportunity Tax Credit worth $4,000 a year in exchange for 100 hours of public service a year.
    * Promote College Serve-Study: Ensure that at least 25 percent of College Work-Study funds are used to support public service opportunities instead of jobs in dining halls and libraries.

    Invest in the Nonprofit Sector

    * Create a Social Investment Fund Network: Uuse federal seed money to leverage private sector funding to improve local innovation, test the impact of new ideas, and expand successful programs to scale.
    * Social Entrepreneurship Agency for Nonprofits: Create an agency within the Corporation for National and Community Service dedicated to building the capacity and effectiveness of the nonprofit sector.

    I think what is important to remember is that Obama is only one person. The most important thing he can do is inspire others to act. I hope that all this talk about “change” and “progress” will not just be relegated to “talk.” I hope that people can realize that change and progress are not spectator sports and that people need to be actively engaged in their communities and the world for anything positive to come out of this one man’s presidency. I have great hopes that all of America will rise to the many challenges that face us as a nation, both in terms of our current economic crisis and the possibility that our seat at the top of the world may be slowly disintegrating. We had an interesting discussion in one of my classes about “Can America deal with not being #1?” For so long we have been the sole powerhouse of the world both in terms of military and economic capabilities but that time might be fading quickly and we will have to adapt both our way of life and our worldview.


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