United We Serve!



June 19, 2009

Dear Returned Peace Corps Volunteers:

I am proud to invite you to join President Obama’s summer service initiative – United We Serve – a call to all Americans to join a volunteer effort this summer and be part of building a new foundation for America, one community at a time.

United We Serve officially starts on June 22 and runs through the National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11. Since his inauguration, the President has called on all Americans to serve their communities and be a part of building a better future for our country.

At nearly 200,000 strong, returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) have a tradition of making a difference in their communities by selflessly contributing their skills and experience through their dedication to service. Across America, individual RPCVs and RPCV groups are engaged in grassroots projects like restoring hiking trails in Denver, providing assistance and education opportunities to refugees in San Francisco, and offering volunteer translation services for families with medical emergencies in St. Louis.

The President believes that America’s new foundation will be built one community at a time, through an ethic of service and volunteerism and the personal commitment of individuals willing to give of themselves to build a better future. This is a commitment that is well understood by everyone in the Peace Corps community.

When volunteers commit to long-term service projects in their communities, they build expertise and strengthen their community’s capacity to meet its challenges.  In many places, community-based organizations’ capacity is strained, so we are calling on all RPCVs to take a leadership role in recruiting and organizing their friends, family, and neighbors to bring about the change that is needed. Maybe that is organizing a neighborhood to rebuild a playground, creating a clothing drive, or volunteering to refurbish a local school.

I encourage you to visit www.serve.gov, to find service opportunities near you and to post your own projects. Throughout the summer, the Obama administration will look to highlight examples of exemplary service – both in existing programs and new ones – that meet the President’s call by building a community’s capacity to address our most pressing problems. These stories of service will lay the groundwork for future efforts.

You can learn more about RPCV United We Serve participation and share your own story of service by visiting www.peacecorps.gov/unitedweserve.

I intend to contribute to United We Serve in my local community. I hope you will consider completing a project in yours.

Jody Olsen

Acting Director of the Peace Corps

** reprinted from an email sent to the RPCV Community **