For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 30, 2003
Fact Sheet: President Bush Celebrates USA Freedom Corps One-Year Anniversary
President Bush Celebrates USA Freedom Corps One-Year Anniversary
Announces New Presidential Council and Spells Out State of the Union
"Last year, I called on my fellow citizens to participate in the
USA Freedom Corps ... Tonight I ask Congress and the American people
to focus the spirit of service and the resources of government on the
needs of some of our most vulnerable citizens - boys and girls trying
to grow up without guidance and attention, and children who have to go
through a prison gate to be hugged by their mom or dad." - President
George W. Bush, 2003 State of the Union
Today's Presidential Action
President Bush joined young people, their mentors and teachers,
and leaders of volunteer service organizations to celebrate the
first anniversary of the USA Freedom Corps - his initiative to
engage all Americans in service to their neighbors and their
Following up on his State of the Union address, the President
also laid out his vision for two programs that will use almost
half a billion dollars over the next three years to match
disadvantaged children with caring mentors who can help them
find hope and opportunity.
The President announced that he is forming a new President's
Council on Service and Citizenship, and introduced the first
members of the council, charging them with leading a massive
nationwide effort to recognize the dedicated service of
Americans and to engage more individuals in volunteer service.
New Ways to Make a Difference
To mobilize individuals to meet pressing community needs around
the country, the USA Freedom Corps will begin focusing on some
of the needs that can be uniquely addressed through volunteer
time and talents. Each calendar quarter, the USA Freedom Corps
will offer research, toolkits, and other information regarding
one "volunteer service action priority," and will announce new
and expanded efforts by the agencies that are a part of the USA
Freedom Corps to enhance volunteer efforts in that area. The
2003 priorities include: youth achievement, parks and open
spaces, healthy communities, and homeland security.
The first area of need to be addressed in 2003 is youth
achievement. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2001), one
out of every ten children in America is at great risk of
failure because he or she experiences four or more factors that
adversely influence their future prospects, such as: not living
with two parents, having an underemployed parent, living below
the poverty line, having a parent or guardian who is a high
school dropout, not having health insurance, and/or receiving
welfare benefits. Any one risk factor increases the likelihood
of negative outcomes for children, but the presence of four or
more places the child at a tremendous risk of failure. The
Census Bureau has identified 7.1 million children who fall into
this high-risk category.
Research shows that having a mentor decreases the likelihood
that disadvantaged youth will engage in violent behavior and
drug use, while improving the chances that they will attend
school regularly and improve academically. According to
MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership, 2.5 million young people
in the United States are enjoying mentoring relationships with
caring adult volunteers. Unfortunately, millions more
disadvantaged young people have not found mentors.
More Than One Million New Mentors
To offer more of these disadvantaged youth access to a mentor,
the President announced that he will support new mentoring
opportunities by investing $450 million in federal funds over
the next three years in the nonprofit, community, and
faith-based organizations that train volunteer mentors and pair
them with youth in need. Today he shared the details of how
those funds will be spent to offer young people hope and
The President announced that he will invest $300 million over
three years in a program at the U.S. Department of Education to
support the development, expansion, and strengthening of
exemplary mentoring programs targeted at disadvantaged middle
school students in order to cultivate mentors for these young
people. These new funds will be used as grants to
nationally-affiliated youth-serving organizations, independent
community and faith-based organizations, and local education
agencies that will link one million students with disadvantaged
backgrounds to adult mentors through school-based programs.
The program will build on the Mentoring for Success Act passed
as an amendment to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
Through a new program, the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services will help more than 100,000 children of prisoners
between the ages of 10 and 14 over the next three years to find
an adult mentor. They will work with the U.S. Department of
Justice and a network of other agencies with a budget of $150
million over three years to offer grants to
nationally-affiliated youth serving programs, as well as
independent community and faith-based organizations, to support
school and community-based mentoring programs. The program
will further the goals of the Safe and Stable Families
Amendment of 2001, which called for the expansion of services
to strengthen families, including creating and expanding
mentoring programs for these children through networks of
community organizations, including religious organizations.
Grantees of both programs must fulfill the essential features
of successful mentoring programs: screening and matchmaking,
orientation and training, and ongoing support and supervision.
And the grantees will be rigorously evaluated according to
their outcomes both in terms of inputs (volunteer hours, youth
served) and outcomes for youth (academic achievement, school
attendance, juvenile crime, and the avoidance of risky
behaviors, such as substance abuse).
Engaging Millions - the President's Council on Service and Civic
President Bush announced that he has formed a new President's
Council on Service and Civic Participation modeled on the
President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and
introduced the first members of the 25-member council who
include: entertainers, athletes, retired elected officials,
business and media leaders, leaders of nonprofit and volunteer
service organizations, and community volunteers.
The council members will work with a small professional staff.
Darrell Green, former Washington Redskins cornerback, will
serve as the chair of the council, and retired Senator Robert
Dole and retired Senator John Glenn will serve as honorary
co-chairs of the council.
The council will oversee the creation of a nationwide
recognition program called the President's Volunteer Service
Awards. The awards will be given to millions of individuals
engaged in a variety of volunteer services who have made a
sustained commitment to service over the course of a one year
Youth can earn a President's Volunteer Service Award by serving
50 or more hours a year, while adults can earn the award by
serving 100 or more hours in a year. President's Volunteer
Service Awards will also be available for families, for
individuals who have served more than 4,000 hours since the
President's call to service in 2002, and community-serving
groups. Organizations such as businesses and schools will be
eligible to receive awards on the basis of supporting a large
number of their employees or members in receiving the
individual President's Volunteer Service Awards.
The awards will be available in the spring of this year, and
will be used to recognize the dedication of those who earn them
and to celebrate excellence in volunteering.
A Year of Accomplishment
In July, President Bush launched the USA Freedom Corps
Volunteer Network - the largest clearinghouse of volunteer
opportunities ever created. It includes millions of
opportunities to work with more than 60,000 organizations in
all 50 United States and around the world. At the same time,
he unveiled public service announcements that send viewers to
the network. An estimated 2.7 million people will search for
ways to get involved through the USA Freedom Corps Volunteer
Network during its first year of operation.
When President Bush issued his call to service last year, there
was no nationwide measure of volunteer behavior to use for
setting goals and standards for the USA Freedom Corps. Working
with the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics, the USA
Freedom Corps has helped to develop a new measure of volunteer
behavior based upon a massive nationwide sample that includes
120,000 individuals 16 and older. The results of the first
survey tell us that more than one in four Americans - 59.1
million people - volunteered their time through a local
organization between September 2001 and September 2002.
In the past year the national service programs that are part of
the USA Freedom Corps have touched millions of lives at home
and abroad. 6,678 Peace Corps volunteers worked in 70
developing countries around the world.
The Peace Corps opened or
re-opened programs in countries such as East Timor, Peru,
Bangladesh, Macedonia, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan,
and 38 countries have requested Peace Corps volunteers.
AmeriCorps members taught and tutored hundreds of thousands of
students, maintained thousands of miles of trails, collected
hundreds of tons of trash, and immunized thousands of children.
More than 500,000 Senior Corps members gave more than 100,000
children preschool and daycare services, collaborated with
hundreds of police and community safety organizations,
participated in thousands of environmental education programs,
and supported other seniors and adults in need of long-term care
with meals and other services.
Since the launch of the USA Freedom Corps, interest in all of
these programs has grown significantly:
The AmeriCorps program
filled its enrollment goals faster than ever before and measures
of online applications show a more than 60 percent increase.
Demand for information on Senior Corps programs for Americans age
55 and over is also up.
More than 115,000 potential Peace Corps
volunteers requested applications in 2002, a more than 30 percent
increase over 2001.
The new Citizen Corps launched in 2002 is already supporting
local volunteer efforts that help communities prevent, prepare
for, and respond to emergencies.
More than 300 Citizen Corps
Councils of first responder, local government officials, and
volunteer service organizations are up and running around the
Almost all 50 U.S. states and territories are
supporting state or territory-wide Citizen Corps Councils.
Volunteers are working with police departments through more than
320 Volunteers in Police Service programs.
Doctors and nurses
are joining Medical Reserve Corps units across the country.
number of registered Neighborhood Watch groups has more than
Twice as many individuals have been trained to teach
emergency response skills through Community Emergency Response
Businesses and schools are engaging employees, customers and
students in volunteer service. More than 160 businesses and
business organizations that employ more than 2 million
individuals have joined Business Strengthening America, and
thousands of K-12 schools and after-school programs are using
resources such as the USA Freedom Corps' Students in Service to
America guide and materials to engage young people in
developing lifelong habits of service.
To help our young people develop a better understanding of our
democratic traditions and institutions, and create a better
informed and more involved citizenry, the USA Freedom Corps has
helped to create new "We The People" and "Our Documents"
initiatives, and will host a White House Forum on American
History, Civics, and Service in February 2003.
For more information on today's Presidential Action items or on the
USA Freedom Corps, please visit www.usafreedomcorps.gov