History of National Service in the United States

President Clinton delivers National Service Address to students at Rutgers UniversityThe Clinton Presidency built on past national service programs when creating its own community service opportunities for Americans.

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Civilian Conservation Corps to provide jobs in environmental conservation during the Great Depression.

“The Civilian Conservation Corps symbolized Government’s effort to provide a nation in depression with the opportunity to work, to build the American community through service.” -President Clinton 3/1/1993

President Clinton delivers National Service Address to students at Rutgers UniversityPresident Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961 as an international volunteer organization offering the assistance of trained people in developing countries. Volunteers in Service to America or VISTA was officially created in 1964 to help communities combat poverty in the United States through education programs and vocational training.

“Brave men and women in my own generation waged and won peaceful revolutions here at home for civil rights and human rights and began service around the world in the Peace Corps and here at home in VISTA.” - President Clinton, 3/1/1993

President Bush participates in the Proclamation Signing Ceremony for Points of Light National Celebration of Community ServicePresident George H.W. Bush launched the Points of Light volunteer movement and signed the 1990 National Service Act to start the modern era of national service. In 1992, the Bush administration created the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) program to help communities recover from disaster and assist with other critical needs.

“There are many things that I, not only as President, but as a citizen, am grateful to George and Barbara Bush for. I'd like to just mention a few today. As President and afterward, he has worked to ensure that A Thousand Points of Light is not merely a striking image, but a lasting legacy. I thank him for that initiative and for co-chairing the President's Summit on Service.” -President Clinton, 11/6/1997

History of National Service in the United States