Today, President Obama signed the Edward Kennedy Serve America Act, to urge Americans to get involved and volunteer in their communities, but yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg announced the city's own volunteering effort—NYC Service—and promised, "New York City will be the first city to strategically connect the power of its volunteers to solving its biggest problems."

The NYC Service press conference had, the NY Times described, "all the elements of a well-rehearsed pep rally: boisterous cheers, colorful signs and an animated crowd of volunteers young and old. When the mayor asked how they felt, they answered, 'Fired up!'" MTV News also broadcasted the announcement online. There was also a Kennedy connection: Caroline Kennedy told the crowd, "Service has been my family's cause for decades... [My father] President Kennedy inspired a whole nation with a call to serve in his address."

According to the city, the program has three main goals: "channel the power of volunteers to address the impacts of the current economic downturn, make New York City the easiest city in America in which to serve, and ensure every young person in New York City is taught about civic engagement and has an opportunity to serve." For instance, channeling the power of volunteers could be mean people volunteering to encourage people (like the elderly) get flu shots and teaching CPR while making NYC an easier place to volunteer includes offering volunteer opportunities through 311 and helping existing organization use their volunteers more strategically. And for young people, the city's public schools will be required to have a service plan. To look for opportunities, visit NYC Service.

At his bill signing this morning, President Obama referred to Bloomberg as the "the outstanding mayor of New York City"; Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) gave "props" from Obama.