Inauguration Begins With Day of Service

As Barack Obama prepares for his second term as President, Americans from across the country are taking part in a National Day of Service.

I had the opportunity to attend the celebration right in our nation's capitol! People living outside of the Washington D.C. area were able to celebrate the National Day of Service also, since the inaugural committee organized volunteer events in every state.

When I first arrived on the National Mall in Washington D.C. for the summit, I was greeted with a "Passport to Service" that contained a list of organizations seeking volunteers in different categories. The seven groups included: Health, Education, Community Resilience, Economic Development, Veterans & Military Families, Faith and Environment. The mock passport was the first step in a journey of service. Individuals also took part in the National Pledge to Service, where people of all ages committed to strengthening their community. There were nearly 100 tables where non-profits displayed their mission. I received various informational packets for organizations that are making an impact from solving hunger to rescuing abandoned dogs. Walking through the crowds of people made me smile, because we were all there for one reason: to serve others. I was surrounded by passionate change-makers and the positive energy was truly undeniable.

Eva Longoria, who you may recognize as Gabrielle Solis from Wisteria Lane on the TV show "Desperate Housewives," joined Chelsea Clinton at the event. The women were among many familiar faces who attended and spoke at the summit. Chelsea served as the National Day of Service Honorary Chair this year.

Later in the day, I headed over to the D.C. Armory for the Unite America In Service Event to fill care packages and write letters to armed forces. Some of the recipients include United States soldiers, veterans and wounded warriors. My assigned shift was 12:00 - 2:30 in the afternoon. As I was standing in a line that wrapped around the National Guard Armory, an event coordinator said they were processing 3,000 volunteers per shift, with a goal of 100,000 care packages completed by the end of the day. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, joined the festivities as well and participated at the D.C. Armory.

Although the National Day of Service has come to a close, you can still join the movement of service anytime by volunteering for a cause you care about.