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First Step Toward 1 Million Volunteers

United Way Worldwide’s fourth annual United Day of Action is the first step in the organization’s campaign to recruit one million volunteer readers, tutors and mentors. The effort was launched recently at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. with the help of 1,000 volunteers assembly 50,000 summer reading backpacks for elementary school children.

United Way, along with Target and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, made the volunteer pledge in response to its goal to cut by half the number of young people who drop out of high school, and the findings in its recent report, “Voices for the Common Good: America Speaks out on Education.”

Based on United Way’s community listening tour, the report found that more than 90 percent of respondents to a national survey believe that communities must take a greater responsibility for what’s happening with children.

The Day of Action is held annually on June 21, the longest day of the calendar year, with local United Ways across the country rallying volunteers in their communities. Volunteers from Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia, descended on the National Mall to unpack and sort 150,000 books from the nonprofit First Book into 50,000 backpacks.

People can follow the Day of Action on Twitter by searching the hashtag #2011action. For more information, please go to

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