Get things done. That’s exactly what we need to happen in America right now to fix all the problems we face: poverty, health care, education, the environment. Are we willing to stop complaining and do something about it? Is national community service the answer?

My newly published novel, Waters Rise, raises this question. What would happen? Would lives be changed? Would we find solutions that work not just band-aids but long-term fixes? Would our young adults rise to the occasion to help others while learning new skills and receiving compensation for higher education?

Waters Rise tells the journey of Ashlyn Waters, a Manhattan socialite who’s forced to give up her silver spoon for a shovel when she’s drafted into the national community service program. She must overcome her fears and judgments to survive a year in the middle of a national park with people who are nothing like her.

This coming-of-age book highlights the barriers that can be broken when people from all backgrounds join together to create something bigger than themselves. That’s exactly what happens in real life when young and old team up to carry out projects through AmeriCorps, our nation’s largest national volunteer service program.

While mandatory community service may not appeal to everyone, just stop and think about what it could do. What if businesses with cash and big ideas came to the table with young people eager to learn and earn money for school and government to assist in organizing it? Could we put our difference aside and work together? Could we offer our future generations a safe and engaging place to learn new skills, meet new people, and be the change we want to see?

When we serve others, we lift-up the world. I hope that my books inspire young people to find themselves, use their voice, see others as part of the same human and serve one another.

“America’s greatness comes from the extraordinary acts of ordinary citizens.”-AmeriCorps

This week, March 11-17, AmeriCorps is celebrating and thanking all the volunteers that get things done to end poverty, improve education, protect our environment, and provide aid during natural disasters. In California last year, more than 23,000 members provided support at over 3,600 sites with $219 million in funding local and federal funding.

Thank you to every AmeriCorps volunteer for your tireless efforts!

To get a free copy of Waters Rise, email me and join my fan club (while supplies last). Thanks for supporting my dream!