For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 31, 2002
Radio Address by the President to the Nation
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. In all of the trials we have faced this past year, countless acts of generosity and sacrifice have revealed the good heart of our nation. Time and time again, our country has shown the strength of its character by responding to acts of evil with acts of good. And in coming weeks, I ask all citizens to answer the call to help those in need, and make this month a September of Service.
I created USA Freedom Corps, a single organization, to encourage and assist Americans in finding service opportunities both locally and around the globe; to harness and put to good use the service and idealism we saw after the attacks of September the 11th. In addition, I called on all Americans to enlist in the armies of compassion and dedicate at least 4,000 hours in service to their communities, our country, and to the world.
The response to the call to service has been strong. 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. Requests for Peace Corps volunteer applications have increased 40 percent over the same period last year. Online AmeriCorps applications are up by 95 percent since January. And more than 48,000 individuals have signed up on line to participate in the newly created Citizens Corps program.
The response we have seen is more than numbers, though. It is a reminder that when people help each other, our entire nation benefits. As I have traveled across the country, I have met with volunteers who have set an example with their uplifting acts of service -- volunteers like Maxine Phipps, a 95-year-old Iowan who mentors and tutors local children through an online book club. She uses her computer skills as she and her students read and discuss books about the importance of citizenship. Or Star Wallin, a college freshman from Mississippi who founded Project CARE in 1999. Project CARE is an organization that has impacted so many lives through activities such as matching elementary school students with high school mentors; collecting food, clothing, and furniture for impoverished families; and helping to refurbish the grounds of local public schools.
I hope the work of these individuals and that of volunteers all across the country inspires others, especially our young people. Young people have the energy and determination to do important work, and volunteer service can teach them valuable lessons about responsibility, community, and selflessness at an early age.
I urge our teachers and schools to begin service projects and activities in September, and to make this new school year the start of a lifelong habit of service to others. In an effort to assist educators and students in getting started, we've developed a new guidebook, CD-ROM, and web site called Students in Service to America. These resources offer valuable information about planning service activities and working with community groups.
More than 130,000 public and private elementary and secondary home schools and after-school programs throughout the country will receive these materials in September. In addition, we will encourage AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers to recruit more young people for service opportunities, and to work closely with schools and community organizations to support in-school and after-school programs. Through these efforts, young people will learn how important service is to our nation, and how to get started today.
As September the 11th approaches, difficult memories of planes and buildings will resurface. But so will images of brave individuals coming to the aid of neighbors in need. That spirit of courage and selflessness has shown the world why our nation is the greatest force for good in history. I urge all Americans to honor the memory of those lost by serving others.
Thank you for listening.