Hatch: Why the Serve America Act is Such a Good Bill

Special Guest Blog Posting for shAARPsession
By Senator Orrin Hatch
The Serve America Act is truly a bipartisan piece of legislation that enjoys widespread support. I would like to take a few minutes to tell you why it is such a good bill.
First, this bill is 100 percent voluntary. No one in our nation is compelled to give service, and this bill upholds that tradition. What the legislation will do is provide new and expanded opportunities for people who voluntarily decide to participate.
Moreover, given our current economic climate, there is no better time to make this investment in our nation’s future. For every dollar invested in national service, there is anywhere from $1.60 to $2.60 returned on that investment, whether it’s kids being tutored, vacant lots turned into playgrounds and parks, homes being built or aid in the form of disaster relief.
An important aspect of this legislation is its multiplying effect. If the measure of this legislation was solely to provide national service slots for 250,000 individuals, I don’t think we would have that much to be proud of. But these national service participants, who will receive what amounts to a below-poverty-level survival stipend to meet their basic needs, will leverage millions of traditional unpaid volunteers and hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment in the nonprofit sector to tackle some of our toughest challenges.
One of the things I’m most excited about with this bill is that it provides opportunities for people to serve throughout their live, whether they are young adults or senior citizens. The bill includes programs like the Encore Fellowship program that are specifically directed at our seniors and Baby Boomers. I think this bill will put the skills and experience of our older generations to good use and, at this difficult time, this is a resource we should be all be willing to tap.
Ultimately, the success of the programs shall not be measured by the number of people who participate, but by the work they accomplish.

3 Responses to “Hatch: Why the Serve America Act is Such a Good Bill”

    Clifford Stammich said:
    March 26, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Mr. Hatch, first you need to check your grammar “serve throughout their live” what does that mean. Second this is just another way to spend money that we don’t have. There are tens of thousand of people already helping others, why do we need to pay people to help others. Maybe you should make sure that charitable contributions are not eliminate from being eligible for write off on our taxes.

    SJ Iseli said:
    March 26, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    It is perfectly fine, if one feels the desire to volunteer and can justify doing so at no cost to their own survival. But, it is terribly wrong to think that just because a person is retired, they should be expected to work for free.
    Many many seniors are struggling to survive. Some lost their savings in the most recent financial debacle. Some lost a spouse and no longer have that second income. It is not funny to hear of seniors commiting suicide where one resides, because they feel up against the wall, as to how to survive.
    It is not an advantage, when a senior cannot afford their own bills in their home and again be expected to work for free.
    A “volunteer” job is work. It is the same work that a paid person should do or used to do. This economy cannot expect all seniors to be able to “give” again and again for free. If, you want to support such a program, then you are hurting the entire idea that seniors do deserve the dignity of being able to take home a paycheck for services rendered.

    J L Newton said:
    March 26, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    Reminds me a great deal of those old newsreels showing all those blonde headed boys and girls in neat uniforms with a crooked cross on the sleeve high stepping through the streets of Germany a few years back.

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