Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Blog

  • The Need to Join Forces

    Joining Forces OFBNP Blog

    First Lady Michelle Obama speaks about the White House's "Joining Forces" military family support campaign to a crowd of National Guard and local families as Dr. Jill Biden stands by during a "Joining Forces" community event in Columbus, Ohio, April 14, 2011. The event was the final stop on Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden's two-day tour around the nation to spotlight communities doing outstanding work to support military families. June 9, 2011. (by Elaine Sanchez)

    For the past 10 years, our nation has been at war. As the members of our Armed Services deploy, it is critical that they know that their family has the support it needs. Those that have volunteered to serve in the military must have the peace of mind of knowing that when their deployment and service is over, they will have a sustained support system.

    To help mobilize this support for military families and veterans, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden have started the Joining Forces Initiative.

    As a new member of the Administration’s Office for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships team and a Company Commander in the South Carolina Army National Guard, I was honored to participate in the conference call earlier this month with First Lady Michelle Obama and Joshua DuBois, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships on the role of faith and community based groups in Joining Forces.

  • Higher Education Institutions Participate in Webinar

    On June 1 the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Centers at the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the Department of Education sponsored the second in a series of three webinars. The webinars are designed to provide resources for colleges, universities, and community colleges as they prepare plans to participate in the President's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge.

    Over 400 higher education institutions responded to the President's challenge. They are in the process of preparing plans that make the vision for interfaith cooperation and community service a reality on campuses across the country. Students at participating institutions will participate in a year of interfaith and community service programming. In the spring of 2012, there will be a gathering at the White House to celebrate their accomplishments and encourage institutions of higher education to make interfaith service a reality on all campuses.

  • Watch out for the D.O.G.S.

    Secretary Arne Duncan visits with a Watch D.O.G.S. dad

    Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visits with a Watch D.O.G.S. dad. June 13, 2011.

    Yesterday morning, we hosted Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at Two Rivers Public Charter School here in Washington.  Secretary Duncan was at Two Rivers to check out the WatchD.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) program.  Have you heard about WatchD.O.G.S.? It’s a national program in over 2,000 schools that encourages fathers to volunteer at least one day every year in their local school.  These dads are having an extraordinary impact.  Check out the pictures below, and find out how to start or get involved in WatchD.O.G.S. at your neighborhood school.

    As you know, fatherhood in America is one of the passions of President Obama’s life.  He grew up without his dad, every day he goes home to two beautiful little girls, and he calls his role as a father “the most important job I have.”  Far too many young people in our country grow up without their father, and when dads are not around, young people are more likely to drop out of school, use drugs, be involved in the criminal justice system, and become young parents themselves.  For the past two years, we’ve been working with partners from around the country to impact fatherlessness in America, and we’ll have some exciting news about new initiatives this week. 

     So stay tuned – and check out the WatchD.O.G.S. below!

    Secretary Arne Duncan Talks with Watch D.O.G.S. Dads and Kids

    Secretary Arne Duncan talks to Watch D.O.G.S. dads and kids. June 13, 2011.

    Watch D.O.G.S. Dad Works with Kids

    A Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) volunteer dad works with kids at Two Rivers Public Charter School. June 13, 2011.

    Watch D.OG.S. Dad Working with a child

    A Watch D.O.G.S. dad working with a child at Two Rivers Public Charter School. June 13, 2011.

    Watch D.OG.S. Dad Volunteers with Reading

    A Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of great students) volunteer dad reading to a child at Two Rivers Public Charter School. June 13, 2011.

    Joshua DuBois serves as Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

  • First Lady’s Joining Forces Call with Faith and Community Leaders Generates Momentum and Interest in Models

    Phone calls and emails inquiring about the Partners in Care program have been numerous and daily since the Joining Forces conference call with Mrs. Obama last month. I have been encouraged by this tremendous interest and desire of faith communities and organizations across the United States to offer support to military members, veterans, and their families.

    When asked to be a speaker for the Joining Forces teleconference, I was both humbled and honored to be able to explain to other faith communities and faith-based neighborhood organizations across the United States how the Maryland National Guard's Partners in Care initiative could offer a model to channel support to those in the military community.

  • Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook Sworn-In as New Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom

    Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presided over the swearing-in ceremony for our new Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook.  Ambassador Johnson Cook has had a distinguished career working for religious freedom that she will bring to bear in her new role as our Nation’s advocate for religious liberty around the globe.

    The issue of religious freedom is an important one for this Administration. Last month, the President spoke to this integral issue: “Such tolerance is particularly important when it comes to religion.  In Tahrir Square, we heard Egyptians from all walks of life chant, ‘Muslims, Christians, we are one.’  America will work to see that this spirit prevails -– that all faiths are respected, and that bridges are built among them.  In a region that was the birthplace of three world religions, intolerance can lead only to suffering and stagnation.  And for this season of change to succeed, Coptic Christians must have the right to worship freely in Cairo, just as Shia must never have their mosques destroyed in Bahrain.”

    As the chief spokesperson for Religious Freedom at the State Department, Ambassador Johnson Cook will have an integral role in implementing the President’s policies throughout the world. She will also be a key advisor to President Obama and Secretary Clinton regarding matters of religious freedom. I am excited to work with Ambassador Johnson Cook as we promote opportunities to increase interfaith dialogue and cooperation, and Americans can be proud that we have such a bold, stalwart advocate for religious freedom advancing our ideals abroad.

    Joshua DuBois serves as Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

  • Job Clubs & Employment Ministries: On the Front Lines of Getting Americans Back to Work

    Preparing 20th century workers for the 21st century workforce; these words describe the mission of Tuesdays with Transitioners, a job club run by Jennifer Oliver O’Connell at the Congregational Church of Northridge in Northridge, CA.

    This week, I had the opportunity to hear first-hand how job clubs like Jennifer’s are helping Americans get back to work during a roundtable event organized by my department’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (CFBNP). For example, Jennifer utilizes social media and the latest technology, including tools such as LinkedIn to train all of her job club members how to network.

    The event also marked the launch of a new project by the CFBNP to reach out to the many job clubs – also known as career ministries, network groups, and work search roundtables, among other names – across the country and link them with the public workforce system, including DOL’s network of 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers.