Change Notes: New Orleans Success and Looking Ahead
The 2011 National Conference on Volunteering and Service (NCVS) was a tremendous success thanks to the 4,600 champions of service who came together to share solutions, best practices and lessons for achieving greater community impact.
This year's conference showed that when we come together to learn from one another, act collaboratively and work in concert, we can create powerful change.
During our time in New Orleans, we rededicated ourselves to the work of changing communities through the power of people. We were inspired by the stories of super-empowered citizens - those who speak for our sector to the world and those who quietly create change in their own communities.
Civil rights activist Ruby Bridges told us how service enriches not only our communities, but also our own souls; Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and retired U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen discussed the importance of shared responsibility in the wake of disaster; CNN's Soledad O'Brien inspired us to help children achieve more academically through simple, thoughtful outreach, one child at a time; political consultants Mary Matalin and James Carville discussed how service transformed their hometown; we were entertained by extraordinary musicians from Branford Marsalis to Percy Sledge; and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu emotionally and powerfully thanked the service community for helping his city recovery and encouraged us all to never flag in our commitment to creating change.
The conference provided 170 distinct sessions that equipped us with fresh ideas, tools and inspiration to move forward in our efforts to create meaningful change in our communities. With the help of hundreds of volunteers, we left our own mark on New Orleans - revitalizing 25 parks and recreation centers and restoring the city's green play spaces. This effort culminated the six-month Road to the Gulf initiative to activate service leaders and inspire 10,000 volunteers to action.
Building on the excitement and momentum from New Orleans, it was announced Points of Light Institute will convene the 2012 NCVS in Chicago, June 18-20.
In response to the current fiscal environment, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has asked Points of Light Institute to take on full responsibility for convening next year's conference.
CNCS will strongly support the 2012 conference by encouraging attendance, hosting workshops and engaging stakeholders in support of national and community service. In addition, CNCS and Points of Light Institute will continue to collaborate on initiatives to promote and recognize service and volunteer leaders.
The year ahead will be full of challenges for the service movement and we will have to work hard together to overcome the obstacles ahead. I hope that Chicago will be a celebration of many victories. We are excited about re-imagining the Chicago conference to keep pace with the dynamism and energy of the service sector. We look forward to your ideas about next year's conference and to the opportunity to come together to learn, connect and be inspired.
Yours in Service,
CEO, Points of Light Institute Co-Founder, HandsOn Network