Rosa DeLauro

Supporting Global Youth Service Days - May 5, 2009

Rosa DeLauro
May 05, 2009— U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC
Congressional floor speech
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Madam Speaker, I rise in support of this Resolution Honoring and Supporting the Goals and Ideals of Global Youth Service Days, held earlier this spring from April 24 through 26. With this resolution, we recognize the contributions that young people make to their communities and our Nation and across the globe.

For generations, during times of great crisis and need throughout our Nation, Americans have stepped up and served their country and their communities. Today, with soaring unemployment, stagnant wages, rising health care costs, and the financial market in crisis, this is one of those moments. To confront its dire challenges, we have an urgent responsibility to act, but no one person or single solution will fix this crisis alone. If we are serious about getting our Nation back on track, we must give everyone the opportunity to do their part, especially young people, our next generation of leaders.

Global Youth Service Day is a public awareness and education campaign led by Youth Service America, with the National Youth Leadership Council and the Global Youth Action Network, highlighting the valuable contributions that young people make to their communities all year long.

The goals of Global Youth Service Day are to mobilize youth as leaders in identifying and addressing the needs of their communities, to support youth in community service and civic engagement, and to educate the public, the media, and the policymakers about the year-round contributions of young people to their communities.

On the weekend of April 24-26, young people across the United States and around the world designed and carried out community service and service learning projects in areas ranging from literacy and mentoring, to the environment and energy conservation, to hunger and homelessness; 75 local and statewide Lead Agencies, 150 national partners, 50 international organizations crossing old boundaries, building new partnerships.

In addition to the tangible and positive results these projects have on our communities, research shows that sustained participation in community service and service learning leads to increased levels of academic achievement and increased civic engagement among our youth.

Last month, President Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, expanded AmeriCorps, changing the face of national service as we know it. I am proud that a number of the initiatives I introduced to engage middle school students in service were included in the bill and enacted into law.

Ultimately, it is all about the asking. People want to be asked to serve, and it is already paying off at a time when more Americans than ever are ready to help those left vulnerable by this devastating economic downturn. In the past 5 months, the Corporation for National Service has received 48,000 online applications, up 234 percent over the 14,000 applications it received during the same 5-month period a year ago.

Shirley Chisholm said that, ``Service is the rent that you pay for room on this Earth,'' and that is true no matter what your age or place in this world.

This is a transformational moment in our history. And so today, with efforts like Global Youth Service Day and amazing opportunities like it every day around the world, we hope to mark a new beginning, ready to meet the responsibility again to the greater good and to our shared community.

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