|Happy Global Youth Service Day!|
A Message from Steve Culbertson, President & CEO, Youth Service America
This weekend, April 23-25, millions of children and youth around the world are taking action and addressing critical problems in their schools and communities - issues that range from climate change and environmental degradation, to childhood obesity and illiteracy. Young people are partnering with friends and family, teachers, community and faith-based organizations, corporations, media, and elected officials on service and service-learning initiatives to make real and sustainable change.
For some, GYSD is the culmination of a Semester of Service that launched on Martin Luther King Day of Service in January. For all, GYSD represents months of hard work by young people, investigating community needs, gathering partners, and creating processes to ensure that their work has a lasting impact. For others, this weekend of service is an introduction to volunteering - an introduction that can lead to a lifetime of service, philanthropy, and civic engagement. GYSD is also a time for celebration of why we serve, lifting our spirits and providing hope for a better, safer, and healthier world.
To date, there are nearly 2,500 GYSD projects from 86 countries on six continents already registered on our online map; 31 governors made GYSD proclamations; the U.S. Senate passed a resolution designating this weekend as Global Youth Service Day; the U.S. House of Representatives will soon pass its own resolution; and almost 11,000 teens are registered on Get Ur Good On, excited about their role as change agents in their communities.
On this Global Youth Service Day, if you are a young person, I challenge you to create or join a project near you and learn more about an issue affecting your local, national, and global community. If you are a parent, engage your kids in an activity that will provide them an opportunity to be active citizens in their neighborhoods. If you are a teacher, let your students lead a conversation and take action on an issue most important to them. If you are a community leader, consider how a youth strategy can impact your work and provide you with innovative ways of addressing local issues.
GYSD only occurs with the support of many key partners. State Farm Companies Foundation, the U.S. Presenting Sponsor, gives Youth Service America the opportunity to provide training and resources, and to serve as an effective advocate for the power of youth leadership. UnitedHealth Group, the Walt Disney Company, and Learn and Serve America at the Corporation for National and Community Service are providing critical additional support. The GYSD Network of global partners, Lead Agencies, Regional Lead Agencies, and National Partners are literally mobilizing hundreds of thousands of young people through their networks. And of course, I must thank the YSA staff and board who believe in the power of youth engagement.
As my good friend and board member, Harris Wofford, says, let's make service of all kinds a common expectation and a common experience of every young person around the world.
President & CEO
Youth Service America