March 13, 2002 - Washington Post: Bush Outlines Community Service Goals

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Peace Corps Library: Special Reports: President Bush's Vision for the Peace Corps [2/15/02]: March 13, 2002 - Washington Post: Bush Outlines Community Service Goals

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, March 18, 2002 - 11:44 am: Edit Post

Bush Outlines Community Service Goals

Read and comment on this story from the Washington Post that goes into detail on how serious President Bush is in identifying government obstacles to community service and working to break them down.

An interesting sidenote is that the President plans to hold a town meeting on national service at the University of Michigan on April 8, whee John F. Kennedy first discussed his idea for the Peace Corps as a Presidential candidate in 1960. Read the story at:

Bush Outlines Community Service Goals*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Bush Outlines Community Service Goals

By Mike Allen

Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, March 13, 2002; Page A27

PHILADELPHIA, March 12 -- President Bush challenged his Cabinet members and agency heads today to identify government obstacles to community service, then promised to work to break them down.

The assignment is part of Bush's effort, announced during his State of the Union address in January, to persuade each American to perform at least 4,000 hours of volunteer service over a lifetime.

Giving the officials a 30-day deadline, Bush instructed them to create an inventory of community service opportunities sponsored by their departments, then list "regulatory and programmatic barriers" to service along with recommendations for modifying or eliminating them. "Sometimes we've got a process-oriented world; we ought to be a results-oriented world," he said. "We ought to care less about rules and regulations, and more about how we're helping people help themselves."

Bush, speaking at a theater full of community leaders at a performing arts center here, unveiled a 104-page "Record of Service" that he hopes will "bring a little discipline into your volunteer service." Many pages are headed with inspirational quotations from noted public figures, from Fred M. Rogers of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" and Bush's father to Winston Churchill.

The president said that when he first saw the booklet, he "envisioned kind of an interesting diary that can be passed from one generation to the next." The booklet is available at, the Internet home of USA Freedom Corps, the organization he created in January to coordinate national service programs. "Just dial up the Web site," Bush coaxed. "If you're interested in recording, not only for yourself, but recording for your family or a child, perhaps, what you've done to make America a better place, this is a good go-by."

In January, Bush also encouraged Americans to dedicate two consecutive years to full-time service. John M. Bridgeland, director of the USA Freedom Corps, told reporters today that Bush's challenge is "not a federal mandate." He said the administration has been "getting all sorts of pledges from nonfederal, nonprofit organizations, corporations, nonprofits, foundations, service organizations."

A major part of Bush's plan is an expansion of AmeriCorps, the Senior Corps and the Peace Corps -- all under the umbrella of his USA Freedom Corps -- as well as the creation of a Citizen Corps for homeland defense and emergency preparedness projects. Even the president got a bit tangled in the terminology. "You know, AmeriCorps has got 50,000 AmeriCorps-ians," Bush told one of the volunteers selected to join him for an onstage conversation. "We hope to have 75,000 -- at least the budget calls for an increase of 50 percent in AmeriCorps corps."

The groups said Bush's call has increased interest. AmeriCorps said it has been getting a weekly average of 336 online applications since the speech, up from 225 the year before. The Peace Corps reported receiving 1,672 complete applications since the speech, up from 1,365 for the same period in 2001.

Bush's effort to increase funding for the federal service organizations was preceded by a plan for an even larger expansion of AmeriCorps by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Evan Bayh (D-Ind.). On April 8, the two plan to hold a town meeting on national service at the University of Michigan, where John F. Kennedy first discussed his idea for a Peace Corps as a presidential candidate in 1960.

Bayh, chairman of the Democratic Leadership Conference, said the Sept. 11 attacks have produced tremendous support for national service that he hopes to harness despite budgetary pressures. "I'm delighted the president has embraced the idea," he said.

Bush began the day with toddlers at a West Philadelphia homeless shelter that relies heavily on volunteers -- performing the hand motions to the "Itsy-Bitsy Spider." Bush fashioned a two-handed spider, then made the motions for "crawled up the water spout" and "down came the rain," and made the crossways "washed the spider out."

"Up came the sun," and up came the president's hands. But "dried up all the rain" seemed to confound him, and he folded his hands in his lap.

© 2002 The Washington Post Company

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