HATCH, KENNEDY BILL RENEWS CALL FOR NATIONAL SERVICE
Serve America Act To Increase Service Opportunities for All Americans
In coming days, Senators Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) will introduce new legislation, the "Serve America Act," to expand opportunities for service for all Americans. The legislation will ask 175,000 more Americans to give a year of service to address specific national challenges, thereby expanding the number of national service participants to 250,000. The legislation will also increase opportunities for individuals to serve at every stage of their life and will support nonprofit organizations and social entrepreneurs with innovative solutions to our most pressing problems.
"Time and again we've learned that large numbers of Americans are ready, willing, able, and even eager to be involved in service, and that all we have to do is ask them to do so. The Serve America Act will ask. It will connect every generation through service, and enable them to help tackle a wide range of national challenges, from the dropout crisis that plagues our schools to the lack of health care in our neediest communities to the energy and environmental crisis that threatens our planet," said Senator Kennedy, Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which oversees existing national and community service programs. "Many Americans are already answering the call to such service, by weatherizing homes, mentoring students, or working to bring clean water and life-saving vaccines to peoples in many lands. This legislation will dramatically expand opportunities for Americans willing to devote a year or more to address such challenges. It will draw on the talents and skills of every age group, such as by expanding opportunities for young people to improve their communities, and enabling retiring 'baby boomers to transition to second careers in public service."
Senator Hatch said, "Volunteer service is the lifeblood of our republic. It brings out the best in people and strengthens our communities. Throughout history, Americans have stepped forward and volunteered to meet every challenge. Within each of us is a desire to help and serve our neighbors the world over; and yet, the hectic lifestyle we all live often crowds out our natural ability to give service. That is why my longtime friend, Senator Kennedy, and I are introducing The Serve America Act. This historic legislation will inspire and provide opportunities for civic-minded Americans to raise the bar of service and fulfill the destiny of the immortal words of America the Beautiful,' to more than self their country love. And mercy more than life!'
"America faces more challenges today than ever before. And new challenges require a new level of commitment. By harnessing the talents and efforts of the American people, faith-based groups and nonprofit organizations, we can empower more people, improve more communities and tackle more of our nation's greatest challenges. That is precisely the intent of this bill, and I'm pleased to be working alongside Senator Kennedy to champion this important legislation."