Founded in 1993 by three college students, Project America is a 501(c)(3) orgnization headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, that inspires and teaches people to take positive steps in their communities, and creates partnerships between volunteers and organizations that need them. The volunteers empowered by Project America have performed millions of hours of community service valued at tens of millions of dollars.
Specific Project America activities include Radio Reaching Out (RRO) for Capstar Broadcasting, one of the nation’s largest radio networks. Created in 1998-99, RRO utilizes Capstar Broadcasting stations to link volunteers with community organizations. RRO has been extremely successful, generating more than 2.5 million service hours valued at more than $32 million. Alternative Spring Break is another Project America activity that engages participants in a weeklong service experience to help a community in need through service. Evenings are spent in leadership development sessions. Participants leave the Alternative Spring Break with a concrete plan to lead their home campuses in effective community service.
Project America fosters a sense of connection through service. Its programming is designed to meet the four needs of community assistance, education, leadership development, and social responsibility. From restoring houses to teaching inner-city children to read, Project America motivates others to address pressing local needs. Project America fosters dialogue about pressing social needs so that each volunteer understands his/her role in the framework of social change and community improvement. Project America believes the leadership potential in youth is overlooked or underdeveloped. Project America programming helps volunteers develop skills to lead others in positive community action. Project America develops socially responsible adults by targeting this audience to create a lifetime dedication to community improvement.
Project America approaches every problem as an opportunity. The program works in partnership with the community to define mutual goals to meet their needs. Project America also empowers individuals and develops leaders through service. Young people, particularly high school and college students, are an untapped resource – Project America involves youth in the solutions to real problems in real-world situations.
Project America mobilizes volunteers in two ways:
- Through work with corporations, universities, large member organizations, national and local nonprofit organizations, and communities to connect those who do community service with those who need volunteers
- Through education and empowerment of the individual volunteer. Project America teaches volunteers how to lead effective service learning programs.
Project America follows up with project leaders and educates volunteers on the importance of ongoing service regularly. Recognizing that no community service effort is problem-free, the Project America staff helps volunteers find innovative and effective solutions to their service questions.