President Obama unveiled a community service plan today called United We Serve. Obama said there is a need for "sustained, meaningful community service" by Americans.
Philadelphians can take special pride in yet another president's effort to boost community service, since the present-day popularity of service got a big push here back in 1997.
Long before President Obama ever dreamed of reaching the White House - OK, maybe not that long before - the guy that many thought could be the first African American president, retired Gen. Colin Powell, helped launch something called the President's Summit for America's Future.
It was a joint effort with Harris Wofford, former Democratic U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, who headed the AmeriCorps program that dates to the '60s. Their remarkable partnership led to an April 1997 gathering in Philadelphia of several thousands people who talked up community service and participated in dozens of projects around the city and region.
The event helped jump-start U.S. community service back then. The momentum has been carried over and is on display each King Day, when the region does the concept of community service proud.