Press Release

September 28, 2011


President Obama Calls on Students to "Make Their Mark" During Back-to-School Address

GenerationOn Youth Advisory Council Member Jake Bernstein Mentioned in Presidential Speech for his Work, Passion and Dedication to Hands-On Service & Volunteering            

NEW YORK CITY - September 29, 2011 - Today, in his third annual "Back-to-School" address, President Barack Obama called on students across the country to put their passion, ideas and energy into action to help bring America back to the top.   He encouraged this generation to make their mark now on the issues that matter most to them.   In his speech, the President cited three high school students that have made extraordinary accomplishments including generationOn Youth Advisory Council member Jake Bernstein, a 17 year-old student from St. Louis who has made his mark on the world by launching a website devoted to community service and volunteer opportunities for young people. 

"America needs your passion, your ideas, and your energy right at this moment ... Nothing inspires me more than knowing that young people all across the country are already making their marks," said President Obama. "Jake Bernstein, a 17-year-old from a military family in St. Louis, worked with his sister to launch a website devoted to community service for young people. They've held volunteer fairs, put up an online database, and helped thousands of families find volunteer opportunities that range from maintaining nature trails to serving at local hospitals."

The President closed his speech by urging students to work hard, take risks and continue learning past graduation, all focuses generationOn supports and believes in.

GenerationOn is the global youth service movement igniting the power of all kids to make their mark on the world.  In an effort to raise awareness and encourage continued youth volunteerism and service, generationOn will launch its annual Make Your Mark Week (formerly Kids Care Week), an initiative that inspires and mobilizes kids of all ages to use their energy, ingenuity and compassion to "make their mark on the world" through hands-on service.  Celebrated during the third week of October (Oct. 16-22, 2011), Make Your Mark Week encourages young people do small acts or service projects that together make a big impact on their lives, their communities and the world. The week culminates on National Make a Difference Day, the largest recognized day of service.

Earlier this year, generationOn created the Youth Advisory Council to bring an authentic youth voice to generationOn's programming and provide young people engaged in youth service with a unique opportunity to be drivers of their own ideas from conceptualization to implementation and reflection.  The 10 young people chosen for the Youth Advisory Council demonstrate a strong commitment to volunteerism, philanthropy and generationOn's mission to "inspire, equip, and mobilize youth to take action that changes the world and themselves through service."

For more information on generationOn, the Youth Advisory Council and how to get involved in Make Your Mark Week, please visit

About generationOn

GenerationOn is the global youth service movement igniting the power of all kids to make their mark on the world. As the new youth division of the Points of Light Institute, generationOn brings together the nation's leading youth service organizations under one umbrella with a mission to inspire, equip, and mobilize youth to take action that changes the world and themselves through service.

About Points of Light Institute

Points of Light Institute inspires, equips and mobilizes people to take action that changes the world. We connect people to their power to make a meaningful difference. We are organized to innovate, incubate and activate new ideas that help 21st century volunteers use all of their assets - their time, talent, voice and money - to meet the critical needs of our time. Points of Light Institute operates multiple divisions including: HandsOn Network, the largest volunteer network in the world with 250 local affiliates; generationOn, the global youth service division that ignites the power of kids to make their mark on the world; and AmeriCorps Alums, a network of more than 120,000 experienced volunteer leaders. For more information, visit   


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