The 2012 National Conference on Volunteering and Service, which took place in Chicago June 18-20, provided more than 5,000 citizen leaders with the opportunity to learn, connect and be inspired through more than 100 plenary sessions, workshops, special events, service projects and more. Convened by Points of Light, the Conference is the leading volunteer sector gathering, providing service-minded citizens with an environment to share and cultivate new ideas, discuss challenges and work together to create solutions through the power of people.
Five-thousand Conference attendees filled the opening plenary, "A New Generation of Service," returning to the city that hosted the first National Conference on Volunteering and Service in 1992. President Barack Obama highlighted the great American tradition of service shining in each and every service leader in the room and encouraged all to keep striving to create change. Former first lady Barbara Bush was joined by her grandchildren, Pierce Bush and Lauren Bush Lauren, along with other dignitaries including Dr. Jill Biden and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who stressed that it is impossible for government to reach its goals without the power of service. Actor and SixDegrees.org founder Kevin Bacon added star power to the lineup of presenters including U.S. Army veteran J.R. Martinez, MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry and Points of Light Chairman Neil Bush.
Other highlights included Target's "Solving America's Education Crisis" plenary with Soledad O'Brien, Arne Duncan and Alberto Carvalho; Chase's "Seeds for Change" service program that included four community garden builds; Billion + Change's "Inspiring Change through Skills Based Service"; "Exploring Service for Military Members and Families" with ITT Exelis, youth making their mark, HandsOn Action Center storytelling, awards presentations and so much more.