Bill may improve perceptions of America

By June 18, 2007

USA (MNN) — In late May, a group from World Hope International attended a briefing on the Global Service Fellowship Program bill. 

The briefing came just after it was introduced in the Senate. Debbie Hoover, World Hope International's Hope Corps director; Rachel Drevlov, Hope Corp's assistant; and Amber Hirschy, a Hope Corps volunteer, attended. 

Hoover was a part of the Brookings Institute work group that proposed the bill. After the briefing, she was later able to share her volunteer experiences in congressional meetings. 

The proposed bill would distribute $50-million to 10,000 Americans volunteering overseas each year. Each volunteer, registered through a qulaified NGO, faith-based organization, or university service learning program, would receive an average of $5,000 for their trip. Trips would be between one month and one year, and services must include work related to development, capacity building, skill-transfer, or cross-cultural communication.

The money would cover travel, program costs, and minimal living expenses. The bill claims that if passed, it will enhance American knowledge of forces beyond their borders and strengthen habits of citizenship and service.

Improving perceptions abroad of Americans is another benefit it suggests will result. The bill notes a Terror Free Tomorrow poll that says 60-percent of Indonesians and 75-percent of Pakistanis, which are mostly Muslim nations, had a more positive view of the United States due to the humanitarian aid they offered after the tsunami and earthquake. 

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