Mr. Obama made service one of the key components of his presidential campaign, often calling upon his own beginnings as a community organizer in Chicago. The day before taking office, Martin Luther King Day, Mr. Obama called for a national day of service creating the largest turnout in the 14 years since the congressional order of service on that day.
“We need your service, right now, in this moment in history. … I’m asking you to stand up and play your part,” Mr. Obama said Tuesday. “I’m asking you to help change history’s course.”
Listen to an excerpt of President Obama’s remarks upon signing the service bill:
Highlights of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act include tripling AmeriCorps from 75,000 positions annually to 250,000 by 2017 and focusing on issues of clean energy, education, health care, veterans care, and economic opportunity, among other initiatives.
Ann Maura Connolly, Senior Vice President of City Year, Inc., a national youth service division of Americorps, said the bill comes at a “pivotal moment” for service and volunteer groups.
Listen to Connolly explain what City Year does and offer her thoughts on how the new bill will help mobilize the service sector: