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Letter to the Senate HELP Committee in support of the SERVE Act

March 18, 2009

Dear Senator:

The National Education Association, representing 3.2 million educators across the nation, urges your support for the Serve America Act (S.277) as introduced by Senators Kennedy and Hatch.  This important, bipartisan legislation, scheduled for mark-up in the HELP committee this week, would call generations of Americans to serve and volunteer in areas of national need.

NEA supports the goal of this legislation to provide Americans with real opportunities to serve their communities.  Particularly in these troubling economic times, community service can play a critical role in rebuilding and strengthening areas in need.  In addition, participation in community service can provide real-world experience that will help educate and prepare today’s youth and displaced workers for new job opportunities.
We are particularly pleased that the bill would create a number of programs targeted to our nation’s youth, including:

  • The  “Engagement Zones to Strengthen Communities” program, which would engage students and out-of-school youth in service-learning addressing specific challenges faced by their communities;
  • The “Campus of Service” program, providing institutions of higher education with exemplary service-learning programs the funds to assist their students' pursuit of public service careers; and
  • The “ServeAmerica Corps” program, funding national service in low-income communities and including an Education Corps to improve student engagement, achievement, and graduation rates.

These provisions will help engage more youth in volunteerism, empower them with the tools they need to lead, and put them on a path to a lifetime of service.

Again, we urge your support for this important legislation. 


Diane Shust
Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody
Manager of Federal Advocacy