Sunday, December 07, 2008
What’s Your Big Idea for Change in America?
President-Elect Obama says he wants to hear ideas from all Americans, so the good people at Change.org are taking him up on his offer. At a newly launched part of their website, you can submit their ideas for how to change America, discuss these ideas with others, and vote for your favorites.
You can vote for as many ideas as you like. After all the voters are in, the "Top 10 Ideas for America" will be presented to the Obama Administration on Inauguration Day. Change.org will then build a national campaign to advance each idea in Congress, marshaling the resources of Change.org and their dozens of partner organizations and millions of combined members. This includes organizations as diverse as MySpace, Campus Progress, the Energy Action Coalition, Good, Public Citizen, the SEIU, the ASPCA, and many more.
What's so exciting about this project is that it provides a democratic way for individuals to promote their ideas for how to change this country and bring them to the attention of the new president in a powerfully public manner.
I hope you'll check out the site, and consider voting for my idea, "Expand AmeriCorps!" I also hope you'll consider voting to create a Department of Peace and help support the important efforts of the Student Peace Alliance.
You can check out my idea HERE. I hope it can receive your vote!
Here's why I think this is such an important idea:
Currently, 75,000 Americans every year participate in AmeriCorps programs like City Year, Teach For America, Vista, NCCC, and other essential programs that are providing critical services to needy communities across the country and giving a new generation of young Americans the opportunity to strengthen the civil bonds of our democracy. Even more remarkable is how cheaply this is done; current AmeriCorps funding is less than $900 million a year, total. The benefits of giving Americans a chance to serve their country radically outweigh the costs. In addition, service is a wonderful way to give young people the resources they need to go to college.
President Obama should keep his promise to expand AmeriCorps to 250,000 members a year by immediately pushing to increase its funding, instituting a "health corps" and a "green corps," and giving a major speech in which he personally solicits young people to make a commitment to filling these slots. More than ever, Americans desire the opportunity to serve their country; President Obama must make that a priority immediately.
Labels: Activist, AmeriCorps, Change, Change.org, Ideas, Inauguration, Peace, Service, Students
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In addition to putting more citizens in service, we need to prepare our future leaders for positions in government and politics.
That is why I believe very strongly in the United States Public Service Academy.
I am an AmeriCorps (City Year) alumna and currently I work with young people on the United States Public Service Academy's Youth Advisory Council in Virginia. These young people (High Schoolers, Collegians, and even Law and Grad students) are working together to pass the United States Public Service Academy (USPSA or Academy) bill.
"The U.S. Public Service Academy will be an undergraduate institution devoted to developing civilian leaders for the public sector. Modeled on the military academies, the Academy will offer four years of tuition-free education in exchange for five years of civilian service following graduation."
Speaking to these young leaders about their vision for America is inspiring and reminds me that young people really can change the world. I'm continually impressed by the power and initiative this generation shows by taking part in organizations and causes to better America.
I absolutely agree with Cristina. The USPSA is an idea whose time has come. Please give it your vote as well!
I think there is a fairly good chance of seeing action on the USPSA soon, seeing as many of Obama's senior advisers or Cabinet members (Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel or Secretary of State selectee Hillary Clinton to name just two) are such big supporters of the Academy. The Academy is something that is very easy to get involved with and a great way to try and create some positive change with regards to service. I know I would have applied there if the option had been available when I was applying to college.
It is clear that this country needs an institution like the U.S. Public Service Academy. It is also very clear that the young people of this country want to serve their nation, and USPSA would allow them to do so without the headaches associated with student loans. What I love best about USPSA is that it will give those who are looked over for service a chance to fulfill their civic duty at top leadership positions following an intensive educational program. Military academies are over 85% male and the fact is, not all of us want to serve in the military. We deserve a top-ranking education as well and the chance to do our country right.
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