America has a long and proud tradition of volunteer service. Volunteers make a commitment to help others and forge new connections that bring us closer together as families, as neighbors, as communities and as a nation.
In his 2002 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush issued a challenge to all Americans to make time to help their neighbors, communities and nation through service. He called on each person to dedicate at least 4,000 hours – or two years – to service throughout their lives. He created the USA Freedom Corps to help all Americans answer his call to service and help foster a culture of service, citizenship and responsibility.
In 2003, President Bush created the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation to find ways to recognize the valuable contributions volunteers are making in our nation. The Council brings together leaders from the worlds of business, entertainment, sports, education, government, nonprofits and the media.
The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation created the President’s Volunteer Service Award program as a way to thank and honor Americans who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service.
Award recipients, depending on the package ordered, can receive the following:
- An official President’s Volunteer Service Award lapel pin
- A personalized certificate of achievement
- A congratulatory letter from the President of the United States
Recognizing and honoring volunteers sets a standard for service to others. It encourages a sustained commitment to civic participation and inspires others to make volunteering a central part of their lives. The President’s Volunteer Service Award, continued by President Barack Obama, recognizes individuals, families and groups that have achieved a certain standard – measured by the number of hours served over a 12-month period or cumulative hours earned through a lifetime.