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Yesterday, Opportunity Nation and Service Year Alliance hosted cross-sector leaders and young adults to talk about How National Service Impacts Opportunity for the second in our "Restoring the American Dream" event series.

We heard from individuals who are currently in service programs and how individuals from urban and rural communities dedicate their time and energy to impact their communities by working on disaster, health care, education and many other areas of community life. General Stanley McChrystal (Retired), Founder of McChrystal Group and Chairman of Service Year Alliance, and Representative Hal Rogers (R-KY) shared how they’ve seen service affect individuals and ripple out into communities.

We also heard from: Serena Bruce, Project Manager, GRID Alternative Mid-Atlantic (AmeriCorps Alumna); Maxine Davis, AmeriCorps VISTA, ServiceWorks; Rob Gordon, President, Be The Change, Inc.; Whitney Parnell, CEO and Founder, Service Never Sleeps (AmeriCorps Alumna); Mike Posko, CEO of Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity; Monique Rizer, Executive Director, Opportunity Nation; Daniel Robles-Olson, Fellow, Service Never Sleeps (Peace Corps Alumnus); Shirley Sagawa, President and CEO, Service Year Alliance and Founder, Service Year Exchange; and Nicole Steele, Executive Director, GRID Alternative Mid-Atlantic (AmeriCorps VISTA Alumna).

National service programs are a powerful vehicle to create opportunity for young people to develop skills and launch their careers. Service can also serve as a powerful accelerant in bridging the opportunity divide and lifting families out of poverty. We look forward to continuing to push toward our goal to have one million Americans serving within this next decade.

Special thanks to Senator Patty Murray’s office for their support of the event and their work towards opportunity for all.

Check out a few highlights below, see more of the conversation on Twitter with #OurOppNation or visit our Facebook page to watch the event in its entirety.

  • "As a group, we have responsibilities for each other but we don’t even know each other. Think about how often people from one zip code never interact with another zip code. We do what is comfortable. We tend to not like people we don’t know and see things through our own narrow lens. When you get out in the world where it’s very different from what you know, you realize your lens may not have had the peripheral vision necessary to understand how things really are more broadly. That shared experience [of service] is something we need but we don’t always do it." - General McChrystal
  • "If you take the time to listen to community needs, you can use your skills to more effectively and accurately help them and have a greater impact." - Daniel Robles-Olson
  • "My service allowed me to find an industry and job I'm passionate about, and jumpstarted my career. AmeriCorps helped me build confidence and see my own potential, leading me to empower communities through education, volunteerism and partnership." - Serena Bruce


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