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As a naturalized citizen, born in Africa to Haitian parents, I was fortunate to be raised by a mother and father who instilled in me at any early age, the value of education. I was also inspired by the example of people like Frederick Douglass, W.E. B. DuBois, Dorothy Height and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who made education the centerpiece of their efforts to build a more perfect union.

The Service News Digest is a new feature on the Serve.Gov blog. Each week, we will showcase news highlights that feature national service. Take a look at some of the great stories that had people talking today.

Room 306 of Blewett Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri was the lens through which I began to understand the educational inequities our nation faces. I was one of 1,719 new Teach for America AmeriCorps members to begin service in 2003. I was part of a movement that was gaining momentum across America to bring new talent and institutional change to our school systems.

Having attended the National Conference on Volunteering and Service for at least the last seven years, I’ve observed first hand its continuing growth and evolution. As we begin to put the final touches on the 2011 conference, scheduled for June 6-8 in New Orleans, Louisiana my own excitement is gaining momentum. Some of the treats that 2011 participants can look forward to are:

Today, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are hosting the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention to bring together students, parents, educators, policymakers, non-profit leaders, and administration officials to address the challenges posed by bullying, to highlight successful efforts of those who are taking action, and to send the message we must all work together to make our schools and communities safe for all students.

Even at age 74, no one can slow down Foster Grandparent Dolores Campbell. “People don’t realize you have to be active to keep well,” says Campbell.

Today, while many of you are joining in the carnival spirit of Mardi Gras, volunteers from across the country are preparing to attend the 2011 National Conference on Volunteering and Service in New Orleans June 6-8.

Exactly 34 years ago, I was learning Guarani in a chicken coop/classroom in rural Costa Rica, preparing for Peace Corps service in Paraguay. A year earlier I was a college senior at Plattsburgh State University experiencing mild regret over my choice of major. While my Accounting, Nursing, and Business major friends were knee-deep in five-figure salary job offers, my BA in Geography was more like a recruiter repellant.

The Service News Digest is a weekly feature on the Serve.Gov blog. Each week, we will showcase news highlights that feature national service and Corporation for National and Community Service programs.

As director of the National Service-Learning Partnership, I often meet people whose lives, classrooms and communities have been affected by service-learning. This month, I’d like to share one student’s story. We’ll call her “Elena.”


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