Today the First Lady of the United States and Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation of National and Community Service, launched the summer phase of the President and First’s Lady call to service, United We Serve: Let’s Read. Let’s Move. This summer our goal is to find opportunities for Americans to use service as a tool to promote physical activity, healthy eating and to prevent losing academic ground during the summer. This call to service will encourage Americans to help fight something called the “summer reading gap” - where kids who don’t read during the summer can lose months of educational progress - and childhood obesity. It will culminate the week of September 6, 2010 through September 11, 2010. The Serve America Act, passed with broad bipartisan support last year, made September 11th a National Day of Service and Remembrance.
This year, in building off the First Lady’s Let’s Move Initiative, we are encouraging organizations and communities to participate through ten easy projects, including building and rehabbing playgrounds, clearing walking trails, holding community sports tournaments, and many others. These project ideas and helpful resources will be posted at Serve.gov.
And in her remarks, the First Lady emphasized your role in making this summer a success:
“We’ll be asking individuals and community organizations, corporations, foundations and government to come together and devote their time and energy to helping folks in need… The idea here is very simple: and that’s to do everything we can to help our kids stay active and healthy – and to keep them learning – all summer long.”- First Lady Michelle Obama.
Additionally, this year’s initiative will be highlighting the importance of getting kids to read during the summer, led by the Department of Education last year. Our goal this summer is to connect citizens from diverse communities, backgrounds, and perspectives, providing easily accessible service opportunities to fit their needs, and engage them in service that can lead to a lifetime of participation.
United We Serve is a nationwide initiative to create a sustained, collaborative, and focused effort to utilize service as a solution to the most difficult challenges facing our communities and to make service a way of life for all Americans. The online home of United We Serve is Serve.gov, so head there to sign up and find the organization that makes the most sense for you. While we are encouraging people to get involved in Let’s Read, Let’s Move oriented projects, any impactful service in your communities that addresses the pressing challenge is encouraged, so if there are other opportunities for service, get involved in whatever way you can.
It is now time to get organized and find your community’s way to be a part of United We Serve. Go to Serve.gov to post this summer’s volunteer opportunities in your community. Also, don’t forget to stay tuned for the 2010 National Conference on Volunteering and Service, in New York City, June 28-30, 2010.
Sonal Shah is the Director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation