2002 Forum Explores Impact of National Service Programs on Youths, Seniors and Rural Development

Conference on the future of national and community service in the U.S.

The International Center for Innovation in Civic Participation, Washington, (now called Innovations in Civic Participation) conducted a two-day forum in May 2003 to stimulate new thinking about the future shape and purpose of national service.

Getting Things Done: The Impact of National Service on Critical Social Issues, held May 15–16, 2003 in Washington, explored the impact of national service in three areas:

  • Youth development during after-school hours.
  • Independent living for senior citizens.
  • Rural development.

Key Recommendations
Conference attendees generated the following recommendations in each of the three issue areas:

Youth Development and National Service
National service programs should:

  • Help more individuals who volunteer with youth development programs to consider careers in the field.
  • Encourage better coordination among in-school and out-of-school programs.

Rural Development and National Service
National service programs should:

  • Create targeted development goals (human capital, community infrastructure, small businesses, etc.) for rural areas.
  • Support teachers in rural communities.

Independent Living for Seniors and National Service
National service programs should:

  • Design a public relations campaign that highlights both the current crisis in independent living and all of the research showing that volunteerism works in this area.
  • Make the "business case" for why this is a critical issue and how value is added through volunteer service.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) contributed $35,000 to the project from May 2002 through July 2003.

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