After the Sept. 11 attacks, then-President George W. Bush created the USA Freedom Corps in an effort to connect Americans with more opportunities to volunteer. He asked Americans to devote two years, or 4,000 hours, to volunteer service. The government launched the volunteer.gov Web site as a way for Americans to find millions of volunteer opportunities.
Aside from bringing new volunteer opportunities to light, the USA Freedom Corps also aimed to help strengthen a number of existing national service programs, like Citizen Corps, the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps. President Bush also created the President's Volunteer Service Award - an honor open to all Americans. He also started the Presidential Greeter Program to recognize volunteers in cities throughout the country [source: Police Volunteers].
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 64.5 million people volunteered in 2004, an increase of more than 5 million from 2001 [source: B 2 Journal]. The population of the United States hovers right around 300 million, so that means more than 20 percent of its citizens volunteered their time to help others. It wasn't only adults, either. The Bush administration also launched the Volunteer Kids Web site, which encourages children to spend time helping others.
When Barack Obama took office in January 2009, he decided to dissolve the USA Freedom Corps and restructure the volunteering program. So Volunteer.gov is now known as Serve.gov. But although the corps doesn't exist anymore, its spirit lives on. Read on to find out about the Obama administration's reorganization of government-sponsored volunteering.