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Religious Organization Interested in Improving Peoples' Lives

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San Franciscans may harbor a suspicious attitude toward anything religious; but the 2009 National Conference on Volunteering and Service might just win you over. The event kicks off today with a playground-build in Bayview with Maria Shriver. So, we dare you to say something cynical about that.

The theme of the conference is "Civic. Energy. Generation," and the schedule revolves loosely around neighborhood engagement: topics for discussion include stuff like schools, disaster recovery, AmeriCorps, waste management, and neighborhood task forces. Basically, the things that people can do to make cities and towns better places to live. Which doesn't necessarily sound religious, but, for some reason, it is.

· 2009 National Conference on Volunteering and Service