Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) today announced the introduction of their “Service for All Ages” initiative, a group of four bills that will expand and strengthen opportunities for Americans of all ages to serve their communities. The initiative includes the Semester of Service Act, the Summer of Service Act, the AmeriCorps: Together Improving Our Nation (ACTION) Act, and the Encore Service Act.
“Similar to the call to serve a purpose greater than themselves first put forward by President John F. Kennedy, Americans are once again being asked by their President to serve their country. And I can think of no time in recent history when it was more desperately needed—as 10,000 families lose their homes every day and 20,000 families lose their jobs,” said Dodd. “While our challenges are great, I am confident this initiative will help ensure that dedicated Americans of all ages are there to meet them.”
Sen. Cochran said: “Volunteering to help others can change not only the lives of those who are being served but also those who are serving others. The bills that Sen. Dodd and I have introduced in the Senate today will help provide opportunities for people of all ages to give back to their communities and the world around them.”
“Service is about mutual responsibility to our nation, our community and one another – and it has been at challenging times such as these, that Americans have stepped up to serve their country and their communities. It is a challenge President Obama has made to all of us,” said DeLauro. “With this initiative we are helping to fulfill that commitment and provide the tools to make service possible and to make a difference.”
The Service for All Ages Initiative includes:
· The Semester of Service Act will give students in their junior or senior year of high school the opportunity to spend a semester participating in community service-learning for academic credit.
· The Summer of Service Act will create a competitive grant program that enables states and localities to offer students making the transition from middle to high school an opportunity to participate in a structured community service program over the summer months.
· The ACTION Act will not only help many young people realize their dreams of going to college, but will also allow them to afford it by updating the AmeriCorps Education Award to reflect 15 years of college tuition increases.
· The Encore Service Act will take advantage of all older Americans have to offer communities by providing stipends and educational scholarships to citizens 55 years of age and older who volunteer their time and dedicate their knowledge to help communities in need.