New TV PSAs Call on Americans to Serve their Communities

Dec 20, 2010

‘My American Story’ PSAs Feature President Obama, Volunteers

As thoughts turn towards giving back this holiday season, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) today released five new public service announcements calling on Americans to strengthen their communities and our nation through service to others.

The PSAs feature the stories of Americans from every age and walk of life who have stepped up to be a part of the solution to tackling community challenges. Set in iconic American settings — the Statue of Liberty, the St. Louis Arch, Seattle’s Space Needle, and Yosemite National Park — the PSAs feature volunteers telling their own stories about the power of people to improve lives and make communities stronger. Click here to view the PSAs.

“Every one of us has a role to play in making our communities and our country stronger,” the President says in one of the national PSAs. “Discover yours, and help us continue to make a difference in the life of our nation.”

The PSAs direct viewers to, which features a volunteer search engine with hundreds of thousands of volunteer opportunities that are searchable by zip code and interest area. The website is the online home of United We Serve, the Administration’s call to every American to engage in sustainable, ongoing service that helps meet community needs.

“The American story is the story of volunteers – the ordinary acts of everyday citizens that make this country extraordinary,” said CNCS CEO Patrick A. Corvington. “Throughout our history, volunteers have helped us through our greatest challenges and have led the way to our greatest triumphs. While we face many challenges today, their magnitude is more than matched by the will of individuals, of communities, to solve them.”

The number of Americans volunteering in their communities jumped by 1.6 million last year, the largest increase in six years, according to the annual Volunteering in America report released by CNCS in June. The report found that 63.4 million Americans volunteered through a formal organization last year, giving more than 8.1 billion hours of volunteer service worth an estimated $169 billion.

The TV spots feature Americans including Timm Lovitt, an Iraqi war veteran who now serves with AmeriCorps helping his fellow soldiers readjust to civilian life; Richard Washington, a 57-year-old RSVP volunteer who uses his life experience to help youth on probation; Tamara Anthony, who provides intensive literacy tutoring to struggling students; and Carmelita Limas, who helped build homes for victims of Hurricane Katrina. In addition to the PSAs, 12 volunteers are featured in short online videos.

While the volunteers have unique and diverse stories, all share a common purpose: to tackle problems in their communities. By highlighting how each and every American can make a difference, the spots aim to increase the number and impact of volunteers in tackling serious social problems.

“We know that the best solutions come from outside Washington, D.C., where everyday people are finding ways meet needs in their communities,” said Corvington. “In difficult times, national service and volunteerism are smart strategies that tap the energy and ingenuity of our greatest resource – the American people – to get things done.”

The spots, including English and Spanish versions, are being distributed to 1,200 television stations nationwide and are part of the National Association of Broadcasters monthly satellite feed. CNCS is encouraging Americans to share their own stories in writing or by submitting a video.

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