Saturday, November 15

If You're Out There

Once again it's been a long time. I miss you guys. I miss this - the act of typing my thoughts onto a clean sheet of virtual paper and starting a conversation with my minions. It is good to be back.
So here we go:

Everyone is talking about the President Elect. They're talking about everything from his choice of cabinet members to puppies. People are interested and that's great. Here's what I'm interested in: PEO (Pres Elect Obama) has talked about new national service initiatives and I cannot stress enough how important I think they are. Now you may think that in a time of global recession when violence and disease are on the rise worldwide that expanding the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps or trying to duplicate the success of Teach For America is something that should be shuffled into the background - at least until we can more readily afford it or until we are more safe.


Now is the time. This is when we need each other most. We need not just inspiration but perspiration if we are going to dig ourselves and help dig the rest of the world out of the hole we're in. The basic plan is to exchange up to $3000 in college scholarships to state supported schools for service. The service can be completed before or after college and would cover everything from military service to Peace Corps, fire, police or teachers, doctors and nurses, home builders and community organizers here and abroad.

If this comes to pass a student looking for help with college tuition could build houses in New Orleans for a couple years. Or distribute mosquito nets in Kenya. Or teach in rural West Virginia. Or work as a nurse in New Mexico...Liberia...Bosnia...literally anywhere people need hmm... that would be anywhere. We're talking about a massive amount of Americans going out into the world not with guns but with help. We're talking about a worldwide makeover for our country.

What this offers is help to our citizens who are hurting - we provide services for the poor and disenfranchised and educational opportunities (higher and real world) for our young people. We, as a country, learn to give to each other again and to see some good in government again.

What this offers is a new face to present to the world. Not only citizen soldiers, but also citizens, mobilizing to help fight in new ways. We can help fight malaria. We can help bring clean water to new regions around the globe. We can help educate, we can help heal.

What this offers is validation to entire generations of Americans. To all of those 25 and under who are tired of being told that they are the 'Me' generation or slackers or that they aren't living up to...whatever...well, here you go. Here's your chance. To all the Baby Boomers looking back on their lives and wondering what legacy they'll be leaving behind - how about a second career in service?

Let's regain some self respect as a nation. Let's gain some respect as a leader in the eyes of the world. Let's start to foster an ideal of service to this nation. Let's redefine what national service means. Let's not even wait for Inauguration Day - let's start today.

Commit yourself to doing something in your community. Take action. Volunteer. Drop off food at a food bank. Bet your friends and neighbors to see who can find the most stuff to donate in their houses. Call your local City Hall for a list of volunteer organizations in your town. Go to your church, synagogue or mosque. Go to your child's school. Go to any school. Become a volunteer firefighter or a child advocate with the police. Form a neighborhood watch. Coach pee wee football. Become a big brother or sister. Donate to Toys for Tots. Email me with a list of things you like to do and get personal volunteer suggestions from your very own G!

My point is that there is something that everyone, at every economic, social and free time level can do. So get excited about PEO, I am. But could we also get ready to do some work? Could we also get ready to explain and defend, pass and enact, oversee and evaluate a domestic agenda? It's up to us to make sure that the things we care about happen - and happen in as pure a form as is possible in politics. In electing PEO we elected ALL OF US because he cannot do it alone. My hope is that he will tell us that and ask us to work with him. I think there are millions of Americans waiting to be asked.

Now - In case any of my minions are still waiting here you go: Email me now! We will make a plan for you to start doing one thing each month - either volunteering or gifting. Let's get to work.


The CEO said...

I do this one pretty well for myself through the Chamber of Commerce.

His Sinfulness said...

The only drawback I see with this plan is the dollar amount. $3000 is barely a semester at most schools in the US...

WNG said...

That's because you rock, Monty, but we knew that already.

Pater - The details haven't been finished yet, $3000 is the number that i've seen. Granted - I haven't been in college for a while, but I know I could have used $3000.

More important than the money is the continuing committment PEO is asking for from young people. Especially for people who worked on his campaign and have seen what a couple hours a week can do - this is a way to continue that work, and witha reason that parents can get behind: money for college.

OG, The Original Glamazon said...

Yes I am very excited about his dedication to revive public service.

One of my good friends spent her toddler years in Morocco because her parents were in the peace corps. I think the one thing we lack in America today is exposure to the world and through public service we can do just that, expose Americans to what life outside America is like. I think it will help younger Americans really appreciate this country and what it means.

I already do a bit of volunteering and when I go back home there is MASSIVE donating going on. 8 months away from home have really shown me what truly is necessity for me.

I tried to do Big Sisters here but you have to commit to a year of service and I couldn't do that, because I wasn't sure if I would be here a year and well I wasn't. However I will be doing more mentoring once I get settled back in the H!

Great blog G!!


Deacon Blue said...

You know, I was going to try to cultivate my misanthropic side for a while...but now you've made me go and feel guilty. *sigh*


NoRegrets said...

Ok, I've been donating since I moved. I'll look into the seasonal volunteer stuff for now, and then move on to something else...

Jonah K. Haslap said...

Sigh. It's so frustrating when people post stuff like this -- I mean, you actually use this space to do some good for the world! That's so inappropriate. Blogs are for free therapy! :)

That said, I agree with your post, on all levels.

NoRegrets said...

What's happened to you???