Do-It-Yourself Ideas for United We Serve

07/25/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Okay, so we've established that President Obama wants us to serve. The United We Serve initiative is an unprecedented call to the American people to do more for others than for themselves.

But, exactly what are you supposed to do? Michelle Obama stresses the importance of do-it-yourself service projects, geared toward making Americans more helpful of their own making and less dependent on the government. (Hey, that's something even Republicans can get behind!)

Here are several ideas, fresh from the brain of Jonathan, that you can do to get started in your community:

Organize a canned food drive at work. Obviously, canned food isn't the most nutritious of foods, but some in our society don't have the luxury of choice when it comes to eating. Any number of food banks in your area would love the extra contributions.

Join local teachers in protesting budget cuts. Though nobody can argue that local governments are in peril, schools are the last place that should be feeling the pinch. Take inspiration from your teacher friends and get people together. Write letters to your representative and form peaceful demonstrations at city hall.

Film a documentary about a local subject. Use your creativity and tell an oft-ignored story about something in your community. Maybe there's a family struggling to make ends meet or an elderly man who's lost his job after 40 years. The White House is looking to you to aid in America's economic recovery and community renewal, and creating art about our society can reach more people than you might realize, especially in the age of the Internet.

You can see this isn't rocket science. Barack and Michelle Obama may have more experience in public service than most of us, but you already have all the necessary tools at your disposal to start your projects. If you need a few ideas, start with Causecast's Guide to DIY Service Projects and go from there.

You do have everything you need to enact change. Obama may be a rock star, but he can't make you do something if you aren't inspired to do it yourself. Feel that power and get out there and do it!