From Points of Light Institute President, Michelle Nunn. hmm, will Seattle join the list?
This has been such an extraordinary week, and today marks a true moment of triumph and humility for those of us who have been energized and re-inspired by the power of service to change the world, transform ourselves and transform our nation.
Yesterday I had the great honor and privilege of participating with New York’s Mayor Bloomberg and other leading mayors in the launch of Cities of Service, a bi-partisan coalition of mayors from across the country who will work to engage millions more Americans in service.
The initiative was catalyzed by the tremendous example of Mayor Bloomberg who has created an extraordinary blueprint for service in the City of New York. These 17 mayors pledged to commit millions of citizen service hours and to use volunteerism as an active part in social innovation in our communities.
HandsOn Network is proud to be one of the national nonprofit partners with ServiceNation and AARP and others who can work with mayors and other city leaders to scale service and deepen citizen impact. This momentum builds on the longstanding work of our HandsOn Network Action Centers who serve as partners and resources to Mayors and cities.
• In Nashville, Mayor Karl Dean, HandsOn Nashville and the health department have collaborated to recruit and train 4,000 volunteers who can activate Points of Dispensing in case of an H1N1 or other medical outbreak.
• My own hometown, Atlanta, has increased its parks and green space by nearly one-third with the help of volunteers. The city’s ultimate goal is for all city residents to live within a mile of a city park. Mayor Shirley Franklin has joined thousands of volunteers in making this goal a reality through organizations like Hands On Atlanta and Park Pride.
• In Sacramento, Mayor Johnson has encouraged every resident to volunteer a minimum of 10 hours by the end of December 2009 to reach the goal of 500,000 hours of service valued at 10 million dollars. To date, Hands On Sacramento and community members have logged 418,118.29 hours — an economic contribution of over $8 million.
• Even mayors of small towns, like Marilee Chinnici-Zeurcher in Dublin, Ohio, are making service a priority by creating service coordinators and organizing projects that connect citizens to city priorities. Marilee is also the executive director of FIRSTLINK, a HandsOn Network Action Center.
Millions of Americans are answering the call to serve; many more will answer the cry of city leaders and trusted entertainers. Our work is to harness that energy-create an army of volunteer leaders, improve the quality of volunteer projects, increase skilled opportunities for service and re-write the service landscape as we know it. It is a daunting challenge and a great one. I hope you will join me in supporting these efforts.