Thursday, April 19, 2018
News Roundup

Obama fulfills pledge to encourage community service

In 2008, candidate Barack Obama promised to encourage community service through online outreach and social networking.

According to Obama's campaign materials, that meant creating "a comprehensive, easily searchable web presence with information about service opportunities, and a full strategy to ensure that people interested in opportunities can find them. This will essentially be a craigslist for service."

More than four years later, President Obama's administration has kept up its efforts on the pledge.

First, we'll note that federal statistics suggest that volunteer work is alive and well under Obama. In 2011, 64.3 million Americans did volunteer work through an organization, up by 1.5 million compared to 2010.

In all, Americans volunteered nearly 8 billion hours, with a majority of Americans volunteering in some fashion and more than one-third actively participating in a civic, religious or school group.

The focus for this effort has been the website Serve.gov, run by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service. The site includes a blog, a search function to find volunteer opportunities by type and location, and ways to share personal volunteering experiences and to post your own project so other volunteers can join it.

The website also directs visitors to a Facebook page and Twitter feed, both of which, like the blog, appear to be updated frequently.

Not every aspect of this lengthy promise is reflected in the website — we didn't find a way to track individuals' hours of service, for instance — but Serve.gov appears to support the vast bulk of a pledge made during the 2008 campaign.

We rate it a Promise Kept.

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