Sitting in a giant white tent on the National Mall, Randolph J. Punley spent most of Saturday looking for volunteers.
He came to the right place. During the second National Day of Service, thousands of people from across the country gathered in the nation’s capital to learn more about volunteering.
Punley, who works at the United Way, was working on a project to enlist one million young volunteers to “help turn around the nation’s 58 percent high school drop-out rate.”
“Everyone can do something,” he said.
Nearly a hundred service organizations were gathered at the event, grouped into seven themes: education, faith, health, veterans, environment, economic development and community resilience. President Obama started the event at his 2009 inauguration and it is partly organized by his inaugural committee.
The event attracted a number of families with kid-friendly arts and crafts, paintable murals and free school supplies.
For many non-profit groups, that was helpful for their goals of recruiting the next generation of activists.
Among them was Quay Dorsey, a program associated at Public Allies, a non-profit headquartered in Washington which helps recruit and develop young community leaders.
“Today allows us to look for people willing to work from the ground up and recruit passionate, young leaders,” he said. “It is important to promote leadership to our youth.”
Other groups were just looking for kids interested in their programs.
Lindsey Jewell was promoting the 4-H, a youth group that focuses on building skills.
“Say your child is interested in photography or playing an instrument, we will pair them up with someone who specializes in that field,” she said.