Remarks to Youth Service America

*** As Prepared for Delivery ***

"Senator Wofford, thank you very much.  It is an honor to receive the Wofford Public Official Award, and especially to receive it from you, one of those who were responsible for establishing both the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps.  You have demonstrated your deep commitment to public service for many years.

"I would like to also thank Ken Bartels, Chairman of Youth Service America; Alma Powell, Chair of America's Promise Alliance; the representatives of State Farm who are here today; and the board members and staff from the Points of Light Foundation and Youth Service America.  You are all extraordinary men and women.  Your personal commitment to public service and your efforts to ensure that America's youth have the opportunity to share and learn from public service opportunities must be commended.

"Being chosen to receive the Harris Wofford Public Official Award is a great honor.

"We know that youth who volunteer are more likely to do well in school and graduate, and less likely to engage in behaviors that put their future at risk.  It is important, therefore, that Congress encourage such public service, and recognize the contributions that these remarkable young people make to their communities each and every day.  These are incredible young people, who share their energy, creativity, and hard work in order to make a positive difference in the lives of others. 

"In Alaska, here are just a few of the contributions that youth from every corner of our state have made:

  • produce and show a docudrama that simulates a drunk driving collision and help educate their peers about the dangers of drunk driving;
  • promote personal responsibility for wellness that focuses on youth with behavioral health problems;
  • helping the elderly at the local hospital;
  • raising money for youth activities and easing community tensions;
  • including people with disabilities in social activities;
  • coordinating canned food drives;
  • working with Native elders to retain Alaska Native boat making skills;
  • restoring salmon habitat;
  • giving teens a forum to discuss political issues;
  • helping students with disabilities excel in physical education; and
  • educating the public about domestic violence while advocating for justice and change.

"With young people like these, ladies in gentleman, our country's future is in good hands. Thank you."

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