Thursday, April 23, 2009

Calling on Americans to volunteer









Obama urges citizens to undertake national service

WASHINGTON—Calling on Americans to volunteer, President Barack Obama signed a $5.7 billion national service bill Tuesday that triples the size of the AmeriCorps service program over the next eight years and expands ways for students to earn money for college. "What this legislation does, then, is to help harness this patriotism and connect deeds to needs," said Obama, a former community organizer in Chicago.



"It creates opportunities to serve for students, seniors and everyone in between," he said. "And it is just the beginning of a sustained, collaborative and focused effort to involve our greatest resource -- our citizens -- in the work of remaking this nation."

Joining Obama was Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who has been battling brain cancer. Kennedy championed the legislation with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and the bill was named in honor of the Massachusetts Democrat.

Kennedy told the audience that included former President Bill Clinton, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former first lady Rosalyn Carter that Obama's efforts echoed those of his late brother, President John F. Kennedy.

"Today, another young president has challenged another generation to give back to their nation," Kennedy said, citing his brother's advocacy for the Peace Corps.

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