WASHINGTON, DC – To carry President Obama’s call to service to millions of Spanish-speakers, the Obama Administration today launched Servir.gov, a Spanish-language website that makes it easy for Americans to find or organize volunteer projects in their communities.
The website is being launched at the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, when the nation recognizes the contributions Hispanics from all walks of life have made to our country throughout its history. First Lady Michelle Obama will appear in a video highlighting the new site and the importance of service airing during the 2009 NCLR ALMA Awards Friday night on ABC.
“All summer long we’ve encouraged Americans across the country to come together to help strengthen and build the foundation for our nation’s future prosperity one community at a time,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “Service to community is a strong tradition in the Hispanic community, and we hope the new Servir.gov website will help connect more Americans with service projects in their own communities.”
The new website is a companion to Serve.gov, which the Administration launched in June as part of its United We Serve initiative. Both sites are managed by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that administers service programs and is leading the United We Serve initiative.
On Servir.gov, visitors can search for volunteer opportunities in their neighborhood, get ideas for “do-it-yourself” volunteer projects, submit their service stories, or recruit volunteers for their own volunteer efforts. The website features a welcome video in Spanish by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, who reflects on the importance of service during tough times.
“Today our communities have rediscovered the power of service to unite us in a common sense of purpose, and Americans are turning out to volunteer like never before,” said Salazar. “I invite you to join in the President’s United We Serve initiative, and help us show the world the extraordinary things that ordinary people can achieve with the proper tools.”
“The President has made a bold call to service at a time of great need and Americans are ready to respond,” said Nicola Goren, the Corporation’s Acting CEO. “Through the Servir.gov website, we hope more Americans will find ways to give back to their communities and help in our nation’s recovery.”
Goren pointed to new research from the Corporation for National and Community Service that found more than 4.7 million Hispanic adults volunteered through a formal organization in 2008, an increase of 400,000 over the previous year. Hispanic volunteers donated approximately 532 million hours of service, worth more than $10.7 billion to America’s communities.
The Servir.gov website includes a number of features to promote volunteer service:
· Find A Volunteer Opportunity: Visitors can enter their zip code and interests to find local volunteer opportunities from a database of more than 250,000 opportunities across the country. Register Your Project: Organizations or individuals looking to recruit volunteers for their efforts can post their volunteer opportunities (in English or Spanish)
· Plan Your Own Project: To help individuals plan their own projects with their friends, family, or neighbors, easy-to-use toolkits in Spanish are available on projects such as organizing a book drive, creating a community garden, or conducting a home energy audit. Spanish translation provided by AARP.
· Share Your Story: Visitors are invited to share how they are making a difference through service
To help make the site more robust, the Corporation for National and Community Service is asking organizations that are looking for Spanish-language speaking volunteers to submit volunteer opportunities in Spanish and English by visiting Serve.gov.
The United We Serve initiative was conceived as a way to directly involve Americans in tackling problems in their communities. While any kind of volunteer service is encouraged, the effort focuses on five key areas education, health, energy and the environment, community renewal, and safety and security. The effort comes at a time of strong need and momentum for service, as the economic downturn puts more Americans at risk and increases the demand for social services. At the same time, many nonprofit groups are experiencing a ‘compassion boom’ of increasing volunteers as Americans reach out to help their neighbors. United We Serve aims to tap this growing interest and focus it on addressing specific community needs.
“The challenges we face are unprecedented in their size and scope, and we cannot rely on quick fixes or easy answers to put us on the road to recovery,” said President Obama in announcing United We Serve. “Economic recovery is as much about what you’re doing in your communities as what we’re doing in Washington – and it’s going to take all of us, working together.”