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My American Story: Volunteers Making An Impact

by Patrick A. Corvington

This post originally appeared on the White House blog on December 22, 2010.

As someone who came to this country as a teenager, and worked long hours to create a better life for myself and my family, I know America’s greatness flows not just from its laws and leaders, but from the extraordinary acts of everyday citizens.

For more than 20 years – working with and for people from all walks of life who are striving to live the American dream – I have seen that greatness firsthand. As CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, I know that everyday, in communities across America, citizens are finding solutions to community problems.

That is America’s way. Americans have always believed in the idea that we can change things, we can make things better, we can solve problems, when we join together.

Today, as so many Americans face hardship, we need that spirit more than ever. In difficult times, national service and volunteerism are smart strategies that tap the energy and ingenuity of our greatest resource – the American people – to solve problems and get things done.

To expand the impact of volunteers on today’s challenges, we have produced My American Story, a series of television PSAs that feature Americans who have stepped up to be a part of the solution.

From an Iraqi war veteran who serves with AmeriCorps helping fellow soldiers readjust to civilian life, to an RSVP volunteer who uses his life experience to help youth on probation; the spots show the power of people to improve lives and strengthen communities.

Set in iconic American settings — the Statue of Liberty, the Gateway Arch, Seattle’s Space Needle, and Yosemite National Park — the PSAs remind us that service is fundamental to the American character, and that our nation is at it best when we serve others.

This holiday season is a perfect time to get involved. Visit Serve.gov, where you can search by zip code and interest area for a volunteer opportunity that’s right for you. And after you’ve served, share your story by submitting a video. See how your story connects to the American story.

Patrick A. Corvington is CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

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