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Thoughts from the National Conference on Volunteering and Service

I was privileged enough this week to be able to attend the National Conference for Volunteering and Service, held in New York City.  As the founder of a nonprofit called The Volunteer Family, I have been involved in this arena for years and this was not the first time I have attended and/or presented at this conference.  However, this year it was unlike any other, with more than 5,000 participants and an incredible group of presenters from the nonprofit, corporate, and government sectors.

One of the highlights of this event was seeing Arne Duncan again, whom we first met in Washington DC as Mom Congress Delegates.   Secretary Duncan spoke about education being the most pressing issue facing America today.  He spoke about education as the great equalizer and the need for education reform.  However, the comment that impacted me the most was in reference to parent involvement.  He said “Teachers can’t do this by themselves.  It is when parents and teachers work together that great things happen for children.”

If you are reading this post, you are probably a very involved parent and/or educator.  And thank you for that.  But, if we have a chance at passing real education reform, we need to work not only for the future of our own children, but also for the future of all children.

Each and every person that I met this week taught me something.  They are all making a difference in the lives of others, in their communities, and in the future of this country. And as a committed, creative, self-directed group, we can too.

Heather Jack is the Massachusetts Mom Congress Delegate and the Founder of The Volunteer Family and The Future Philanthropists program.