I believe the United States should institute a program whereby every American citizen between the age of 18 and 26 can perform one year of National Service. The service should be voluntary and not mandatory.
This service could be in a variety of areas, according to the talents and desires of the individual doing the service. From help in schools, to hospitals, to infrastructure, to work on sustainability, or regenerative agricultural projects, to the military, to the Peace Corps, and beyond, this service would be a way that every American citizen spends one year of their youth in service to the repair of our nation. The service should be remunerated, either in terms of housing and basic costs, or in terms of financial support for higher education.
The service rendered would be helpful to the institutions served, yes; but more importantly, it would be good for the psychological well-being of our country. It would remind all of us that we have a stake in America and that what happens here is bigger than any one individual’s gratification or success. It would help create a sense of responsibility to the country, and to the world, that should accompany every person’s growth into adulthood.