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A National Day of Service

Vice President Joe Biden, center, works with volunteers, filling care kits with necessities for deployed U.S. service members, wounded warriors, veterans and first responders, joining the National Day of Service as part of the 57th presidential inauguration in Washington, January 19, 2013. Army Capt. Cesar J. Visurraga, US Army Nurse Corps, is at left. [AP Photo]

About the Author: Doris Robinson serves as a program officer at the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Press Center.

As a program officer with the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Press Center, I help make sure foreign journalists reporting on the United States have access to U.S. government officials and receive information on U.S. foreign policy. Today, I had the opportunity to share with a group of foreign journalists one of America’s greatest traditions — volunteerism.

On a cold, brisk Saturday morning, the journalists and I joined volunteers from all walks of life at the D.C. Armory, where individuals were assembling personal care kits for U.S. service members, first responders, and wounded warriors. Grandmothers, students, families, and military veterans were united together at the armory, as they participated in this National Day of Service project to honor the… more »

How To Build a ‘Happy Memory’—Volunteerism at Work in Zimbabwe

Ambassador Bruce Wharton shares a laugh with Zimkids Director Tinashe Basa in Zimbabwe, December 11, 2012.  [U.S. Embassy photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Sharon Hudson-Dean serves as Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Americans of all ages, backgrounds, and interests come to Zimbabwe. They come to see the rhinos, elephants, and Victoria Falls; they come as part of church mission groups to build health clinics and schools; and they come to share their expertise and learn from Zimbabweans at all levels. Many American visitors end up doing a lot more than what they planned, motivated by the strong American sense of taking action when faced with a needy situation, as well as a personal desire to change situations for the better. At the U.S. Embassy in Harare, we often hear about these proactive, engaged Americans and are proud that they accomplish so much on their own. When possible, we support them with advice, publicity, and small grants.

"I wanted to make a happy memory," explains Dennis Gaboury, the founder… more »

Advancing Community Cooperation on Environmental Issues in the Dominican Republic

Grupo de Sonido de Capotillo, a local percussion group, impresses the crowd using nature-themed music and recycled products during their performance at the third annual Green Fair in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, September 9, 2012. [U.S. Embassy photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Krystle Norman serves as Economic/ Environment, Science, Technology, and Health Officer at the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic.

On a blazing hot day, eager exhibitors hurried across the fairgrounds, where they were adding the final touches to the myriad of booths and displays. Flocks of anxious kids arrived proudly swinging their bag of recyclables in one hand and dragging their parents with the other hand to an eye-catching van used by storm chasers. After surveying the crowd and the layout of the fair, I was overwhelmed with a sense of relief; three months of planning had paid off for us. With no rain in the forecast and everything in place, the Green Fair was ready to begin on the grounds of the National University of Pedro Henriquez Urena (UNPHU) in the Dominican Republic.

Last summer, U.S. Embassy Santo Domingo’s “Green Team” celebrated the third annual Green Fair, which attracted more than 850 adults and children and brought together the public and private sector to address eco-friendly… more »

Deputy Secretary of State William Burns delivers remarks at the 2012 State Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad (SOSA) and Eleanor Dodson Tragen Award Ceremony at the U.S. Department State in Washington, D.C. on December 4, 2012. A text transcript can be found at http://www.state.gov/s/d/2012/201496.htm.

Young People Mobilize for Global Youth Service Day

Youth volunteers clean the streets in Misrata, Libya, June 12, 2011. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Ronan Farrow serves as Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for Global Youth Issues and Director of the State Department’s Office of Global Youth Issues.

This weekend marks the 24th annual Global Youth Service Day. In 100 countries, across six continents, young people between the ages of 5 and 25 will participate in their communities, leading grassroots projects in health, education, service, human rights, and the environment. In the past year, young people have played an unprecedented role in transforming their realities — unseating repressive regimes, championing democracy, and innovating in technology, science, and business.

The United States wants to see the story of youth empowerment told for years to come. That’s why, to tap the potential of this remarkable generation, we’ve built Embassy Youth Councils in nearly 40 countries. Each council convenes a cross-section of local young people on a regular basis to discuss shared challenges — developing new policies and initiatives that reflect their concerns and ideas.… more »