Share Your Story of Service: It Could Show Up as the Plot of Your Favorite T.V. Show

Service Nation — the coalition of organizations campaigning for a new age of service and citizenship in the United States — is asking for your service stories.

This past year, Service Nation organizers have been working hard to bring Hollywood and the service movement closer together. Now, through a cooperative effort led by the Entertainment Industry Foundation, the entertainment industry will “shine a spotlight on the great service and volunteer heroes who are changing our world for the better, both at home and abroad” by fictionalizing real-life stories of service, and the impact of service.

The stories will be used as inspiration for writers at various television networks and shows. Here are some guidelines from Service Nation:

  • These stories need not be recent examples, but should be true.   
  • Write about how service helped someone or changed the community, or how people got into service and how their service affected them.
  • The activities profiled need not be on a large scale – a story of a single volunteer having a special impact on a single individual could make a great story, as might a whole town joining in an effort.
  • A surprising turn of events, strange bedfellows, or overcoming significant barriers can often make for a good story.
  • Please be brief – a few sentences or a paragraph is better than several pages.
  • Please include contact information for a person who could provide detail if necessary and the name of the organization (if any) that is connected to the story, although that organization may not be mentioned if the idea is incorporated into a show.
  • Please understand that when you submit a story, it may be used to inspire and inform programming without your being contacted or credited with the idea.  It may also be changed significantly by professional writers to make it fit a particular show.

If you have a story to share, learn more and submit your story on the Service Nation website by June 18th. Here are a couple examples:

#1. A community in Maine decided to try an experiment:  to create a Time Bank in which everyone in town could do something to help someone else.  Once they did, they would “bank” that favor and could ask for help from someone else.  Anyone could participate.  Because of the Time Bank, great things began to happen.  Individuals gave and received the help they needed – rides to the store, housekeeping help, repairs, and friendly visits for homebound relatives were common needs.  Older people who feared they were on their way to a nursing home found they could stay in their homes because of all the new volunteer help – and they found they could give back too, for example, cooking for others or calling other elderly people to check on them.  In addition, the town found they had built a stronger, friendlier community in the process where people knew each other and looked out for each other.

#2. TJ’s mom struggled each day to get TJ, a third grader, ready to go to school. He clearly dreaded it. In mid-October, TJ was paired with Miss Edith, an Experience Corps volunteer in her 70s. At first, TJ was not cooperative – her wouldn’t even talk to his tutor.  Nonetheless, she greeted him warmly each day, encouraging him gently when vocabulary words were difficult. TJ’s confidence grew quickly and his reading skills improved. After only three weeks, a noticeable difference began to take place at home and at school.   At a school-sponsored Thanksgiving event, TJ’s mother told Miss Edith that there were no more morning struggles at home. In fact, she said, TJ rushes out of the house, telling her that he doesn’t want to be late for his sessions with Miss Edith.

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