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.
Global Youth Service Day: 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 2012 the Commission on Volunteers will be awarding small grants to assist organizations as they plan projects for Global Youth Service Day, which will be celebrated April 20-22, 2012.
Summer of Service: Summer of Service Utah! is a statewide campaign in partnership with the Utah Commission on Volunteers and the Volunteer Center Association of Utah to celebrate and mobilize people of all ages to make a difference in their communities by volunteering over the summer. Simply sign up to participate, volunteer your time, log your hours online, and win a Presidential Service Award signed by the President of the United States. The individual in each age group that logs the most hours of service from June 1 through August 31, 2012 will win lunch with Utah’s Lieutenant Governor Greg Bell.
Youth Voice Sub-Committee: (Committee Chair - Allie Schroeder )The Youth Voice Committee seeks to foster civic engagement and leadership development in youth and increase the number of young people serving in their communities.