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While the economy continues to show signs of improvement, there are still many workers who are facing challenges in connecting to new careers. The Department of Labor has encouraged dislocated workers to pursue education and training to improve their skills and better position them to compete for employment opportunities. Many workers have taken advantage of these opportunities, but it is also important to lay a path forward for those workers who have not enrolled in training and seek other options to build their skills and increase their chances to find employment.

Youth aren't waiting for the call to serve --they are ready to make their mark today. This last weekend, young people around the world celebrated Global Youth Service Day in 100 countries on six continents as children, teens, and young adults demonstrated why they are the most service-oriented generations ever.

Having just wrapped up National AmeriCorps Week, another big week for celebrating service is on the horizon: National Volunteer Week. Happening April 15-21, 2012, National Volunteer Week is an opportunity for nonprofit organizations and national service members and alumni to be recognized and celebrated for their efforts. It's also an opportunity of AmeriCorps Alums to tell their story of service, and shine a light on the value of national service in our nation.

Last year, 64.3 million Americans gave their time in service. These volunteers spent hours in schools and shelters, hospitals and hotlines, and faith-based and community-groups. They are the everyday heroes who show up day in, day out and make a difference for millions of women and men around the world.

These words sit at the heart of my father's tireless efforts to advocate for change. He believed that protection from the hazards of pesticides; fair wages and improved working conditions were not achievable if not founded upon an improvement in the overall well-being of the community.

This week I am being recognized as a Champion of Change for my work empowering Arab and Muslim Americans nationally through civic engagement, direct service and advocacy campaigns. Born in Brooklyn, New York to parents who emigrated here from Palestine and attending NYC public schools my whole life, I would say I was an ordinary kid with an ordinary life.

James “Major” Adams was raised on Chicago's Westside and served in the Army during World War II. When he completed his military service, Adams returned to Chicago and worked for various agencies including Jane Addams' Hull House, one of the city's oldest social and human services programs.

Each year, African American History Month gives us a chance to remember the often unsung heroes who are living examples of Dr. Martin Luther King's belief that “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.”

During Black History Month, we pause to salute and reflect on the contributions African Americans have made to the rich fabric that makes up the United States.There are many untold stories that reveal the best of Americans who stepped up when duty called, broke color barriers, or quietly made their communities better one person at a time.

Every four years, we're given one extra day, a leap day. That's 24 extra hours to spend however you wish. Why not spend a few of those hours making a difference?

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