The national summit on community service now taking place in Philadelphia is welcome for its emphasis on the needs of America's children, but it will take more than a few ex-presidents slapping paint on a graffiti-covered wall to boost volunteer service over the long term.
If this movement is to become more than a once-a-year nod to children's needs (like planting a tree on Earth Day has become a nod to the environmental movement) it will take more than individual decisions to volunteer.
Why is that? Because the need for mentors and tutors for young people comes at a time when it's common for both parents to work full-time. Couple that with the fact that there are a rising number of single-parent households and many businesses which want to get the maximum production out of a minimum number of employees and it all adds up to less private time available to devote to volunteering.