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Be 'Points of Light,' Bush Urges Public : President Outlines Volunteer Program to Fight Social Ills

June 22, 1989|From United Press International

NEW YORK — President Bush proposed a $100-million national volunteer program today, urging all Americans to become "points of light" by helping their communities fight homelessness, hunger, drug abuse and other problems.

In a speech to New York civic leaders, Bush officially outlined his four-year program "to join hands and link hearts, to light up the American sky." Led by New Jersey Gov. Thomas H. Kean, it will encourage citizens of all ages as well as businesses and other institutions to work harder against social ills.

"Today I ask all Americans . . . to make service central to your life and work," the President told about 1,200 members of the civic organizations called New York Partnership and Assn. for a Better New York.

"I'm here today to ask that all sectors private and public . . . join this great movement to extend national service into every corner of America," he said. "For it is a movement, bold and unprecedented--not a program, not another bureaucracy."

Bush is asking Congress for $25 million annually for four years to endow the Youth Engaged in Service to America program, dubbed YES, through a foundation that would seek another $25 million a year in matching private funds.

Campaign Phrase

"We call this catalyst the 'points of light' initiative," Bush said, reviving the campaign phrase he used to describe volunteers. "(It is) a foundation of which I will serve as honorary chairman and that will help make our movement a reality."

The foundation, overseen more directly by Kean and a national board of directors, would seek to give training and technical assistance to programs based on successful volunteer models nationwide.

Bush has often made a point of his own volunteer service, ranging from sponsorship of a Little League baseball team to involvement with the United Negro College Fund to donations of old clothes to charities.

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