A campaign to make national service — including civilian, military, or public service — part of growing up in America.
Service Year Alliance launched the Serve America Together campaign during the 2020 presidential primary to urge the presidential candidates to help make national service part of growing up in America.
Against the backdrop of enormous challenges for our country — a global pandemic, overwhelming polarization and division, and an uncertain economic situation — the campaign won tremendous successes.
While the campaign has been quieter for most of 2022, the work has continued and grown. This summer, Service Year Alliance launched our new strategic plan and announced new leadership. And in September, at the White House’s United We Stand Summit on combating hate and division, President Biden called for a new era of national service and an increased living allowance for all AmeriCorps members — a huge step forward for the campaign’s vision to make national service part of growing up in America.
As part of our organization’s new strategic direction, and ahead of the upcoming midterms when we expect the political winds to shift, we are winding down the Serve America Together campaign. It was always intended to be a time-bound effort to inform the next President’s priorities, and we’ve reached the outer bounds of that timeframe. But our vision to make national service part of growing up in America is not lost. In fact, Service Year Alliance as an organization has adopted the campaign’s vision as our organization’s overall vision — it’s what our team wakes up every morning working to make a reality.
We will continue to build upon the campaign’s principles in our new strategy and in everything we do going forward, and we are fortunate to have the support of our campaign’s co-chairs and coalition members to continue this important work.
For too long, the burden of our collective freedom and civic responsibility has been carried by the few. The college affordability crisis has left too many students with debt that they’re struggling to repay. Millions of young people are out of work, their talents untapped. Communities across the country face significant unmet challenges including education inequity, disaster relief, aging populations, and substance abuse issues. And, Americans are more polarized than at any other moment in history.
Imagine a future in which young people earn college tuition by addressing our communities’ greatest challenges — where they are empowered to shape their own destinies regardless of zip code. Imagine a future in which empathy trumps apathy and participation and problem-solving outmatch indifference. Imagine a shared experience far stronger than anything that may seek to divide us.
This future is entirely achievable if a year of service is a common expectation and opportunity for all. America has been at crossroads like this before. If we are going to achieve this bold vision, we must be audacious in our call to action. Our country can do big things together. And Service Year Alliance is organizing the stakeholders, the strategy, and the movement we need to bring this vision to life.
We believe civilian national service should:
- Exist at scale, engaging at least one million young Americans in civilian national service annually
- Address America’s unmet needs
- Bridge divides and fuel civic renewal
- Be an opportunity for all
- Build pathways to long-term success for individuals who serve through benefits and connectivity to future education and careers
To achieve this vision, the Serve America Together Campaign is pursuing a four-pronged strategy:
- Grow awareness among influencers and policymakers that universal national service is the solution our country needs now.
- Build the diverse, bipartisan coalition representative of service in American life that will be necessary to advocate for, build, and sustain the most equitable, impactful universal national service system possible.
- We’ll grow demand for national service at a local level to ensure communities across America are poised for success within a future system of universal national service.
- And with these assets, we’ll pass legislation and secure funding to establish a system of universal national service in America, creating a shared experience as a strong foundation for generations to come.
Serve America Together is a project of Service Year Alliance. Service Year Alliance is working to make a year of paid, full-time service — a service year — a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans.