Posted by: Kristin | March 19, 2009

Obama’s Call for Volunteerism – Consider A Gap Year Abroad

One of top stories this week relates to Obama’s efforts to spark a new movement of volunteerism in America.

There is legislation before the US House of Representatives today that would triple the size of the AmeriCorps program and create fellowships for people 55 and older and a separate Summer of Service program for middle and high school student volunteers.

Furthermore, the students in the new summer program would earn a $500 education award to help cover college costs.

This visionary call for service from our President and hopefully supported by Congress is a very exciting development and speaks to American’s strength and tradition of volunteering (which, incidentally, is a not always a widespread practice in other parts of the world.

The sense of supporting community and family may be stronger in other cultures, but volunteering outside of community/family is especially strong in the US).

It is always in the act of service and “giving back” that we are reminded of our own blessings; our compassion for “the other” grows; and we ensure our sense of connection to humanity and the entire world!

In the same spirit, we at OneWorld Now! are advocating on behalf of institutionalizing the “Gap Year” in America, where young people would have access to participating in a year of service abroad, between high school and college.

This “Gap Year” tradition is well established in the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, etc. I will be writing more much more about the “Gap Year” soon.

But for now, I mention this as the nation heeds the call the SERVE and VOLUNTEER…may we also consider the expanded possibility of service abroad in the form of a Gap Year!

NPR: House to Vote on National Service

New York Times Article Re: Gap Year

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