National Service is still in the headlines and getting lots of coverage, which is great. Time magazine’s cover story is “How Service Can Save Us” and just a couple of days ago Michael Gerson, opinion writer for the WSJ, published this piece ,”National service can heal a divided nation”.
The Times piece highlights a great organization called Mission Continues that offers service fellowships to returned veterans to work on service projects. Service can actually help returning veterans who suffer from ptsd, depression or are struggling with adjustments from amputations or other wounds. Studies have shown that service positively impacts heath and psychology, lowers depression and gives people a sense of purpose.
Michael Gerson in his opinion piece speaks to the divided political climate the country is currently facing. Gerson writes,
“How then does a democracy cultivate civic responsibility and shared identity? …A rite of passage in which young people — rich and poor, liberal and conservative, of every racial background — work side by side to address public problems would create, at least, a vivid, lifelong memory of shared national purpose.”
It is exciting to see so many people rally behind the idea of national service. There is certainly the demand with Peace Corps, Americorps, Teach for America, all receiving record number of applicants. Realistically, it is an uphill battle to legislate anything on the scale of universal service but it is a great idea, one that would benefit the participants and the country.