She Was Drafted and Not By Mistake


Ashlyn Waters woke up that morning like every other morning, spending hours getting her hair, make-up and clothes just right and leaving little time for breakfast. Most days she’d grab a tea or coffee at her favorite café before walking to school on the upper East side of Manhattan. But today was no ordinary day. It was the day her life would change forever. 

Her picture-perfect world shattered as she read the words that seemed to leap off the letter she read just before leaving her house. Ashlyn had been drafted into the national work service program, U Serve America. Nothing could have prepared her for this twist of fate. 

She would be helping others alongside strangers from all parts of the country whom were nothing like her. She would either sink or swim. But there was no getting out of it. 

Does she make it? Who does she meet? Who are they helping and why?  

It’s the plot for Waters Rise. But it’s the story behind this one that’s most intriguing.  

What if U Serve America were real? What if we enlisted and/or drafted young adults into community service programs? What if we mixed young adults from around the country and channeled their passions into projects designed to tackle these problems? What if it was amazingly successful? 

Well, let’s face it. We have a lot of problems in this country. And we have a lot of smart and kind people who want to make a difference in their lives and the lives of the people around them. That’s what the fictional series, Volunteer Year, is about. Each book follows one person's journey in U Serve America. 

It’s intended to start a conversation, plant some seeds, raise some awareness of what could be accomplished if young adults were given the opportunity to help solve the challenges we face—poverty, school safety, education, racism, climate change.  

Now is the time. Young adults are waking up, taking stock of the future they are being handed, and demanding changes. We can fix this if we work together; if we serve one another; if we support each other. 

The world is waiting. Let’s start now. Let’s start the conversation of a mandatory work service program to end poverty, reform education, rebuild our infrastructure, and plan for the future. Some, people may gasp at this thought. But just let it sink-in. 

Most high school graduates don’t have a clue what they really want to do. They haven’t figured out what they like and who they really are. But they have tremendous energy and hope. If they were given the opportunity to try-out a career through a work service program and get paid (stipend or college tuition/credit), while at the same time making the world around them a better place, wouldn’t that be amazing. 

Individuals, private companies, and government working together to solve the problems we complain about but have felt incapable of tackling could literally change America forever— for the better. It’s National Volunteer Week (April 15-21, 2018) and what a perfect time to start.