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Jun. 07

Jazz-Packed Opening Session Kicks Off Conference

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The 2011 National Conference on Volunteering and Service kicked off yesterday in style with a live marching band ushering in 100 champions of service. These service leaders set the stage for a jazz-packed opening session that celebrated luminaries like civil rights pioneer Ruby Bridges and jazz legend Branford Marsalis, explored the role that service continues to play in revitalizing the city of New Orleans and entertained us with the music of New Orleans including the soulful sounds of Bob French and the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band.

We heard Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s heartfelt thanks to volunteers for helping bring New Orleans back. Laysha Ward, president of the Target Foundation, showed us Target’s great work in the community and ABC News’ Deborah Roberts moderated a spirited conversation with political consultants James Carville and Mary Matalin on the power of volunteerism and the resilience of New Orleans. As Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light Institute, said, “Now, more than ever, we need service champions – super-empowered citizens who are utilizing new, more powerful tools for change. We expect this year’s NCVS to deliver those tools.”

Robert Velasco II, acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, implored us to reach our full potential. “During the next few days, we want to explore ways to increase the impact of national service and join with you in making the strongest possible case for continuing the federal investment in national service.”

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