WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- President George W. Bush officially welcomed new members of the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation to the White House today. During the Roosevelt Room meeting, the President talked about his vision of a culture of service and compassion in America, and he challenged Council members to be "ambassadors" for volunteer service. The Council, which President Bush established by Executive Order in January 2003 and renewed last year, brings together leaders from the worlds of business, entertainment, sports, education, government, nonprofits, and the media to promote and recognize outstanding volunteer service and to raise awareness of the many ways in which Americans can help meet the vital needs of their communities through civic engagement and service. The 21 Council members are: Stephen Baldwin - Actor Art Linkletter - Entertainer Jean Case - Case Foundation, Mary Jo Myers - Gen. Myers' President Wife/USO Ray Chambers - Philanthropist Michelle Nunn - Hands On Network, Gerald Colangelo - Sports Executive Executive Director Evern Cooper Epps - UPS Foundation, Cokie Roberts - News Journalist President Michael W. Smith - Recording Artist Myrka Dellanos - News Anchor/ Wendy Spencer - Volunteer Florida, Journalist, Director Univision Network Roxanne Spillett - Boys & Girls Hilary Duff - Recording Artist, Actor Clubs, President Sara Evans - Recording Artist Hope Taft - First Lady of Ohio Darrell Green - Former NFL Star, Charles Turlinski - Limited Stores, Community Leader President Patricia Heaton - Actor Mark Yudof - University of Texas Kasey Kahne - NASCAR, Rookie of the System, Chancellor Year Biographical material on each of the members is available at http://www.volunteer.gov. "These Council members were selected for their strong track record of volunteer service," said Desiree T. Sayle, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of USA Freedom Corps. "During their term on the Council, they will work to complement the USA Freedom Corps' mission by promoting volunteer service and by working, in their respective sectors, to expand that uniquely American spirit of neighbor helping neighbor, whether they live down the street or across the country." Before meeting with the President and being sworn in by White House Chief Legal Counsel Harriet Miers, the Council discussed strategies to encourage more Americans to give back to their communities and country through volunteer service. "It's not too often that an Emmy Award winning actress, NASCAR's Rookie of the Year, and a university president come together to discuss policy in Washington, D.C, but that's what happened today, and I'm looking for great things from this outstanding group of Americans," said Kari Dunn, Executive Director of the Council. In its structure, the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation is patterned after the successful President's Council on Physical Fitness. Its mission, however, is to encourage "civic fitness" among all Americans. One of the first priorities of the Council was to establish a volunteer recognition program. Since 2003, the Council has recognized more than 311,000 Americans with the President's Volunteer Service Award. Information about the Awards program is available at http://www.presidentialserviceawards.gov. "Citizen service is key to solving the challenges of today and of the future, from the continuing needs of youth to the aging of America," said David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the Council. "These public servants are role models for millions of Americans in their 'day jobs,' and we hope they will also serve as role models in their commitment to giving back to their communities." To help spread their message, each member of the President's Council will be recording a radio public service announcement that encourages their fellow Americans to give back to their communities. The "Make a Difference: Volunteer" campaign aims to demonstrate the importance of volunteering and the impact it can have not only on those who receive volunteer services, but also on volunteers themselves. The radio ads, a number of which are available at http://www.volunteer.gov, will begin running later this month. The Corporation for National and Community Service provides opportunities for Americans of all ages and backgrounds to serve their communities and country through three programs: Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America. Together with the USA Freedom Corps, the Corporation is working to build a culture of citizenship, service, and responsibility in America. For more information, visit http://www.nationalservice.gov. In his January 2002 State of the Union Address, President Bush called on all Americans to make a difference in their communities and across the globe through volunteer service, and he created USA Freedom Corps, an office of the White House, to help Americans answer his Call to Service. Visit http://www.volunteer.gov or call 1-877-USA-CORPS to find an existing volunteer service opportunity and to find more information about volunteer service programs.
SOURCE USA Freedom Corps; Corporation for National and Community Service