FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Coalition of Leading Military and Civilian Service Organizations Calls on Presidential Campaigns to Prioritize National Service
The coalition is part of the Serve America Together campaign to make national service part of growing up in America.
WASHINGTON, DC (September 14, 2020) – Today, over a dozen leading military and civilian service organizations released a letter calling on President Trump and Vice President Biden’s presidential campaigns to prioritize a significant expansion of national service in the first 100 days of their potential administrations. The first-of-its-kind coalition — which is the backbone of the Serve America Together campaign to make national service part of growing up in America — unites the military and civilian service movements under one banner behind a bold call to action for national service expansion.
“America has an opportunity to be audacious when addressing the daunting challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the events of this summer — from the public health, economic, and educational crises to the country’s reckoning on social justice. I believe the time has come for bold proposals that invest in young Americans, address the impacts of the pandemic, and fuel a civic renewal in America,” said Jesse Colvin, CEO of Service Year Alliance, the organization leading the Serve America Together campaign. “Service Year Alliance is proud to be a part of this coalition’s ambitious call to make national service a national priority. The next administration has an opportunity to build a future in which every young person in America is empowered to transform their lives, their communities, and their country through national service and Serve America Together has a plan to make that future a reality.”
“Catholic Volunteer Network believes in the transformative power of full-time volunteer service. We welcome collaboration that empowers volunteers and strengthens communities across the country. Catholic Volunteer Network supports the Serve America Together campaign because national service can offer so many young adults chances to help communities recover from COVID-19,” said Yonce Shelton, Executive Director of Catholic Volunteer Network. “For decades, we have witnessed how service equips young adults to be leaders in careers focused on helping individuals and communities. We know that faith in action for the common good makes a difference. More chances to serve will allow faith-inspired volunteers to be part of the solution now – and increase their impact as citizens for years to come. Service connects people and builds bridges. Catholic Volunteer Network is proud to have member programs that are not Catholic. We are proud to partner with government and secular efforts. We support expanding national service because it can unite and transform in ways that will help heal our country.”
"In creating the Civilian Conservation Corps during the depths of the Great Depression, President Roosevelt stated that 'the moral and spiritual value' of the Corps' work would be more important than the infrastructure they built. As our country faces challenges on numerous fronts, national service programs can not only complete critical projects to make our nation physically more resilient; these programs can unite us for a common purpose," said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President and CEO of The Corps Network. "For a generation of young people, and for struggling communities across the country, we encourage the next administration to prioritize national service. The Conservation Corps community looks forward to the opportunity to expand service to meet this moment in history."
The letter draws on Serve America Together’s campaign platform and urges on the presidential campaigns to expand national service in order to empower young Americans, respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and help knit our country back together. Specifically, the coalition is calling for engaging at least one million young Americans in civilian national service annually to address the country’s unmet needs. It aims to ensure that national service helps fuel America’s civic renewal, is an opportunity for all young Americans, regardless of background, and that participating in national service builds pathways to long-term success for individuals who serve by connecting them to future education and careers. Read the full letter to the campaigns here.
The letter is signed by Serve America Together coalition members including America Forward, Catholic Volunteer Network, City Year, Repair the World, Service Year Alliance, States for Service, Student Veterans of America, Teach For America, The Corps Network, The Mission Continues, Veterans for American Ideals, Voices for National Service, and YouthBuild USA.
With questions about the Serve America Together campaign or for more information about the campaign’s coalition, please contact Aly Ferguson at [email protected].
About Serve America Together
Serve America Together is a campaign to make national service part of growing up in America. The campaign is led by a coalition of military and civilian service organizations as well as a group of bipartisan co-chairs including Gen. (Ret.) Stan McChrystal, Howard Schultz, Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Former Gov. Deval Patrick, Arianna Huffington, Laura Lauder, Andrew Hauptman, and Jeff Huber. It is a project of Service Year Alliance, an organization working to make a year of paid, full-time service — a service year — a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans. Learn more about Service Year Alliance at serviceyearalliance.org.