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This past weekend, hundreds of thousands of Americans participated in service projects to pay tribute to the victims and heroes of 9/11. In all 50 states, volunteers turned out to paint and refurbish homes, run food drives, spruce up schools, reclaim neighborhoods, and support and honor veterans, soldiers, military families, and first responders.

Much ado has been made lately about summer learning loss—and many assume that the antidote is more school. Whether that takes the form of summer school, year-round school, or computer camp, we have come to believe that more indoor desk time is what our kids need to avoid the “summer slide.”

In his State of the Union address, President Obama vowed to “make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America,” and he traveled to Georgia today to discuss the need for early childhood education. Improving education is a priority at the Corporation for National and Community Service that we support through proven national service efforts that make a difference in the lives of millions of students.

Community leader and labor activist Cesar Chavez once said that, “If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with him ... The people who give you their food give you their heart."

Every October, millions of people across the nation volunteer their time during Make A Difference Day to make their communities better places to live. This week, 10 projects and three cities will be honored with Make A Difference Awards, and several national service participants – including two AmeriCorps members – will be recognized.

In recent days, we have witnessed remarkable acts of courage and compassion in the wake of tragedy.
From the first responders in Boston who ran into danger to treat the wounded, to the volunteers who built floodwalls to save their Midwestern towns, to the firefighters who rushed in to battle a raging fire in West, Texas, citizens came together to help when it was needed most.

The Service News Digest is a regular feature on the Serve.gov blog. In this series, we showcase articles that feature national service and Corporation for National and Community Service programs. Take a look at some of the great stories that had people talking recently.

Paul Reickhoff, president and CEO of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, has an idea about a great, untapped American resource. He believes national service models based on AmeriCorps to harness and leverage the skills of military veterans and can “help people think about us as the cavalry, not as a problem.

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.

I was inspired early in life to try to make a mark on the world. And even though I'm a bit of a natural caretaker -- working as a lifeguard and even helping find jobs for folks suffering from traumatic brain injury -- meetings and organizations just weren't my style.

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