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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                        (Greenwich, Connecticut)
For Immediate Release                                       May 17, 2000

                              May 17, 2000


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. On June 17, 1999, I encouraged all departments and agencies with operations in the District of Columbia to apply those policies so that their D.C.-based employees could take advantage of an important new community service opportunity: tutoring public school students in a program called D.C. Reads This Summer. Over a thousand Federal employees chose to take part, and based on the program's success last summer, I am today inviting Federal employees to sign up for the program again this summer.

From July 6 to July 27, 2000, an estimated 22,000 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 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 or twice a week for 4 weeks at one of 25 school- and community-based tutoring sites around the city. I encourage departments and agencies that have not already done so to find a member of their staff willing to volunteer as a liaison to D.C. Reads This Summer. I ask departments and agencies 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 through-out 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, including tutoring in year-round programs.


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