On Tuesday, President Obama will meet with former president Bill Clinton and Sen. Ted Kennedy in the Oval Office to talk volunteerism, after which the trio will travel to a public boarding school in Southeast Washington, where Obama will sign the Serve America Act, a bill to increase the number of service opportunities -- such as jobs with AmeriCorps -- supported by the federal government.
After signing the bill, the president and First Lady Michelle Obama "will participate in a service activity in Washington, D.C.," according to the White House.
During his campaign Obama pledged to boost volunteerism, saying his predecessor squandered an opportunity after 9/11 to tap public eagerness to serve. Service is a significant part of the platform of Organizing for America, the grassroots advocacy network that grew out of Obama's campaign machine.
It could be that there is a latent groundswell of volunteers ready to be tapped for service. Several volunteer coordinators told the Huffington Post on April 6 that while the recession was reducing donations from foundations, the coordinators were overwhelmed by the number of volunteers offering to help out. Those new AmeriCorps positions will certainly fill up fast -- Michael Stoops, director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, said he was swamped with applications for unpaid AmeriCorps internships with his organization.
On Monday, White House adviser Valerie Jarrett addressed New Yorkers via video after New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced initiatives to make New York City a leader in volunteerism.
"This will unleash the power inside millions of New Yorkers to help those who need it most," Bloomberg said, according to the Washington Post. "Together we'll be the first to bring to life a new era of service in America."
The Huffington Post wants to keep its eyes and ears on the burgeoning service movement. Is New York really going to take charge of this thing, or is some other place going to step up? We want readers to let us know what kinds of service projects they're involved in and what kinds of volunteer opportunities they see sprouting up in their towns. Tell us about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.