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Getting Youth Involved in Volunteering

5/10/2002:   In his recent State of the Union Address, President Bush called on every young person in America "to commit at least two years - 4,000 hours over the rest of your lifetime - to the service of your neighbors and your nation."

SERVEnet (www.SERVEnet.org) is an excellent resource for information on service and volunteering for youth. Through SERVEnet, users can enter their zip code, city, state, skills, interests, and availability and be matched with organizations needing help. For example, a quick search of CWLA's main office zip code (20001) returns 127 service and volunteering opportunities in the local Washington, DC area, including tutoring, delivering hot meals, and even teaching martial arts.

SERVEnet is a program of Youth Service America (YSA), www.ysa.org, a resource center and alliance of 200+ organizations committed to increasing the quantity and quality of opportunities for young Americans to serve locally, nationally, or globally. YSA's mission is to strengthen the effectiveness, sustainability, and scale of the youth service movement. YSA envisions a powerful network of organizations committed to making service the common experience and expectation of all young Americans. A strong youth service movement will create healthy communities, and foster citizenship, knowledge, and the personal development of young people. It is YSA's commitment to have volunteer opportunities on SERVEnet for every zip code in America.

National Youth Service Day (www.ysa.org/NYSD) is the largest service event in the world, engaging millions of young Americans and focusing national attention on the amazing leadership of young people. This year more than 3 million young people volunteered in the third annual Global Youth Service Day by planting gardens and cleaning up parks, reading and mentoring, and food preparation. And because it's never too early to plan ahead, President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush will serve as honorary co-chairs for next year's annual National Youth Service Day events scheduled for April 11-13, 2003.

For more volunteer opportunities, visit www.idealist.org, www.helping.org, www.mentoring.org, or call 1-800-VOLUNTEER. To devote a year to service, visit www.cns.gov.

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