Chelsea Clinton, Jimmy Kimmel Enlist Hollywood for National Service Campaign

AP Photo/Matt York
AP Photo/Matt York

Chelsea Clinton and late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel teamed up Monday to announce the “Serve a Year” initiative, a campaign that will use Hollywood entertainment to encourage American youth to spend at least one year after college or high school giving back to their communities through national service programs.

Clinton and Kimmel announced the initiative in front of 200 Hollywood executives and writers at the Jimmy Kimmel Live studio in Los Angeles, where Clinton taped a segment that will air on Kimmel’s program Monday night, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

“We know that the millennial generation wants to serve if they are given the right information and opportunities, and so I think that gives particular urgency to our efforts today,” Clinton told THR. “In order to reach millennials, we need to go where they already are, and the entertainment industry has the megaphone and audience to help us get the word out and change the cultural expectation of what it means to grow up in America.”

Clinton and Kimmel teamed with ServiceNation, an organization dedicated to promoting national service, to launch the initiative. The organization announced that it has already enlisted at least one television show – ABC’s The Middle – to participate in the campaign. One of the show’s main characters will join service organization AmeriCorps in the upcoming sixth season.

“It’s clear that far too many young people do not know that a service year is even an option,” DeAnn Heline, co-creator and executive producer of The Middle, said in a statement. “By introducing an AmeriCorps member into our story, our show can play a vital role in changing the national conversation around this issue and add incredible depth and experience to the lives of our characters.”

The Serve a Year campaign will look to capitalize on a similar initiative launched nearly two decades ago that introduced the term “designated driver” to television programs. For that campaign, the Harvard School of Public Health enlisted Hollywood writers to insert messages about drunk driving into roughly 160 primetime TV shows. Between 1988 and 1994, U.S. drunk driving fatalities decreased by 30 percent.

Clinton said in a statement:

Today, our nation faces immense challenges, from how to educate our children for the 21st century to how best to honor our veterans when they return home. One in five of our young people are neither in school or working. These are not disconnected challenges, and their solutions should be the same: empowering young people with meaningful service opportunities, meaningful for their own development and meaningful for our country.

The initiative hopes to secure a three-year commitment from members of Hollywood’s creative community. A number of companies, including Airbnb, Tumblr, and NBCUniversal, have all reportedly pledged to support the initiative.

***Upon researching the biographies of Chelsea Clinton and Jimmy Kimmel, Breitbart News has yet to discover instances of performed service — much less “a year of service” — on the part of either celebrity.