View Header


                     Office of the Press Secretary
                           (Cologne, Germany)
For Immediate Release                                      June 17, 1999


SUBJECT: Strengthening Our Commitment to Service Through

Voluntary Opportunities

Volunteer community service is a great American tradition and a profound expression of the civic values that bind us together as a Nation. Nowhere is the spirit of volunteerism more alive than among employees of the Federal Government, thousands of whom serve their country with dedication at work and as volunteers in their local communities. On April 22, 1998, I directed Federal departments and agencies to expand community service opportunities for Federal employees by making maximum use of existing flexibility in work scheduling policies. Today, I am encouraging all departments and agencies with operations in the District of Columbia to apply those policies so that their D.C.-based employees can take advantage of a vitally important community service opportunity: helping D.C. public school students become better readers this summer.

From June 28 through August 6, an estimated 30,000 D.C. school children with low test scores will be in mandatory enrichment summer school programs run by the D.C. Public School system. Students whose scores do not markedly improve risk being held back a grade. This is part of the District's ambitious plan to end social promotion while also giving children the extra help they need to meet higher standards -- the kind of positive reform I have called on all school districts to adopt. As the District's largest employer, the Federal Government has a unique opportunity to help children improve their scores and rejoin their classmates this fall.

That is why I am pleased that the Corporation for National and Community Service is assisting Federal departments and agencies in recruiting 1,500 Federal employees to become volunteer reading tutors through the D.C. Reads This Summer program. Employees who choose to sign up with D.C. Reads This Summer will receive training and be able to work one-on-one with students once a week for 6 weeks at one of 32 schooland community-based tutoring sites around the city. I encourage departments and agencies that have not already done so to inform employees of this rewarding volunteer opportunity and assist where possible in transporting employees to and from the sites. I also ask that you continue to encourage and support employees who choose to volunteer through other community programs. In addition to D.C. Reads, there are many excellent programs being run through libraries and religious and community centers throughout the D.C. area. Finally, I encourage you to maintain or strengthen any preexisting partnerships that your department or agency may already have with D.C. or other local school systems.


# # #