A Message from the Secretary: Announcing President Obama's Call to Service

I am writing to tell you about an exciting new summer service initiative created by the Corporation for National and Community Service in coordination with the White House, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and other federal agencies.  Earlier this week, in a video message, President Obama officially announced the initiative, United We Serve, encouraging Americans to create meaningful change in their communities by participating in service projects throughout the summer. The United We Serve initiative will launch on Monday, June 22, at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service and will run through the new National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11.

To kick off United We Serve, on Tuesday morning, I will participate in the “Reach Out and Read” early literacy program and will read to children at a local health center in Takoma Park, Maryland. You can learn more about the United We Serve initiative and gain all the tools you’ll need to participate by visiting the Corporation’s website, Serve.gov.  Please visit the site today, if you haven’t already, to post your own volunteer projects.

President Obama is also calling on Americans to take a leadership role in recruiting and organizing their friends, family, and neighbors to develop their own service projects that address pressing community needs in partnership with local organizations. To assist you, Serve.gov features toolkits for developing projects in health, education, energy and the environment, and community renewal.

In addition, we encourage you to spread the word about United We Serve by:

· Sending a message about United We Serve, including a link to the President’s video, to your distribution lists.

· Putting a link on your homepage to Serve.gov – banners and logos are available at http://www.serve.gov/link.asp.

· Issuing a press release about your participation in United We Serve – a sample release is available here:  http://www.serve.gov/assets/documents/09_0616_sample_release.doc.

· Sharing stories about how your volunteers are making a difference at http://www.serve.gov/share.asp. This website will highlight examples of exemplary service throughout the summer.

This will be a very exciting 81 days.  Of course, the call to service will not end on September 11. Our hope is that those of you who serve in your communities this summer will stay engaged in these important projects year-round. The President has said that we need to build a new foundation for growth in America during these challenging economic times. This new foundation will be built through an ethic of service and the personal commitment of individuals willing to donate their time and energy to create a better future for all of our fellow citizens. We cannot do this alone in Washington, DC. It will take all of us, working together in our communities. I encourage you to join us in this important effort.

Thank you,

Kathleen Sebelius

Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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