The Difference Between Community Service and Citizenship Education

Every VFW Post is involved with its community through two major programs: Community Service and Citizenship Education (also known as Americanism). How a Post interacts with its community determines the relevancy of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. By participating in both programs, the VFW Post is recognized as a positive element in the community.
Both programs have similarities but can be differentiated in several ways.

Community Service is best characterized by the volunteering of time, effort and money to provide or support an activity which benefits the community and its members, not just veterans. Some examples are meals, scholarships, transportation assistance, and funerals. Virtually any activity which benefits members of the local community is Community Service and should be reported to the Community Service Chairman, SR Vice Commander Jim Rish.

If the U.S. Flag is displayed and a patriotic theme is emphasized by an activity, that is considered Citizenship Education. Observations of patriotic holidays (i.e. Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Patriot’s Day and Veterans Day) are prime examples of Citizenship Education. Any interaction with a school or community which teaches patriotic topics or flag etiquette is also Citizenship Education. Parades, memorial services, flag events (grave placement, lining the streets, flag groves, etc.), award ceremonies (military, first responders, civic leaders, outstanding citizens, etc.), The Moving Wall, and Stand Down for Homeless Veterans are other examples of Citizenship Education.
Since Citizenship Education is a part of the VFW Community Service program, it is often difficult for Posts to determine which category an activity falls into. When in doubt, report any Post activity as both Community Service and Citizenship Education and the Chairmen of each program will sort it out.
We know that Department of Wyoming VFW Posts are very active in their communities but that level of activity will not be known to the Department of Wyoming or to the National VFW if it is not reported. You may have heard it said that "the job’s not over until the paperwork is done!” That is especially true of VFW Programs.

Don Mack
Department of Wyoming Chairman, Citizenship Education
P. O. Box 532
Guernsey, WY 82214
Chairman's Manual VFW Citizenship Education Teacher Award (Rev 9/1/2017)