At a time of increasing social need and tight fiscal restraints across the country, we need more opportunities for service -- through programs like AmeriCorps or others -- to continue to foster the social entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
I had not graduated from college. I was not top of my class in high school. I had not played sports, volunteered, or done any "resume-building" extracurricular activities. All I had, and all I needed, was a desire to lead through service.
Last year, AmeriCorps received a record of more than 580,000 applications for just 80,000 positions. More than half a million people applied to join the program, not for financial gain, but because they were driven to make real community impact.
MLK recognized the importance of the right to knowledge, engagement, and access to healthy food. When FoodCorps asked its first class of service members what they believe in, the influence of MLK was reflected in their statements.
I am surprised that they did not happen in 2008 at the height of the financial collapse. We've known the root of this discontent for years, if not decades. It has to do with America's growing poverty and income inequality rates.
If you know young people who are currently without direction (or hope), then provide them a map. Let them know that America is a country that needs their unique energy, creativity, commitment and quest for purpose.
Politics is probably the last thing on the minds of those of us watching the news over the past week with mind-numbing images of a leveled Joplin, Missouri. And yet there is a political subtext to these scenes.
The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act greatly expanded national service. Who would have imagined that, just two years later, the House would pass a budget that erases this important element of Senator Kennedy's legacy.