National Service Blog

  • Posted on May 20, 2016

    Earlier this week I traveled to Joplin, Missouri, for a trip I will never forget. The Joplin story is one of a community that that never gave up, that demonstrated steely resolve in the face of tragedy, and that is coming back stronger and better than before. It is also the story of volunteers – 130,000 strong and counting – whose selfless service has lifted up an entire community when it needed it most.

    For many residents, the one year anniversary was a painful reminder of the devastating EF-5 tornado that ripped through Joplin, killing 161 people, destroying 7,500 homes and buildings, and leaving a trail of destruction through the heart of the city.

    A destroyed home displays a thank you message by Joplin resididents to volunteers.

    But even more so, the anniversary was a symbol of hope, pride, optimism, and unity. The people of Joplin did not let themselves be defined by what happened on May 22, 2011. Instead they defined themselves by what happened after - their extraordinary resilience and desire to rebuild.

    As President Obama told the graduating seniors at Joplin High School, “Here in Joplin, you've also learned that we have the power to grow...

  • Posted on Jul 15, 2009
    Nearly 50% of residents of Lansing Michigan are living at or near poverty levels. In an effort to help residents stretch their financial resources and improve their access to nutritious, locally grown foods, the Old Town Commercial Association is sponsoring the first ever Community Garden project.
  • Posted on Jul 15, 2009
    The greenest building is the one that already exists." The US Forest Service has hosted a volunteer historic preservation program called "Passport in Time" since 1989. Volunteers work with professional archaeologists and preservationists to restore historic buildings for continued use. Not only does this save buildings, it engages communities and fosters civic pride in their history.
  • Posted on Jul 15, 2009
    This month, with the help of Literacy Volunteers of Essex/Franklin Counties, 10 inmates at the Adirondack Correctional Facility will be trained and certified as volunteer literacy tutors. All of these men have high school diplomas or GEDs and also hold facility jobs for which they are paid a nominal stipend ($.24/hour, 30 hours/week). Here is what they would like to say:
  • Posted on Jul 15, 2009
    I serve by being a Senior Companion in San Bernardino, CA. As a Senior Companion, I visit with local seniors to be a listening ear and helping hand. My experience volunteering has been full of stories to share but there is one woman has touched my heart. She is a new client of mine. At 87-years-old, she has just returned from the hospital, suffers from dementia, hypertension and heart disease. She lives with her bedbound husband and adult son. She had not responded in any way to anyone at home.
  • Posted on Jul 15, 2009
    In early January of this year, I got an idea after watching a news story about our Community Food Bank. The food bank was struggling to meet the demands placed on it by a shrinking economy and an ever-expanding unemployment rate. I thought, “If every neighbor in Tucson—nearly one million of them—donated one can of food a week, we could eliminate hunger in our city.”
  • Posted on Jul 14, 2009
    Welcome to the United We Serve "Stories of Service" blog! In this blog we’ll be featuring news, updates, and some of the remarkable stories of service we’ve been getting from Americans across the country who are answering President Obama’s call to service.
  • Posted on Jul 14, 2009
    To kick off United We Serve, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates visited wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Medical Center. The Secretary said that meeting with the soldiers, “lifted him up.” Speaking about the soliders, Gates said, “their grit, resilience and indomitable spirit amaze and inspire me every time."
  • Posted on Jul 14, 2009
    On June 22nd, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar joined volunteer and youth groups at Shenandoah National Park as part of a national kickoff for President Obama’s new “United We Serve” campaign.
  • Posted on Jul 14, 2009
    On June 23, 2009, St. Johns Housing Partnership (SJHP) launched its first weatherization-based volunteer project under the President’s United We Serve initiative. The project involved a number of energy efficient retrofits, including state-of-the-art “Shasta White” shingles, which reflect solar heat rays.
  • Posted on Jul 14, 2009
    When “United We Serve” officially launched on June 22, America’s libraries and the Department of Education were poised and ready to be a major part of the program from the very beginning. They will remain engaged throughout the summer, and they call upon all Americans to join them.

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