I attended a meeting today about Obama's "United We Serve" campaign, which is currently gaining traction in Knox County with non-profits and grassroots groups connecting with volunteers interested in coordinating their own service projects or supporting those already in existence.
The campaign will run from June 22 through September 11, 2009, and the four focus areas are: promoting clean energy, energy efficiency and public land restoration; supporting education and literacy for all Americans; increasing health care access, public health awareness and prevention; and providing community renewal to areas hardest hit by the economic crisis.
The meeting this morning at United Way, the agency coordinating the local committee, brought together 70 or so local government, nonprofit and service groups to brainstorm a plan for our community, which is a model county for the program nationwide. Some ideas that were mentioned included: planting community gardens, assisting with clean-up of blighted properties, identifying county-owned properties that could be converted into community gardens or public space and assisting with clean-up to meet codes, reading to children, mentoring and tutoring, organizing bike trains and walking school buses for elementary school students in your neighborhood, planting trees, a "Share the Health" day on Market Square Sept. 11, conducting audits of your home's energy use on the KUB website, donating books, bikes and seeds to benefit the three focus areas, working with seniors to promote health and exercise... it was a great brainstorming session with lots of neat ideas.
Visit http://www.serve.gov/ for more information, to create a project, find a volunteer opportunity or lend your support and ideas.