As we watch the swollen Mississippi River flow through to Louisiana, we are reminded how much this region has endured over the last years. We are also prompted to think about the extraordinary lessons the people of Louisiana and the Gulf region have to teach us about disaster response and the important role service and civic innovation can play in recovery and growth.
At Points of Light Institute and the Corporation for National and Community Service, we are making final preparations for the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, June 6-8, in New Orleans. We will hear from “service champions” from the region like civil rights heroine Ruby Bridges, who integrated the New Orleans schools, and famous Louisiana musicians like Branford Marsalis. ABC News correspondent Deborah Roberts will moderate a discussion between political commentators Mary Matalin and James Carville on one of the things they can agree on – the importance of service in New Orleans’ recovery from Hurricane Katrina.
We also have some of the most interesting leaders from all three sectors – nonprofit, government and corporate – joining us to inspire and equip participants with new ideas for civic impact and innovation. Darell Hammond, whose book “KaBoom!: How One Man Build a Movement to Save Play” is currently number four on the New York Times best seller list, will share lessons from his journey as a social entrepreneur. Other innovators like Teach For America founder Wendy Kopp, Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, and Bob Woodson, a recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal for his establishment of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, will share their lessons learned.
We will also hear from private sector leaders including Cliff Burrows, president of Starbucks Coffee U.S., Ken Sternad, president of the UPS Foundation, Robert Pease, president and CEO of Motiva Enterprises,and a long list of others. Leading thinkers like Peter Sims, author of “Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries,” will showcase how to take risks and fail “smartly,” while Wes Moore, whose best-selling book “The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates” chronicles two similar boys on vastly different paths, will talk about how young people can redirect their lives.
Finally, we will hear from public leaders like Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and retired U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, both of whom will be welcomed by our hosts, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and his wife Cheryl.
To complement our themes of celebration, entertainment and inspiration, we have a stellar line up of performances including legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Percy Sledge; Grammy Award-winning musician Chris Thomas King; actor and activist Rosario Dawson and appearances by nationally recognized actors, chefs and media personalities. Our closing session, “New Orleans – and a Nation – Say Thank You,” will honor the individuals, organizations and programs that are proving that service solves problems, will be hosted by comedian John Oliver from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”
On top of all of the learning and entertainment opportunities, we will also be giving back to New Orleans and its communities through the Road to the Gulf, sponsored by HandsOn Network and University of Phoenix. We will use the time, talent and resources of up to 700 NCVS participants and local volunteers to revitalize 25 parks and recreation centers across the city of New Orleans in the days surrounding the conference. Additionally, our Immersion Learning Sessions will allow attendees to visit amazing locations throughout the city where civic innovation is creating change.
We hope you will join Points of Light Institute and the Corporation for National and Community Service for this exciting, educational and inspiring event. If you have not yet registered take 200$ off by using code DISC22011! Please visit www.VolunteeringandService.org for more information.
Yours in Service,
CEO, Points of Light Institute
Co-Founder, HandsOn Network