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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 21, 1998




Volunteers enrich our lives every day with their generosity and compassion. In recent months, we have witnessed the extraordinary response of America's volunteers to the plight of those who have suffered from the severe weather plaguing much of our country. In communities devastated by mud slides, ice storms, flash floods, or tornadoes, volunteers have opened their hearts and homes to offer shelter, hot meals, building materials, and -- most important -- the hope and support that people desperately need to begin putting their lives back together. This spirit of citizen service has deep and strong roots in America's past, and by nurturing this spirit we can help to ensure a better future for our Nation.

Just one year ago, at the Presidents' Summit for America's Future in Philadelphia, I called on all Americans to dedicate their volunteer efforts to the well-being of our children and to make the social and educational development of our youngest citizens a national priority. Thousands of individuals and organizations across America pledged their support for this effort; and today, we can be proud that more than 93 million Americans are regularly volunteering to help hundreds of thousands of children in need, serving as leaders, mentors, tutors, and companions. Through their hard work and generous response, this growing army of volunteers is making our streets safer, our schools better, our children healthier, and our future brighter.

We must not only preserve this remarkable spirit of citizen service, but also expand it. By emulating our Nation's many unsung heroes -- from the 12-year-old in California who distributed dolls to disadvantaged children, to the businessman in New York who created one of our country's first school-to-work programs -- we must strive together to build a society free from crime, poverty, illiteracy, and hopelessness. And by making citizen service the shared experience of all Americans, we can build a sense of common responsibility for our future.

This week and throughout the year, let us salute all those who devote their time and talents to the betterment of our communities and the well-being of our children. Let us honor the work of the thousands of voluntary, civic, religious, school, and neighborhood groups across our Nation who do so much to serve their fellow Americans and improve the quality of life for us all. Let us also recognize and support the efforts of the Corporation for National Service and its programs -- AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve America, and the National Senior Service Corps -- as well as all the organizations, communities, and individuals who have responded to the Presidents' Summit call to action and are following through on the work begun there.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 19 through April 25, 1998, as National Volunteer Week. I call upon all Americans to observe this week with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities to express appreciation to the countless volunteers among us for their commitment to service and to encourage the spirit of volunteerism in our families and communities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-second.


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