The last of American troops in Iraq are coming home over the next few days. Over the past nine years, hundreds of thousands of troops have been sent abroad to Iraq. As we mark the end of America’s involvement in the war in Iraq, President Obama has asked Americans to show our veterans and their families that they have the thanks of a grateful nation.
Joining Forces is a national initiative to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned. You can find service opportunities, pledge service hours, or write a message of thanks or support to a military family.
Learn ways to get involved through the Joining Forces campaign.
Veterans Day honors all those who served their country. Each year there is a national ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery and several regional ceremonies throughout the country. Find a ceremony near you.
Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, DC, and Shanksville, PA. Please observe a moment of silence on September 11 at 8:46 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time to honor the victims.
The anniversary is a day to remember those we lost, and to stand with their families and loved ones. It’s a time to honor all victims of terrorism, including those who have been targeted by al Qaeda and other groups around the globe.
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, many Americans were compelled to serve their fellow citizens and communities. As a tribute to that spirit, this Sunday will be the third official National Day of Service and Remembrance. This year, more than 1 million Americans are expected to serve in their communities. Service projects range from food drives and home repairs to neighborhood cleanups and disaster preparation activities. You can find volunteer opportunities in your town at Serve.gov.
Learn more about commemorative services and what you can do to honor the victims of the 9/11 attacks.
Research released by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service also shows that Generation X (born 1965-1981) served 110 million more hours than ever before, giving them a 2010 grand total of 2.3 billion volunteer hours.
The states with the highest volunteer rates were:
- South Dakota
You can get involved by finding volunteer opportunities in your community, including for the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance, at Serve.gov.
To find more statistics on American volunteering, visit volunteeringinamerica.gov.
Summer camps and summer school are not the only stimulating activities young people can do to have a productive summer. Another attractive option is to do volunteer work.
There’s no shortage of opportunities nationwide to do charitable work, from food banks and clothing drives, to community emergency preparedness and health events. No matter what you choose, it’s relatively easy to join a group of people working for a good cause.
Below you’ll find some of the resources available, whether you are looking to join a charitable group, create your own volunteer project or participate in long-term volunteer work.
How to Become a Volunteer
There are plenty of opportunities to do volunteer work, and Serve.gov is a great place to start your search. This is a website created by the federal government as part of a nationwide initiative that seeks to promote community service.
Serve.gov can help you:
- Search for volunteer opportunities by topic of interest and geographical area
- Learn about volunteer work available in your community
- Get contact information for organizations seeking volunteers
- Share your experience with others
How to Create Your Own Volunteer Project
You can also create your own volunteer project tailored to the needs of your community. This might be a good opportunity for parents and children to share a positive and stimulating activity.
Serve.gov has several toolkits to help you create a community campaign such as a food bank. The guides offer step-by-step instructions on how to build your own community project.
These toolkits can teach you how to:
If you start your own project, you can also use Serve.gov to promote your initiative and to look for volunteers.
Long-Term Volunteer Work
For some, volunteering is a commitment that goes beyond the summer. There are federal programs that offer volunteer work both in the United States as well as in foreign countries:
- AmeriCorps is a network of domestic volunteer programs that features full time volunteer work in different parts of the country. Here you’ll find opportunities in the areas of urban and rural development, infrastructure improvement and emergency assistance
- Peace Corps offers full-time volunteer work in other countries for periods of about 27 months. Volunteers get to work in different areas of interest and in several parts of the world