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Serve your country

Most of us have heard of this famous quote recited by President John F. Kennedy during his 1961 inaugural address: "And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. "  On  March 31, 2009 by a vote of 275-149 Congress passed the Serve America Act which was sponsored by Senator Edward Kennedy, a great man who did many wonderful things for our country.  The Service Act is meant to encourage people to become more involved within their community and expand service opportunities offered to the elderly and low income families.

TIME Magazine did an exclusive interview on President Obama and the First Lady, where they were asked to give their views on the meaning of public service.  As a result of the recession and high unemployment, many people have been hesitant to engage in community service.  Yet, the president believes right now is a great time to get involved, reach out to others, and improve your networking skills.

"Now, I would argue that now is exactly the time where we need more volunteerism, not only because needs are greater, more people are hungry, more people are out of work, more people are falling through the cracks, but when I talk to young people, for example, I say to them now is the time to get experience — since you may not be able to find a job right away — get some experience doing some good for your country, and that will not only be in the interest of the people you help, but it's going to be in your self-interest. You'll get work experience, you'll make contacts, you'll network, you'll expand your community in a way that ultimately will be good for you." - Obama

Despite economic hardships we must not lose hope of the American Dream.  I believe volunteer work  is a great way for us to take the focus away from ourselves and find joy in helping others.   It teaches us to differentiate between the necessities and luxuries in life.  Its a great way for us to humble ourselves and strenghten our friendships with others.

There are many ways you can volunteer and make a difference in people's lives.  For instance, you can join a public service organization such as Habitats for Humanity or the Peace  Corps. You may decide to be a chaperone for your child's field trip.   There is also the option to volunteer at a church event or join a community service club on campus.  Apply for positions at non profit groups, such as Center for a New American Dream, where you can gain experience and interact with amazing people.

I think Michelle Obama stated volunteer work perfectly when she stated, "that's not just something that you do when you're out of work, but it becomes a part of your own culture."  We should never be tired of serving others.  Especially when people such as teachers and the military serve others almost every single day.

Check out the marketplace for more information regarding volunteer work.

Tags: Volunteer

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