4 Day Service Project Around Katrina 4th Anniversary is Part of the President's United We Serve Initiative
New Orleans, LA – Nearly 100 Obama Administration officials and federal employees are volunteering with New Orleans organizations over the next four days to mark the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The four-day effort was launched today in front of the Rebuilding Together New Orleans Community Center, one of several sites at which volunteers will be working. When it is completed, the center will house AmeriCorps NCCC volunteers serving New Orleans.
In addition to Rebuilding Together New Orleans, the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding has partnered with Habitat for Humanity New Orleans, the St. Bernard Project, and the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation to organize volunteer opportunities for federal employees. Employees from agencies ranging from the TSA to USAID to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and others have taken administrative leave and paid their way to travel to New Orleans for these projects.
“The participation of nearly 100 federal employees who have taken time to support the rebuilding of New Orleans speaks to the commitment the Obama Administration has to public service,” said Janet Woodka, Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding. “The partnership between volunteer organizations and government has transformed the region and we're very proud to be working hand-in-hand with our local partners to rebuild the Gulf Coast.”
Rebuilding Together also announced today that AmeriCorps had designated two new teams of volunteers to be assigned to the local Rebuilding Together chapter. The volunteers will be the first to live at the community center.
“The AmeriCorps program has played a vital role in the efforts of Rebuilding Together New Orleans and we saw the need to create a space meant for them while they were giving back to our city,” said Kristin Gisleson Palmer, Executive Director of Rebuilding Together New Orleans. “Without the passion and energy of AmeriCorps members from around the country, the Gulf Coast would not be as far along as it is today and this is a way of showing our gratitude.”
The Obama Administration is deeply committed to public service, and the President has asked all Americans to participate in volunteer service activities in their communities this summer as part of his United We Serve initiative. He has called for a National Day of Service to take place on September 11, 2009.
“Volunteers have given hope and help to millions of Gulf Coast residents after Katrina and are an example of the generosity of the American spirit,” said Gary Turner, Director of the Southern Region of AmeriCorps NCCC for the Corporation for National and Community Service. “To build the best possible future for the Gulf Coast, we need more volunteers to answer the President's call to service.”