WASHINGTON, June 26, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Serve America Together — a campaign to make national service part of growing up in America — kicked off today with a challenge to the 2020 presidential candidates. The campaign is challenging all presidential candidates to commit to make national service a priority in their first 100 days in office and to release bold plans to expand and transform national service in America. Over a dozen leading military and civilian service organizations joined together with campaign co-chairs Gen. Stan McChrystal, Arianna Huffington, Andrew Hauptman, former Gov. Deval Patrick, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Laura Lauder to call on the candidates to prioritize national service.
"Today, we are calling on 2020 presidential candidates to come up with bold new ways that young people can Serve America Together," said (Ret.) General Stan McChrystal, Chairperson of Service Year Alliance. "As we head into an election year, it is clear that young Americans won't settle for rhetoric. They are turning to our future leaders for real answers to our most pressing problems. We believe that national service can be a pathway to a more equal, more united, and more civically engaged country, and we are enthusiastic about challenging every 2020 presidential candidate to bring national service opportunities to scale."
Many of the candidates including Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Seth Moulton, and Jay Inslee have already mentioned national service on the campaign trail as a way to combat climate change and the college affordability crisis, and to protect our public lands. Serve America Together is encouraging all of the candidates to answer the campaign's presidential challenge directly and commit to make national service an inclusive, equitable, and universal opportunity.
"National service has the potential to transform our country. From fighting the opioid epidemic to conserving the environment, harnessing the energy of generations of young Americans can help solve some of the biggest problems facing our country," said Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global and co-chair of Serve America Together. "Not only can national service lift up communities, it can bring people from small towns and big cities together with a common goal. Now is the time to be ambitious in our call to action and bring this idea to life."
The Serve America Together campaign aims to build awareness, engage presidential candidates, empower communities, and work with Congress to pass legislation that will make national service a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans.
"As the next generation looks for ways to stand out to employers in an increasingly competitive economy, they should look no further than national service," said Andrew Hauptman, chairman of Andell Inc., co-chair of Serve America Together, and national Trustee of City Year. "National service programs like AmeriCorps allow young people to develop the critical workplace skills that employers value. Young Americans of all backgrounds should have the opportunity to serve our country and develop these essential professional and leadership skills. Serve America Together aims to make this vision a reality."
"Today's politics of division and disdain works because we don't know each other," said former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, co-chair of Serve America Together. "Whoever the successful candidate will be, the 2020 presidential election is a signature chance for America to choose a path that draws us together, to learn to face and to solve our challenges by turning to each other, instead of on each other. I believe universal national service can be that path."
"Less than one percent of the population currently serves in our military — that's too few Americans who share the responsibility of our collective freedom. I'm proud to be a part of the Serve America Together campaign to change this story," said former Sec. of Defense Robert Gates, co-chair of Serve America Together. "Serving our country — whether in the military or as a civilian — has the power to strengthen our nation and unify our citizens."
Serve America Together is comprised of a groundbreaking coalition of military and civilian service organizations that will lead the way to make national service part of growing up in America. Coalition members include The Mission Continues, Veterans for American Ideals, States for Service — an initiative of America's Service Commissions, The Corps Network, YouthBuild USA, Voices for National Service, National Peace Corps Association, Catholic Volunteer Network, America Forward, Repair the World, America's Promise, and Warrior Scholar Project.
"The National Peace Corps Association is delighted to join with Service Year Alliance and our friends in civil society in support of the Serve America Together campaign," said Glenn Blumhorst, President and CEO of National Peace Corps Association. "From neighborhood challenges to international upheaval, we believe that national service is the solution. Our citizens deserve an opportunity to serve their communities and country, and the dearth of high-impact service programs wastes the patriotic drive of Americans who want to improve the world around them. Together we can make tangible impacts for the greater good by answering this call to service."
"At The Mission Continues, we are on a mission to help veterans continue their service by connecting them to under-resourced communities. We've proven the power of veteran-led, collective action to address challenges in schools, neighborhoods and parks," said Mary Beth Bruggeman, US Marine Corps veteran and Vice President, Program Strategy, The Mission Continues. "And we're honored to be a strategic partner in Serve America Together to build a movement of national service. Service to our country is core to a veteran's identity — this campaign demonstrates it can be part of every American's identity."
"Catholic Volunteer Network believes in the transformative power of full-time, faith-based volunteer service. Empowering volunteers, fostering meaningful relationships, and strengthening communities through service transforms people and our world," said Yonce Shelton, Executive Director of Catholic Volunteer Network. "With the Serve America Together campaign, Service Year Alliance is allowing partners to be part of an important conversation and effort — the campaign is giving focus to the vision and strengths of many. We are committed to working with the coalition to increase the impact of volunteer service and to transform even more lives."
For more information about the Serve America Together campaign visit serveamericatogether.org.
About Service Year Alliance
Service Year Alliance is working to make a year of paid, full-time service — a service year — a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans. A service year before, during, or after college gives young people the chance to transform their lives, make an impact in their community, and become the active citizens and leaders our nation needs. Expanding service years has the power to revitalize cities, uplift and educate children at risk, and empower communities struggling with poverty. Learn more at ServiceYear.org.
SOURCE Service Year Alliance