For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 30, 2002
Remarks by the President on USA Freedom Corps Public Service Campaign
The East Room
2:08 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thanks. Thanks for coming to the White House.
Welcome, and thanks so very much for your good works and your
commitment to serve others.
The men and women in this room, and the members of my
administration are working to foster a culture of service, citizenship,
and of responsibility for decades to come. You're part of a cultural
change that will make America a much better place.
I -- today I'm going to announce some new steps that the USA
Freedom Corps will be taking to make service a more central part of
American life. I want to thank Gale Norton, a member of my Cabinet,
the Secretary of the Department of Interior, for being here. I
appreciate one of the newest television stars, Bob Dole --
(laughter) -- being here. Thank you, Senator. (Applause.) And it's
good to see my friend, Steve Goldsmith, who's the Chairman of the Board
of Directors of the Corporation of National and Community Service; and
its CEO, Les Lenkowsky. Thank you all for being here, as well.
I appreciate the many foundations and organizations who are
represented here today that have supported the Corporation for National
Community Service, the Network for Good, which is a nonprofit
organization. It has been a strong supporter of our call to service
from the very start. I want to thank the Walt Disney Company. I
appreciate so very much the U.S. Department of Justice for sending
representatives here. I want to thank the UPS Foundation. I want to
thank Peggy Conlon, who is the President and the CEO of the Ad
Council. I want to thank the members of the Ad Council who have done
some pretty good work, as you'll see here in a minute.
I appreciate very much the USA Freedom Corps Volunteer Network
members who are here. I want to thank the representatives of
television, print and radio, as well.
You know, none of us would ever wish the evil that was done on
September the 11th; yet out of the tragedy can come great good. I
believe that from the bottom of my heart. Out of the evil done to
America will come some good. Challenging times test the character of
individuals, and test the character of our nation. In the aftermath of
September the 11th, Americans have responded with courage and
compassion, with great resolve and determination.
The last ten months have offered us a glimpse of what a new culture
of service can be. And we're not going to let this moment pass. We'll
sustain and extend the best that has emerged in our country. And there
are good reasons for every American to serve our nation. We serve
because it's important to our neighbors. We understand that serving
others meets needs that a government can never fulfill. You see,
government can hand out money, but it can't put hope in people's
hearts, or a sense of purpose in people's lives. The need for
kindness, and for understanding, and for love, is not a government
function. It's a human function. And that's why we serve our
We serve because it's important to our own character. Acts of
compassion add direction and purpose to our lives. Serving something
greater than yourself in life is part of a fulfilling life. And
finally, we serve because it's important to our country. Our nation is
the greatest force for good in history, and we show our gratitude by
doing our duty. We express our love for America by loving Americans.
Six months ago in my State of the Union address, I issued a call to
service. I asked every American to commit at least two years, 4,000
hours over the rest of your life, to service for neighbors and our
nation. To encourage service, we established what we call the USA
Freedom Corps, ably headed by John Bridgeland.
The USA Freedom Corps is matching potential volunteers with local
charities. It is encouraging participation in the new Citizen Corps,
AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and the Peace Corps. We're promoting service
to prepare for crises at home, to strengthen our communities, to help
people in need, and to extend American compassion throughout the
The response to the call to service has been strong, and it can get
stronger. VolunteerMatch, a group that matches volunteers to charities
on the USA Freedom Corps web page, reports that referrals have
increased by more than 70 percent over last year. (Applause.)
I want to thank my fellow Americans for answering the call to
service, because Americans in record numbers are now being directed to
local service opportunities. Since the State of the Union address,
more than 66,000 people have requested applications for the Peace
Corps -- 66,000. Applications to join AmeriCorps are up by nearly 90
percent. More than 45,000 Americans have signed up to participate in
the new Citizen Corps. And visits to the Senior Corps web site have
increased by almost 60 percent.
Individuals and nonprofit organizations and businesses have stepped
forward to offer pledges and new commitments and ways in which citizens
can meet the two-year call. Businesses are offering employees annual
paid leave to perform community service. I think it's a movement
that's just beginning here in the country, and I want to thank those
corporate leaders who understand that responsibility not only to
shareholders is important, but responsibility to communities in which
they exist is equally as important.
We're looking for ways to make service count positively in getting
a job. In other words, corporate America views that as an important
part of a complete employee. Promoting service is really what
corporate responsibility means.
The United States Congress is also meeting its responsibilities.
Congress is providing $25 million this year to support Citizen Corps so
that Americans can be trained in emergency response, and can support
first responders. Good progress is being made to renew the promise of
the Peace Corps, and double the number of volunteers over the next five
I hope Congress will soon pass, so I can sign into law, the
bipartisan citizen service act, which incorporates many of the
principles to strengthen and reform national service programs. It
should be an interest to members of Congress that all 50 governors also
have urged Congress to strengthen these important programs. Congress
needs to act, for the good of service for the United States.
Since January, this nation has made tremendous progress in serving
others, yet I full recognize more needs to be done. Today I'm pleased
to announce a public service advertising campaign, developed with the
Corporation for National and Community Service and the Ad Council.
This campaign rests on a single, simple principle: Everyone can do
And today I'm pleased to unleash the TV ads. It's a private
showing, first of its kind. (Laughter.) This is one part of an effort
that includes radio and print and the Internet. To support Americans
who will respond to the call to service, we are launching the new USA
Freedom Corps Volunteer Network, which is the most comprehensive
volunteer clearinghouse ever. The network connects Americans to
service opportunities throughout more than 50,000 organizations,
including America's Promise and the National Mentoring Partnership, the
Points of Light Foundation, SERVEnet and the United Way and
This network is now accessible through the newly redesigned USA
Freedom Corps web site, USAFreedomCorps.gov. If you want to serve in a
soup kitchen or mentor a child in your local community, call up the web
page and you can find out where to go. If you want to take a full year
and serve in the Senior Corps, America Corps, this is where you can
find opportunity to do so. If you want to help people overseas through
the Peace Corps or other organizations, USAFreedomCorps.gov will tell
you what's available.
You know, one of the main reasons people give for not volunteering
is that no one has asked them to do so. I'm asking. (Applause.)
Another reason is they don't know where to start. This public service
advertising campaign will ask Americans to serve and, through the USA
Freedom Corps web site, they have a place to start.
These ads are important to America. And I urge television networks
and major affiliates and radio stations and newspapers to run them. By
broadcasting these PSAs, they promote the common good for our nation.
By broadcasting these PSAs, they will help show the world and our
fellow Americans that, out of the evil done to our country, can come
some incredible good.
It's now my pleasure to play four new public service announcements
featuring some fine Americans. I'm not sure Mariano Rivera is an
American citizen, but he's a fine New York Yankee. (Laughter.) Angie
Harmon, John Glenn, and Bob Dole. So now we'll watch the PSAs.
(Videos are shown.) (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: I want to thank you all for coming. I hope you
enjoy a little reception we're throwing for you at the State Dining
Room. But, in the meantime, thank you for your love for the country.
Thank you for helping people in need. May God bless your work, and may
God continue to bless America. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 2:20 P.M. EDT