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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
November 30, 2005
Mrs. Bush's Remarks at a Helping America's Youth Event in Washington, D.C.
Church of the Epiphany
2:30 P.M. EST
MRS. BUSH: Well, I'm here today, really, because the Corporation for National and Community Service is about to announce the results of a survey that they did that shows that 55 percent of young people between the ages of 12 and 18 are now volunteering in the United States. And I think that's such terrific news. It's really good news about this generation and about their responsibility that they feel to their country and to the other people that live in their country -- elderly people, children. And I think that's really, really good news.
The other good news is, we know that people who volunteer -- children, young people who volunteer, are more likely to avoid risky behaviors. And so I think it's really terrific that a big percentage of these young people are volunteering for that reason.
The other good news about it is that we know that volunteering can be taught, that helping people is something you can learn to do. And now we know that so many young people in the United States have learned that. And we know they've learned it from their families, they've learned it from their churches, they've learned it at their schools, they've learned it from a number of great organizations around the United States like the YMCA or the Boys and Girls Clubs or the Girls and Boy Scouts, or a number of other great organizations for young people.
So I think it's really, really good news, and I'm very, very proud. I'm proud of this generation. I knew anecdotally that they were volunteering everywhere because I see young people volunteering wherever I go, but now this confirms it with the results of these studies. And I want to encourage adults, those who are over 18 who aren't in this group of volunteers to be sure that they volunteer, and not only reach out, especially during this season that we're coming up to, the holiday season, but they also teach their children how important it is to volunteer and to help people, and what a great feeling you get when you're the one that helps people.
I don't know if you could hear their stories, but they cleaned up an apartment for someone who was going to be evicted. She had a notice of eviction because her apartment was so messy and she was really not able to take care of it herself. So one part of these young people went to her apartment and cleaned it for her. Another group went to an apartment house and cleaned there. The boys cleaned out in the parking lot and the garage; the girls cleaned inside. One group went to Martha's Table and worked with the children who are in day care there. Another group went to another day care center and worked with the children who were there.
And it's just great experience for them. Not only do they learn they can help people, but they learn that they can help themselves by volunteering. And they also learn that they're role models, that those little kids that they're working with look up at them -- look up to them and want to be like them.
END 2:33 P.M. EST