Photo Credit: Instagram.com/YouthService
Want to make a difference at your school while having fun too? Global Youth Service Day (GYSD), April 17-19, is the world’s largest service event. Join students, parents and teachers in all 50 states and in more than 120 countries to make your community greener, smarter, safer and healthier.
Fourth graders are reading to kindergarteners in Michigan to improve reading skills. Middle-school students in Tennessee are holding a cooking demonstration to promote healthy eating. A senior class in California is planning a school-wide canned food drive to support the local food pantry. These are just a few ways to get involved.
Whether you are working to improve your school or neighborhood, your city, or a community halfway around the world, powerful things happen when students, teachers, and parents come together to create a culture of service in schools. Students can also partner with other school groups, such as their PTA or PTSA to participate in ongoing volunteer projects.
Students gain skills in leadership, critical thinking, and communication that are critical for college and career success. Teachers provide opportunities for students to use their education to solve actual problems in their communities, making learning real and relevant. (In fact, youth who volunteer are 50% less likely than their non-volunteering peers to disconnect from school.) Parents partner with teachers and students to help their children develop character and citizenship skills while honing their academic strengths. Student volunteers don’t just help others with service projects- they benefit greatly from the experiences themselves!
Global Youth Service Day is a great on-ramp for more extensive service in your school. YSA’s Classrooms with a Cause and Semester of Service programs provide frameworks to engage students over a few weeks to a whole year. National PTA’s programs, such as Connect for Respect and Take Your Family to School Week, feature guides on how to engage students in larger year-round projects like bullying prevention.
Ready to begin? YSA can help! Visit GYSD.org to download Youth Changing the World, a toolkit to help young people develop their own service projects from creation to completion. On this site, you can choose a cause, plan and register your project, see other projects taking place near you, and tell your story of success. For more information on how students can become engaged PTSA members and combine service experiences with education advocacy, visit PTA.org/PTSA.
Karen L. Daniel is the Vice President of Programs at Youth Service America. YSA (Youth Service America) supports a global culture of engaged children and youth committed to a lifetime of meaningful service, learning, and leadership. Karen L. Daniel is the Vice President of Programs at YSA. As a student engagement expert, Karen facilitates trainings, writes planning guides, and develops programs all over the world. She is currently writing a book about how parents can raise children that change the world. If you are interested in collaborating with Karen on a new project, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.