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About Senior Corps 
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Hurricane Volunteer Support Fund
In the wake of the recent hurricanes, the Corporation is coordinating volunteers to assist with repair and relief efforts in areas affected by this devastating storm. Your donation will support volunteers in providing food and shelter, managing donations, helping victims get necessary assistance, and long-term rebuilding efforts.
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USA Freedom Corps Partnering to Answer the President’s Call to Service
 
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sunday, June 18, 2006

CONTACT: Siobhan Dugan
Phone: 202-606-6707
Email: [email protected]

CONTACT: Fred Whiting
Phone: 301-994-5691
Email: [email protected]

   

Nation’s Service Leaders Pledge to Expand Volunteer Ranks by 10 Million by 2010

 

Disaster Response Major Focus of Conference

SEATTLE — More than 2,400 volunteer and national service leaders were inspired by stories of how volunteers are contributing to hurricane relief and recovery effort in the Gulf Coast, by the music of Sister Sledge and by the personal story of “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts, at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. During the conference, which was co-convened by The Points of Light Foundation & the Volunteer Center National Network and the Corporation for National and Community Service, the participants pledged to join a new campaign to increase the number of volunteer nationwide by 10 million by the year 2010.

Marilee Chinnici-Zuercher, incoming chair of the Volunteer Center National Network Council, thanked Jeff Hoffman, vice president of Disney Worldwide Outreach, for The Walt Disney Company’s significant investment in the Points of Light Foundation. “The relationship that Disney has with children and families gives us the avenue of educating families about local family volunteering opportunities. Disney’s participation will go a long way to getting more families involved in volunteering. By making volunteering a family activity, parents can strengthen family relationships while getting their children started on a life-long commitment to serving their communities.”

Roberts talked about the experience of helping her hometown, Pass Christian, Miss., recover from Hurricane Katrina, as well as the volunteer enrichment teacher who guided her mother in elementary school, and later helped her apply for a scholarship to Howard University. “She not only helped my mother but all of her children,” Roberts said, noting that each of the four in the family received at least a bachelor’s degree and that her niece now attends medical school at Howard University. “You think you’re helping one person, but you’re changing the course of a family,” she said.

Last year’s hurricanes underscored the importance of volunteers, according to Robert Goodwin, president and CEO of the Points of Light Foundation & the Volunteer Center National Network. To assist disaster response organizations in connecting with volunteers when the need arises, Goodwin announced a new website, www.HelpInDisaster.org. “The new website and national database registry lets volunteers actually list their skills and interests for volunteering. Those volunteers can then be identified by response and recovery organizations when disaster strikes.”

Recruiting more Americans to address social needs through volunteering and national service is the focus of a new initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service, according to Corporation CEO David Eisner. He issued a challenge to conference participants: “Let us commit to grow the number of volunteers by 10 million by 2010,” he said. “It’s an ambitious goal but an achievable goal.” 

Eisner added that increasing the number of volunteers by that number is only a possibility if it’s a priority at local and state levels. He encouraged conference attendees to make the Martin Luther King Day of Service in January a high-profile event for volunteer recruitment. “If we can commit and follow through, we will make sure every child who needs one has a mentor, meet the needs of our expanding ranks of seniors, overcome our national teacher shortage, rekindle the sense of community through out our country, and help our nation live up to its promises of justice, fairness and opportunity for all.”  (click here to read his full remarks)

Responding to Eisner’s challenge, Goodwin pledged that the organization would increase its number of volunteers by 1 million people.

In keeping with the day’s focus on hurricane relief and recovery efforts, the opening session of the three-day conference concluded with a performance by the group Sister Sledge of their 1970s hit “We Are Family.” An all-star remake of the song, featuring performances by such well-known musical artists as Ciara, Patti LaBelle, Ray J, Mary Mary, Brian McKnight and George Clinton, will be released publicly August 29—on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina—as part of new 10-track CD to benefit services to strengthen American families, in particular those families displaced by the 2005 hurricanes.

“Rebuilding a sense of community is key to rebuilding people’s lives,” said Goodwin. “Reaching out as a global family, we believe, can be the antidote to a lot of problems.”

Other highlights of the first day of the annual conference, whose theme this year is “Climbing Mountains, Lifting Lives,” included:

  • A Service Project in which conference participants joined Robin Roberts, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and other local and conference dignitaries in assembling Emergency Preparedness Kits for 1,000 low-income residents within the Seattle community. The kits include radios, flashlights, water, snacks, batteries and first aid items, and are designed to help people get by for 72 hours in the immediate aftermath of a disaster such as an earthquake or terror attack.
        
  • The announcement of the 2006 “Spirit of Service Awards,” which recognize and celebrate outstanding participants in each of the Corporation’s three main programs—Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America—as well as outstanding corporation or foundation partners.
        
  • Barb O’Neill of Olympia, founder of an organization that engages 200 volunteers to serve meals and deliver dinners to the poor, was named a Daily Point of Light today by the Points of Light Foundation. For the past 35 years on both the day before Thanksgiving and on Christmas Eve, O’Neill has prepared meals for the poor, homeless and lonely in Olympia. 

The Conference will continue through Tuesday at the Seattle Convention Center. Monday’s highlights include a luncheon address by Sally Jewell, President and CEO of the outdoor equipment retailer Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), and presentation of the Awards for Excellence in Workplace Volunteer Programs. Tuesday’s highlights include presentation of the Romney Award to Andrew Young, chairman of Good Works International and a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Member of Congress, and Mayor of Atlanta; and a keynote address on mentoring by Seattle-area author Eric Liu.

The many sponsors of the National Conference on Volunteering and Service include Washington Mutual, United Parcel Service Foundation, The Walt Disney Company, The Schwann Food Company, Target Corporation, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Wells Fargo, The Home Depot, Starbucks Coffee Company, The Boeing Company, General Electric, KPMG LLP, Northrop Grumman, Safeco Insurance, The Henry M. Jackson Foundation, Casey Family Programs and others.

The Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network engages and mobilizes millions of volunteers who are helping to solve serious social problems in thousands of communities. Through a variety of programs and services—including research, training, creation of model programs and compilation of resources—the Foundation helps organizations of all types manage their volunteer activity more effectively. For more information, visit http://www.pointsoflight.org.

The Corporation for National and Community Service administers the Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, as well as a number of special initiatives. The mission of the Corporation is to improve lives, strengthen communities and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. Together with USA Freedom Corps, the Corporation is working to foster a culture of citizenship, service and responsibility in America. For more information, visit www.nationalservice.gov.

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