Points of Light, created by former president George W. Bush, mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world and recognizes individuals who are making a difference through service and volunteerism.
Through four innovative and dynamic enterprises: HandsOn Network, generationOn, AmeriCorps Alums, and Points of Light Corporate Institute, Points of Light helps put people at the center of transforming their communities.
"And today, thanks to those programs and others like them, and thanks to the passion of leaders like President Bush and citizens who found the same passion over the years, volunteerism has gone from something some people do some of the time to something lots of people do as a regular part of their lives", said President Obama in the East Room of the White House in a ceremony that recognized Bush and recipients of the distinguished honor.
Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton received the award for their work in countries like Tanzania and here in the United States where they created a non profit program called Outreach, which distributes free meals to hungry children worldwide. To date, the program has distributed more than 233 million meals.
The ceremony recognized young people who made a difference in their communities. One student began an outreach program designed to aid people who needed glasses but couldn't afford them, while another youth started a college scholarship program in an effort to reach back after having received a scholarship to college, despite his early child hood challenges.
The president announced a new task force, with representatives from Cabinet agencies and other departments across the government, to invest in finding ways to "better support national service". Areas of focus will include ways to improve schools, helping the country recover from disasters, and mentoring kids.
Said former president Bush on the occasion, "It’s like coming home for Barbara and me with the rest of you just coming to this magnificent house and being greeted by this superb hospitality, knows no bounds."
Nelson Mandela Day of Service