Robert O'Leary, a 1992 graduate of Hamilton, is among Boston's first recipients of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. According to an article in the Boston Globe, "He began volunteering a year ago with Boston Cares, a Boston nonprofit group that organizes teams of volunteers in and around the city.
'I didn't want to do just one project or focus in on only one area to volunteer in. I wanted to do a lot of projects,' said O'Leary, who tackles four or five volunteer projects every month." According to the Globe article, "Among the criteria for nomination for the Presidential Volunteer Service Awards are creativity and initiative, generosity of time, energy, and resources, and working to build strong partnerships within the volunteer communities." O'Leary received the award on February 9.
According to the President's Volunteer Service Award Web site, "In his 2002 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush issued a challenge to all Americans to make time to help their neighbors, communities, and Nation through service. He called on each person to dedicate at least 4,000 hours – or two years – to service over the course of their lives. He created the USA Freedom Corps to help all Americans answer his call to service and help foster a culture of service, citizenship, and responsibility.
"In 2003, President Bush created the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation to find ways to recognize the valuable contributions volunteers are making in our Nation.
"The President's Council on Service and Civic Participation created the President's Volunteer Service Award program as a way to thank and honor Americans who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. This type of recognition is also designed to set a standard for every American – to encourage a sustained commitment to helping others and a lifelong habit of service.
"The President's Volunteer Service Award was created to recognize the tens of millions of Americans who have made a sustained commitment to volunteer service. The Award is given to individuals, families and groups that have demonstrated outstanding volunteer service and civic participation over the course of a 12-month period.