Could National Service Be the New Super Glue?

Americorps In past weeks, I've heard two keyonte speakers stress their belief that national service could go a long way to fix what ails America's youth.  One was David Gergen ( see yesterday's post from the Changing Our World Philanthropy Summit) and the other was Hodding Carter III (award-winning journalist, former State Department spokesman, and past president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation) who gave the keynote at the Nonprofit Times Top 50 Power and Influence gala in DC. 

Both referenced how their generation benefited from military service  in which classes and races of men shared a common experience.   These days, Gergen said, there exists a "...double decker society in which those with money sit on top and those without sit on the bottom.  They never mix."

According to Gergen and Carter, the antidote would be mandatory national service for all youth ages 18-24.  AmeriCorps and City Year ("a proud member of AmeriCorps") have worked steadily over the past decade to demonstrate "proof of concept" for taking this idea to scale.  For a wealth of resources and information on what appears to be a growing movement, check out the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse.

Susan Herr

Posted at 2:44 PM, Nov 02, 2006 in Youth | Permalink | Comments (1)


Mandatory service... isn't the whole premise behind the value of this service is that it's voluntary?

And to Gergen's point that there exists a "...double decker society in which those with money sit on top and those without sit on the bottom." What do you think will happen? Poor people will serve in soup kitchens, build houses, clear littered roadways, or serve in the armed forces, and rich kids with connections will get gigs at urban nonprofits. Wait, that's what happens now...

Sorry, color me skeptical.

Love this blog, by the way. Referred by Phil at Gifthub.

Posted by: Madmunk