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Participate in Global Youth Service Day

Young people cleaning up litter as community service.

Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) is the world’s largest annual service event and the only such event dedicated to the contributions youth make to their communities. In 2016, more than 297,000 youth led 5,648 community service projects benefiting over 1 million people! These youth engaged in a range of projects addressing health and hunger, human rights, education, and the environment. GYSD 2017, to be held April 21-23, is a great opportunity to engage the youth in your programs in community service, a key component of Positive Youth Development.

To help youth plan and develop their service projects, Youth Service America, the organizer of GYSD, created the Youth Changing the World Toolkit (free registration required.) The toolkit guides youth through the steps to making a meaningful contribution on their community.

Here are some highlights from the toolkit’s guidance to youth on developing a service project:

  • Choose the cause. Determine which cause is most important to you. Some community-service causes popular with youth are providing food to people experiencing hunger, addressing bullying, creating green spaces, and building or renovating housing units. When picking a cause, consider the things you’re good at and how those talents can benefit the cause. Once you’ve determined your cause, learn more about it. For example, if the project is about feeding the hungry, learn why some members of the community go hungry and what resources, such as food banks, are available to assist them.
  • Do community service. Bring together other volunteers and partners to help you complete your community service project. These helpers may include others already in your program or in the community. Assign tasks and include project logistics, such as location and time. If necessary, provide supplies for carrying out the service project. Capture project progress by taking photos and videos and sharing them on social media using the hashtag #GYSD.
  • Reflect on the experience. After you’ve completed your service project, take a moment to reflect on what you learned and the positive impact made on the community. Consider how you will share the results of your project with stakeholders, when you can do the project again, and what you would change next time. Also, be sure to thank all those volunteers and partners who helped you along the way.

You can also register for the free Youth Changing the World training course to access a curriculum providing an overview of the resources available to assist you in your community service project planning. Once you’ve finalized the details of the project, make sure to add it to the 2017 Global Youth Service Day map (free registration required.)

Download the Youth Changing the World Toolkit.

More on Youth Volunteering

Honor Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Legacy Year-Round

Q&A: For Homeless Youth, Volunteering Builds More than Resumes

Community Service Boosts Young People’s Development—If It’s Done Right

Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth, the Family and Youth Services Bureau, or the Administration for Children and Families.

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