Voluntary National Service

SeniorsCAN calls upon all Americans to urge the states to establish a voluntary national program for youth focusing on domestic service to their country.

We believe it is the responsibility of youth, ages 17 – 21, residing in this country to actively devote a portion of their lives to community-based public service.

We believe the focus of such public service should be public education with youth assisting teachers, K through 12, through programs established by the states in conjunction with the federal government Our theme is a national program at the local level administered by the states.

We believe, through state and federal financial assistance, colleges, universities, and vocational schools, both public and private, should establish programs to lower tuition in relationship to the national service rendered in the schoolroom by participants in the program. The exact nature of a program should be established on a state-by-state basis with the assistance of collegiate and vocational educators.

We believe a voluntary national program has the potential to reduce the cost of higher education and/or vocational education for young people, while assisting public schools in their daunting challenge to educate the young. As a positive result, we believe the participants will gain a greater sense of self-worth and national pride through their efforts to help others.

We fully recognize the difficulties of setting up and administrating such programs. This would be an ambitious initiative with associated monetary costs, but we believe it is the right thing to do. It is time to harness the energy and idealism of young Americans. Again, we urge all Americans to take up this laudable task.

5 responses

  1. I believe that this type of program is long overdue. There have been programs such as the Peace Corp, Teach for America, AmeriCorps, and others that have had a lot of experience in designing programs for the long term. Also, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Findland, Norway, and others have had civilian service programs of various kinds. They have trained participants in education, healthcare, disaster response, environmental protection and other community services.

    To make a program successful would require realistic incentives. In addition to tuition help for one or two years service, the participants would receive job training skills that would increase the likelihood of better employment opportunities. The participants should also be paid something, which would be better for our unemployed youth than sitting around and not moving on in their lives in a productive and constructive way.


  2. I have long held that giving people money for dong nothing (i.e. welfare programs, etc.) has led the nation into a people of entitlement due them whether they contribute to society or not. For a few generations, now, Americans seem to have lost the industrious work ethic which made us prosper.

    Rather than giving people a welfare check for which they have no obligation to render service or anything of a positive nature to the society that is feeding them, why not let them earn and, thus, appreciate what they get. An argument against having women, especially, stay home and raise a child on donations from the government, I propose putting everyone to work rendering such service of which they are capable. Child care centers could be opened with a few professionals per center and welfare mothers helping with the care of the children under the direction of the professionals. For this they would receive a wage. Others would thus be freed to render public service for pay which they earn.

    Since we don’t have enough employees to clean our streets and parks, doesn’t it make sense to have people without jobs dong this for the amount of remuneration they would receive from welfare alone? Even those on unemployment and disability could do something. I know that we pay into disability and unemployment. What is wrong in limiting payment up to the amount contributed and then having the unemployed work for society? Even those with a disability can contribute even their contribution consists in answering telephones.

    People complain about illegal immigration. Immigrants do not leave the comfort of their familiar surroundings to come to a strange land with a strange language because they want to. They come to work in menial jobs citizens, because of their entitlements to government assistance, refuse to do.

    As to volunteer public service, I agree with previous comments about having college students defray some of the costs of attending college by working at helping others. What a crime to laden college goers with the burden of huge loans that they will probably be unable to pay back. Why don’t we “pay it forward” by giving students experiences in helping their fellow human beings for a better tomorrow both for the K-12 students whom they help and for the college students who are learning that we are a people who help others?

  3. laurie mazzarella | Reply

    I love the idea. Any ideas how this might be instituted or regulated? The concept sounds great to me; however, I am wondering how the practical application would look. Would love to hear thoughts on this.

    1. I think that it will take wealthy people and organizations to push these ideas. The little people do not have the resourses to embark on a sustained campaign. However as more of us think about this and talk about it, the better the chances of the media and then the politians will take notice. Our group is going to gather E-mail addresses of politicians and the media and start E-mailing them relentlessly. Any other thoughts out there on how to spread these ideas?


  4. I think it would be great for colleges to require service for graduation and for the business world to offer incentives for employees who donate time to the community.

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