One response to “Interesting links on service and social capital

  1. Hi Tom,

    I continue to appreciate the focus of your blog, and explicitly came to it to see your take on the national service forum McCain and Obama participated in. Ended up writing a piece on my blog about it (http://election2008options.blogspot.com/) that i thought i’d include a not super-long quote from here:

    “There’s a section in Obama’s service plan PDF (http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/NationalServicePlanFactSheet.pdf) that focuses on the need for a “service-learning” surge. This especially sticks out to me because my mom, who is wonderful in so many ways, has been incorporating service into many of her college classes, and even teaches a course that is explicitly service-learning in nature (in the class they read numerous biographies of leaders such as Ghandi, King, Sister Helen Prejean; they then go out and serve their community for a certain number of hours–maybe I can get her to write a little about her experience with service-learning in the comments section, ay mom?). But, with Obama’s plan, the introduction to his section on service-learning says:

    “[Obama] believes that all students should serve their communities. Studies show that students who participate in service-learning programs do better in school, are more likely to graduate high school and go to college, and are more likely to become active, engaged citizens…The Obama-Biden plan sets a goal for all students to engage in service, with middle and high school students performing 50 hours of service each year, and college students performing 100 hours of service each year. Under this plan, students would graduate college with as many as 17 weeks of public service experience under their belts.”

    As a teenager, that type of service would have changed my world real quick, period. Because of this type of nuanced (and detailed) solution from Obama, and for reasons I’ve posited in this blog (such as the series of posts I did on the values of Obama), I think he is uniquely equipped to provide leadership to move our country into a whole new era of service–not just service to the abstract idea of “country,” but a selfless approach to service as a way to bring about a larger good for the many (opposed to the current prospering of the privileged few, as “income inequality [grows] to levels not seen since the Gilded Age”; quote from: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/08032007/watch.html).”

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