Editor's note: Chelsea Clinton works with the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative and serves on the boards of both organizations. She is a special correspondent for NBC News and also serves on the boards of the School of American Ballet, Common Sense Media and the Weill Cornell Medical College. She and her husband, Marc, live in New York City.
(CNN) - I'm proud to be the honorary chair of the National Day of Service happening this Saturday, inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and legacy. It's the perfect way to kick off the inauguration weekend because anyone can participate, and we know that when we work together, we will achieve more than one person could on his or her own.
President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, members of Congress and their families will be rolling up their sleeves at service projects in our nation's capital. But you don't have to be in Washington to get involved. From repairing fire-damaged homes in Colorado and cleaning sidewalks in Detroit to spending time with children with disabilities in New Orleans, every state will offer opportunities to volunteer.
All these projects have one big thing in common: They're making a community, our country and our world better. That's part of what makes service special. Whether it's volunteering time, skills, ideas or resources, we all can make a difference.
When I was growing up, my parents and grandparents taught me that engaging in service, helping our neighbors and building strong communities are all part of being a good citizen and a good person.
My grandmothers, Virginia and Dorothy, embodied that conviction.
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"Yours is the life that I breathe,
my inspiration is yours,
yours is my thought,
yours all feeling
that blooms in my heart."
–Excerpt from Jose Gautier Benítez's poem "To Puerto Rico (I Return)," quoted by Sonia Sotomayor in her memoir
Washington (CNN) –With "candor comes a measure of vulnerability."
Sonia Sotomayor wants readers to know in the first pages of her new memoir that this will be different from other books by members of the Supreme Court.
The dynamic story of the first Latina to sit as a justice seeks to inspire by revealing often-painful chapters in her self-described "extraordinary journey": her father's early death from alcoholism; a complex, often distant relationship with her mother; growing up poor in the Bronx projects; self-doubts about her looks, brief failed marriage; and professional path.
But her strengths are celebrated, too: self-reliance to the point of giving herself insulin shots at age 7, after being diagnosed with diabetes; her loyalty to a large circle of friends; and vivid pride in her Puerto Rican heritage.
"Experience has taught me you cannot value dreams according to the odds of their coming true," she writes in "My Beloved World" (Knopf/Random House). "Their real value is in stirring within us the will to aspire. That will, wherever it finally leads, does at least move you forward."
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What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at email@example.com.
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