The Commission seeks to foster civic engagement and leadership development in youth and families by increasing the number of young people serving in their communities. Youth service is a proven strategy that promotes positive social behaviors, prepares youth for the workplace, and provides them with lifelong habits of leadership, problem-solving, empathy, and self-reliance.
Why engage all youth in service?
All too often, youth today are viewed as the recipients of volunteer services rather than assets who – through their own service to communities – can transform their lives and those of their peers, family, and neighbors. Youth offer unique perspectives, ideas, peer connections, and incredible energy – all things we need to make our communities stronger.
Research indicates that young people have a lot to gain from volunteering–including increased academic achievement, increased civic engagement, and a reduction of risky behaviors. Unfortunately, not all young people are given that opportunity. The volunteer rate of young people from disadvantaged circumstances is 16 percentage points lower than for middle and upper class youth.
But, the gap between the well-off kids and their less advantaged peers is much more about opportunity than willingness. When young people from low-income communities are asked to help, they volunteer with an eagerness and intensity matched by their wealthier peers.
They also reap the same benefits. By volunteering, youth from disadvantaged circumstances increase their chances of succeeding in life. They are more likely to be successful at school and to avoid risky behaviors such as drug and alcohol use, crime, and promiscuity.
GYSD is an annual campaign to mobilize millions of children and youth locally and globally to improve their communities through service and volunteering. It is the only day of service dedicated to children and youth celebrated each year in over 100 countries. In 2013 UServeUtah awarded small grants to assist organizations as they planned projects for Global Youth Service Day, which was celebrated April 26-28, 2013. Next year, Global Youth Service Day is April 11-13, 2014.
Summer of Service is a statewide campaign from June 1-August 31 to celebrate and mobilize youth to make a difference in their communities by volunteering over the summer. Simply sign up to participate, volunteer your time, track your hours online, and earn a Presidential Service Award signed by the President of the United States. Prizes are awarded throughout the summer to participating youth.
We are no longer tracking hours for 2013.