There are many ways to celebrate public servants in your community during Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW). Ideas range from sending letters to public employees to organizing a celebration showcasing the work of government agencies in your local area. To help you get started, we put together our top 10 celebration suggestions. For our full list of suggestions, please download the complete How to Celebrate PSRW Guide.
We hope this online toolkit will help you observe PSRW in a simple, fun, low-cost way while honoring public employees that work so diligently on our behalf every day. We’ve included resources to help facilitate your participation in PSRW whether you from a government agency, Federal Executive Board (FEB), military base or school. In particular, these are ideas and tools to help you reach out to your community, educators and the media.
1. Send a message to public servants you know. Honor public servants in your community with a note of thanks by organizing a letter writing or e-mail campaign. You can also distribute an electronic thank you card which can be forwarded to other public servants.
2. Request a proclamation. This is a simple way to raise local awareness of PSRW. To help you request one from your governor, mayor, city council or other elected official, we have put together a sample proclamation and request letter that you can download below. Once you receive your proclamation, you can arrange for it to be presented during a public event, and be sure to send a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Reach out to local schools by hosting a presentation, organizing a poster or essay contest, or facilitating a Job Shadowing Day.
Speak to local schools and civic groups. PSRW is a great opportunity to send public employees to schools, colleges and civic group meetings to educate the audience about the federal workforce and inspire the next generation to public service. Here is a template to help you share your federal story.
Organize a poster contest and ask elementary school students to prepare artwork depicting a local public service hero in their community.
Organize an essay contest and ask middle school students to write an essay describing what public service means to them and why it’s important.
Hold a Job Shadowing Day with local high school students to provide hands-on experience about public service careers.
4. Prepare short, vignette stories about outstanding employees in your agency and ask your local newspaper to consider running one each day during PSRW. These profiles are a great way to highlight the work of public servants.
You can also interview government employees and post the videos online. Be sure to ask questions about what the employees do for a living, what inspired them to work in government, and the impact their work has on American citizens.
- Washington Post Federal Players Series
- Service to America Medals Recipient Profiles and Videos
- Making the Difference Profiles and Videos
5. Write a Letter to the Editor or Op-Ed. Did you know the opinion page is one of the most popular pages in the newspaper? One of the ways you can get your message out to your community is through a Letter to the Editor or an Op-Ed. Here are some hints to help you get started.
6. Ask local radio stations to play Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that honor federal employees. PSAs are short, informational pieces that usually announce events or provide educational information of interest to the public. They should be sent to radio stations at least one month ahead of time.
7. Reach out to local community calendars and ask them to list your PSRW events that are open to the public. Ask about deadlines and whether or not you can submit photos with your listing. Below is a sample news release that will help provide background information on the event and the public employees who are being honored. Be sure the date, time and location are clearly listed, along with contact information.
Sample Awards Release
8. Develop a list of “Facts and Figures” on the surprising and unique contributions of your organization. You can use these as talking points in your media interviews, in your news articles and agency newsletters. To help you get started, check out these samples.
9. Use a lesson plan from the PSRW Teacher's Guide. Designed for middle and high school teachers of civics, social studies and American government, the Teacher’s Guide contains projects, games and discussion ideas to get students thinking and talking about government and the responsibilities inherent in citizenship.
10. Organize a community event and be sure to invite your local press. Organize an information fair or exhibit event, which provides an interactive opportunity for multiple government agencies to demonstrate their programs and services to the public. To help you launch a successful event, here are some helpful tips: