updated 6/17/2009 3:11:53 PM ET 2009-06-17T19:11:53

President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged Americans to volunteer in their communities this summer by tutoring students, picking up trash or getting involved in other projects that also might speed economic growth.

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In a video message, Obama said people can help the country prosper by donating time to schools and hospitals in their neighborhoods.

"Economic recovery is as much about what you're doing in your communities as what we're doing in Washington — and it's going to take all of us, working together," Obama said.

The president's remarks came ahead of a new "United We Serve" initiative that will be led by the government-run Corporation for National and Community Service.

The effort is aimed at getting people to tackle problems in the areas of education, health, energy and the environment and community renewal. It starts on June 22 and will continue through Sept. 11, which recently was designated by Congress as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.

"The challenges we face are unprecedented in their size and scope, and we cannot rely on quick fixes or easy answers to put us on the road to recovery," Obama said in the video. "In this new century, we need to a build a new foundation for economic growth in America."

People can find local needs and volunteer opportunities online at http://www.serve.gov. Organizations can also post service events on the Web site.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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