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. If you need to know how to get started with engaging youth, visit Engaging Youth Volunteers for more information.
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.
Find Youth-Specific Volunteer Opportunities
Looking to serve with your kids or get your kids out in the community serving on their own? Youthlinc, a nonprofit organization founded in Utah has created a Local Youth Service Directory that provides listings of organizations that are willing to accept youth volunteers. You will still need to contact the organizations individually though, because youth can be defined as zero to 26 years old. Visit the Local Youth Service Directory for more information.
Global Youth Service Day
Global Youth Service Day 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. Global Youth Service Day is April 20-22, 2018. Tools for setting up Global Youth Service Day projects are available here. Grants are available to assist in carrying out projects. Applications for grants can be found on the Youth Service America website.
We also have some great resources for youth and family service. To access our toolkits, click here.