Global Youth Service Day

by Amanda Molinaro from Irvine

“How are you going to change your world?

Each year, Global Youth Service Day celebrates the millions of children and youth who are working to improve their communities and the world around them. Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) was founded in 1988 with the simple goal of helping youth to identify and address problems and needs within their communities. Today, GYSD is the largest service event in the world and is celebrated in over 100 countries. Each year, children and youth use this day to examine and address the world’s most critical issues within their families, schools, communities, and organizations.

GYSD has three main goals: to mobilize, support, and sustain. GYSD is organized by various organizations that provide opportunities for youth to address problems within their communities, and they encourage media and policy makers to raise awareness of the importance of youth as resources for their communities. This day encourages youth to pursue a path of civic engagement, and GYSD supports this goal by providing schools and organizations with the training, grants, and resources necessary to keep engaging youth in community service. Although GYSD is only celebrated on one weekend each year, their goal is to encourage youth to be active in community improvement year-round.

Each year during one weekend in April, GYSD is observed in over 100 countries worldwide. Over the past 22 years, GYSD has brought together more than 40 million people, and the number is growing. GYSD will be held on April 23-25 in 2010, and you can participate by encouraging the children and youth in your community to identify and address a critical issue affecting their community or the world. Previous community service projects have included:

-In West Oakland California, students addressed their community’s lack of knowledge and access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Throughout the school year, they researched, created, and distributed maps with locations of and information about community gardens with access to fresh produce.

-In Olathe, Kansas, students volunteered with senior citizens, many of whom are recipients of Meals on Wheels. Youth spent one-on-one time visiting each client, and performing indoor chores such as flipping bed mattresses, installing smoke alarms, and changing light bulbs.

-In Tarija, Bolivia, 40 youth addressed the problems of unsanitary drinking water. They held community workshops that focused on the diseases that can arise from drinking unsanitary water. They also provided ways to easily disinfect their drinking water.

-In Kuchinarai, Thailand, 20 youth and 8 teachers held a week-long summer camp for 55 children who had been orphaned by AIDS. The camp focused on education, life skills, leadership, and self esteem. They also tutored each other in math and literacy, and learned more about HIV/AIDS.

GYSD is an important way to increase awareness among youth about their potential to contribute to their communities. Engaging youth in community volunteering is an effective strategy for building strong communities, and leads to a greater awareness of the critical issues the world is facing today. You can help make a difference in your community by joining the three million youth worldwide who participate each year in community improvement projects. How are you going to change your world?

Page created on 2/14/2010 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 1/5/2017 4:31:50 PM

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