A new public service announcement from the entertainment and media world says a college education doesn't have to come first. If you're a young American, Chelsea Clinton and Jimmy Kimmel say "Serve A Year" and dedicate 365 days to your country — even if that means putting off college for a bit. The new initiative, presented by the Clinton Foundation, ServiceNation, and leaders in entertainment and media, was announced during Jimmy Kimmel Live! late Monday night.
While there was no mention of her mother Hillary, Clinton will probably create plenty of raised eyebrows with Serve A Year. She and Kimmel shot a PSA video to present the program, which also aired during the late night show. While Kimmel provides some light humor and — of course — ninja references, Clinton lays out how Serve A Year solves two problems facing America: the lack of national service and youth unemployment. She explains how young Americans can help the country solve national issues by working with organizations such as FEMA Corps, Teach For America, and City Year.
The goal is to inspire young Americans to dedicate a year of their lives to national service — one year to make America a better place.
Don't mistake this as free volunteering though. Clinton makes it a point to say that youths will earn a paycheck while dedicating their time. The opportunity to earn real world experience and make some money could be the biggest draw to an unconventional message that'll definitely have some parents do a double take.
During the sit-down chat with Kimmel, Clinton elaborated on how Serve A Year could make a difference in a country struggling with issues such as childhood poverty and low graduation rates.
The real idea behind Serve A Year is that just like we all talk about where we went to high school, where we went to college, young people in America can talk about where they did their service. And we have so many challenges. We have 1 million kids who don't graduate from high school. We have almost 50 million Americans who are food insecure.
Clinton then went into how Serve A Year is mutually beneficial, as young Americans who sign up can earn money while in the program.
And we know that national service can help solve those challenges that we face and provide a real pathway for employment for young people. We have almost 6 million 16- to 24-year-olds who aren't in school or aren't in a job.
With that kind of framework, Serve A Year could redefine how a generation views its most formative decade, the adolescent years that typically shape a young adult's identity. College has long been the place of where that kind of bildungsroman happens. Maybe the real world can be a better teacher.
Image: Jimmy Kimmel Live!/ABC