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A New Age of Volunteerism?

 

In his State of the Union address this past January, President Bush called on all Americans to "commit at least two years—4,000 hours over the rest of your lifetime—to the service of your neighbors and your nation." In particular, he touted the U.S. Freedom Corps and its four branches: the Citizen Corps, the AmeriCorps, the Senior Corps, and the Peace Corps. The speech drew a strong reaction, and many high-profile institutions, including the various Corps, reported a dramatic increase in volunteer inquiries. But has this initial surge in enthusiasm matured into a new spirit of volunteerism in the United States? And more important, will it translate into community support for the small struggling charities that need it the most?