Global Youth Service Day

Sharing Breakfast With The Homeless on GYSD

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In Spain the idea of young people volunteering to help solve problems in their community is a new idea. Cooperación Internacional is trying to change this and create a culture of service by promoting volunteering among youth in Madrid and throughout Spain. They have four different areas of work: direct volunteering activities, trainings, projects of social innovation and development.

 

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Super Ewan: Detroit's Real Life Superhero

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What is a superhero? People all across Detroit know exactly what a superhero is and they call him Ewan Drum! Ewan proclaims "We all can be a superhero to someone!" 

Ewan is 8 years old and each month, he collects donations to be distributed to hungry and homeless individuals in the metro Detroit area. He wears a red cape while serving the clients (he calls them his ‘super friends’). He was recognized by President Obama at the White House Student Film Festival earlier this year, which had the theme of "The Impact of Giving Back."

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Safer Roads, Safer India: UL Partners With YSA to Empower Indian Youth

This weekend, youth across India will join millions of other young people in more than 100 countries around the world in serving and celebrating on Global Youth Service Day (GYSD). Inspired by this worldwide movement of youth changing the world, UL and YSA are challenging Indian youth to take on the issue of road safety through two new Safer Roads, Safer India youth leadership programs. Through its Safety Smart programs, UL educates and empowers youth to make smart decisions at home, school, and throughout their communities. Now, UL is working with YSA to challenge youth to not only make smart safety decisions themselves, but to take action to help their peers and adults in their communities make smarter safety decisions too.

Road safety is the biggest public safety challenge that India faces, with an average of 15 deaths every hour caused by road accidents. With more than 50% of India's population under age 25, they believe that India's young people are uniquely suited and obligated to help solve this problem, especially since it personally affects them and their peers. YSA is currently accepting applications for our UL Safer Roads, Safer India grant programs through 30 April.

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Arizona Governor's Youth Commission Sets Its Sights on #1

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GYSD is going to be huge in Arizona! As a GYSD Lead Agency supported by YSA with a grant from State Farm, the Arizona Governor's Youth Commission (GYC) set a goal to become the state with the most projects registered for GYSD. The GYC is a diverse group of high school students from different parts of the state. Each year, members work together on projects that impact youth across Arizona, including GYSD.

After being trained by YSA staff in December, they decided, "This is the year that we put Arizona on the map as a leading state in the youth service movement and make a statement that Arizona youth care about making a difference." Over the past 4 months, they've rallied their peers to participate in GYSD and helped train youth and adults on how they can use their passions to make an impact on the issues they care about most.

Supported by the GYC staff including Carla Friedman, GYC youth commissioners spent their lunch breaks, afterschool, and weekends securing partner organizations, volunteers, and public officials to assist in their Global Youth Service Day projects.

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Step 3: Creating a Long Term Vision For Your GYSD Project

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While most of us are a few days away from kicking-off our GYSD projects, Gerardo Mateo, a university student in the Dominican Republic and a member of YSA’s Global Youth Council, reminds us to think beyond these few days in April and build on our GYSD projects throughout the year.

Gerardo challenges us to think about long term solutions to problems in our communities. Most community issues aren’t solved with a few days of service, but require a long term plan. Through his volunteer experience addressing the long term education needs in Santo Domingo with Fundación HHS, Gerardo shares his ideas and the best practices he utilizes to keep volunteers and his community engaged on the education needs of young people. Gerardo’s advice includes:

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Countries on the Move: A GYSD Race to the Top

Global Youth Service Day is about bringing young people and partners around the world together for service and the celebration of service. As we continue to countdown the days until #GYSD we wanted to shine a spotlight on our international efforts and highlight some excellent projects around the world.

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GYSD Colombia and Argentina

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Global Youth Service Day activates and celebrates incredible young leaders all across South America. Through YSA's Disney Amigos por el Mundo and Disney Amigos Transformando o Mundo programs, we've developed so many amazing partnerships in the region. Two of our partners - Youth Colombian Leaders Foundation and Organización Argentina de Jóvenes para las Naciones Unidas- shared their plans for GYSD projects and why their youth leaders are so inspired to take action. 

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10% of Youth in Toledo Ohio Take Action On GYSD

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Toledo, Ohio will be home to over 110 Global Youth Service Day projects this year engaging over 4,400 youth, which is 10% of the entire youth population of the city. This effort - the largest GYSD effort of any city in the United States - is being organized by the United Way of Greater Toledo, a GYSD Lead Agency supported by YSA with a grant from State Farm.

 

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11 Year Old Creates App to End Bullying

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Unfortunately, most people have experienced bullying. Over 50% of adolescents and teens have been bullied online. 11 year old Brooke Cohen-Pinsky knows that this is a problem that can be solved, and that the solution needs to be youth led. 

Brooke and her friends have experienced the harmful effects of cyber bullying. Even worse, they have experienced the fear of reporting the bullying to adults. Their mission is to keep this fear from stopping other young people from reporting bullying and hate. They are working with a technology company to create an app for Android/Google. The app is called ICU and will be installed on a child’s phone and search for “tag words” that will flag bullying related text. The app takes a snapshot of the text and sends an email to the parents of that child.

"I have friends that have been cyber bullied and I know that this project, and this app, will help."

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Easy Project Ideas

There's still time to plan a GYSD service project! Here are 10 quick and easy GYSD Project Ideas that you still have time to do, even with only a few days to get ready.

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A Kiwi's Tale of Service and Education

 

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"I want to make an difference in education for New Zealand. I chose to focus on education policy because I feel that is where I can make the deepest impact."

Gemma Swan is a 22-year-old Kiwi from New Zealand that YSA has been lucky enough to have as a trainee in our education department for Global Youth Service Day. 

Gemma credits the right people at the right time in her life, and her experiences volunteering, for motivating her to be the first in her family to graduate college. Her experience motivates her to give back and to help create a culture of service, learning, and volunteerism in New Zealand.

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Teens Serving Homeless Veterans

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Students at Milford High School in Ohio are using photography as a communication tool to better understand other people’s lives. The students are focusing their photojournalism on the lives of veterans who are experiencing homelessness. The main task of the student’s project is to visit The Joseph House, a partner that works with homeless veterans. Through the project, students have met with different people and have identified the stories that are sad to hear but need to be told.

“This challenged students by forcing them to examine their own misconceptions and personal stereotypes - while considering how these misconceptions can create barriers between communities,”  Janelle Schunk, the students' teacher at Milford High School, says.

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A Cultural Shift Toward Volunteering

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Volunteering isn’t exactly a common thing to do in the country of Georgia. The service and volunteer movement is taking root though, and young people are leading the way. Rusudan Zabakhidze, a member of YSA's Global Youth Council, is one of those young leaders. She recognized the need for young people to take part in creating solutions to the problems in her community. She also realized that in order to get people to accept the idea of volunteering, she would have to lead by example. So, Rusudan, or Ruso for short, set out to plan service projects in her community.

“It is an honor for me to join hundreds of other dedicated groups of people, who are going to mobilize youth.“ - Rusudan Zabakhidze

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16 Year Old Engineer Creates Medical Device to Fight COPD

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What does “youth changing the world” look like? There are some problems that seem so insurmountable that it would be easy to let someone else create solutions. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is one of those issues. It is the third leading cause of death in the United States, but 16-year-old Maya Verma wants to put an end to that!

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Hope You Have a Pawsome Day

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One upon a time… There was a room of students, dogs, senior citizens, and books all coming together for a service-learning project! This is the picture of the ‘Paws for a Book’ project in which students spend time reading to the elderly, with the support of their reading buddy dogs.

"Paws for a Book" benefits the students by allowing them to read aloud confidently in public after having practiced with their service dogs. It also benefits the elderly by providing them with company of young people and animals which brightens up their day!

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Let's Be a Farmer

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In Benin, a small country in West Africa, the majority of family farms are managed by women, and produce 95% of the country’s agriculture output. While family farms substantially contribute to Benin’s economy, family farmers live in some of the poorest communities in the country.

Each year, more than 100,000 young graduates flood the labor market to compete for scarce job opportunities. Agriculture is recognized as the main sector that offers livelihoods and employment opportunities for young people. However, many young people are not attracted to the sector. They do not view agriculture as a career choice, and some even consider it an "inappropriate” activity.

To address the challenges stated above and their related issues, Youth Participation and Agriculture Development (YPA) launched a project called “Let’s Be a Farmer” in 2014, During GYSD 2014, YPA Development engaged 135 youth and assisted 20 local family farms - 13 of which were headed by women. The program will be implemented for the second time during GYSD 2015.

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Education Matters: GYSD in the Dominican Republic

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My name is Gerardo Mateo. I am 18 years old and a college student at the Autonoma de Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic where I am studying Industrial Engineering. I am also a member of YSA’s Global Youth Council, a social entrepreneur, and an advocate for universal access to an education. Most recently I was elected to serve on YSA's Board of Directors, and will be posting to their Instagram page!

For my Global Youth Service Day project I am organizing a workshop at Colegio San Francisco de Asis, a local high school. The goal of this workshop is to motivate students to take an interest in their community, guide them through the process of identifying community issues they are passionate about, give students an opportunity to share their ideas and solutions, and provide them with resources from Fundacion HHS they can use after the workshop.

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A New Jersey Teenager Stands Against Human Trafficking on GYSD

At first glance, he may seem like your typical 17-year old high school football player. If you look a little deeper, you will notice that Christian Boujaoude has a passion that goes far beyond just a touchdown on Friday nights: educating others about human trafficking in the US. 

With help from a YSA and Festival of Children Foundation grant, he became a National Child Awareness Month Youth Ambassador. He created R U Aware after learning about the issue of Human Trafficking in one of his classes. Through his program, Christian aims to use the power of education to raise awareness about Human Trafficking and its violation of human rights. He has created images, videos, and spoken at events to advocate for the prevention of human trafficking. Over 10 counties in New Jersey proclaimed January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month due to Christian’s efforts.

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GYSD Becomes Galactic Youth Service Day

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April 1, 2015 - YSA, a leader of the global youth service movement, announces that the worldwide phenomenon of Global Youth Service Day (April 17-19) is expanding to become Galactic Youth Service Day. 

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15 Environmental Organizations to Connect With for GYSD 2015

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To help you choose an environmental service project for GYSD, here are 30 ideas, programs, or resources from 15 leading organizations. You'll also find links to each organization on Facebook and Twitter so you can follow them for the latest news, ideas, and resources.

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This Is The Real World

FotorCreated.jpgHow long can we rely on oil as an energy source? What are the dangers of natural gas? How much does it cost to import energy? These are the kinds of questions that youth in Benin are asking themselves and their community.

Benin relies mostly on energy imports from other countries and only produces 18% of its national energy requirement. To avoid exhausting its natural resources, renewable energy is a potential game changer for the future of Benin.  One of Youth Service Africa Benin's goals is to organize activities that allow people to take collective action when addressing environmental issues and participate in becoming a responsible member of the community. 

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LEVERAGE GYSD TO ELEVATE YOUR ORGANIZATION

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Moubarakatou Tassou, the Women and Empowerment division leader at Youth Participation and Agriculture Development (YPA) an NGO in Benin, shares with us how she leverages her organization’s GYSD activities to find new partners, raise funds, request in-kind donations, boost visibility and further establish YPA as a leader in youth development, while creating vital entrepreneurial opportunities for young people in Benin.

While Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) is a day to celebrate and recognize young people as problem solvers in their community, for adults, including GYSD Community Partners and other participating organizations, GYSD is also an opportunity to strengthen individual skills and organizational capacity for the work you do throughout the year.

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Step 2: Map It Out

Step 2: Map It Out and Plan Your Project

After you find the community issue that is important to you, your next step is to map it out and plan your project!

Matthew’s video follows another YSA Global Youth Council member, Tobi Shannon, who took you through the process of exploring your community and school to discover what needs or issues are important to you. Click HERE if you haven’t seen Tobi’s video yet.  In this video Matthew takes you through the process of transforming your observations, ideas and passion into a plan of action.

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Young Initiators of Georgia

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Young Initiators (YI), a non-governmental organization founded in 2008 is seeking to improve supplementary educational opportunities for disadvantaged children and young adults in Rustavi, Georgia. YI Volunteer Clubs are present in 10 different schools in Rustavi where they create activities, events and conferences with the participation of students, young adults and local teachers. Through supplementary educational opportunities in both English and Russian, students are given opportunities to improve their critical thinking, leadership skills and hand-on experiences to become an active members of their community.

Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. Education has significant impact on one’s actions, personality and views of the world. To change the world, students need more than just academic knowledge they learn from school. They also need to be educated on critical-thinking and practical skills they need that are helpful later on in their adulthood.

 

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Students Rebuild Literacy Challenge

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"My Name is Graycen Tanner, I am a high school junior, and a member of my local BETA club. This is my second project with Students Rebuild. My mother, who is a teacher, helps me to earn BETA hours by finding meaningful projects that will have a lifelong impact on others.

Last year she helped me coordinate and make paper beads for the Water Challenge. The Water Challenge was very rewarding to know that others who do not have access to fresh water would be able to because of the little things such as making paper beads.

This year the bookmark Literacy Challenge project was another way to get students in my area involved in helping to make an impact on others in different parts of the world. The Literacy Challenge project has made an impact on not only myself but all of the ones who helped me color and collect over 3,900 bookmarks.  

Even if it only helps one person gain knowledge and become a better reader then all efforts will have been accomplished. For the bookmark project I asked several classes, local churches, home school students, daycares and clubs to participate. When I explained to the students, groups and clubs what the bookmarks were going to go towards literacy in other countries they were all very eager to help. Thank you for allowing others to be a part of projects that allow us to help others."

- Graycen Tanner BCHS BETA Alma, Georgia

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Palvasha Deme: A Story of Service for Health

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”I’m kind of selfish. I love watching people’s happiness and appreciation for something that I genuinely enjoy doing. I was forced to volunteer when I was younger, but now, it’s completely self-motivated. I have met so many cool people and done so many cool things - that is why I go back to volunteer… GYSD is a great time to grab your friends and give back!” 

“My first real volunteer experience was with Rays of Hope, a Children’s Grief Center in Midland, Texas… I loved volunteering in high school and I could only hope that other people could experience what I’ve been able to do… I have had so many cool opportunities while volunteering at Medical Center Health System in Odessa, Texas. My junior year of high school, our volunteer teen leadership program was invited to present at a national conference. Having adults ask me how to start and maintain a teen volunteer program was a weird feeling - the student became the teacher…

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Sweet Readers: Changing the Face of Alzheimer’s Disease

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Sweet Readers, a public charity in New York, is changing the face and course of Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Sweet Readers connects middle school students and elders struggling with Alzheimer's and related dementias (AD) for stimulating programs which transform lives. Their mission is to fight AD by empowering youth to become empathic changemakers through training, interactive programs and communities of support. 

Sweet Readers, a 2015 GYSD Community Partner (http://www.ysa.org/gysdcommunitypartners) says: No more isolated elders!

During Global Youth Service Day this year (www.GYSD.org), Sweet Readers plans to engage 600 youth at several events including Atria Senior Living Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and many different museums in New York.  Through these events, Sweet Readers hopes to bring communities together to support the engagement of middle schools students and youth leaders with elders struggling with AD and their families. 

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The MEANS Database

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It is easy to underestimate the scale of the hunger epidemic and the system that has been growing to combat its spread in America. Tens of thousands of food banks, serving millions of hungry people all across the nation, generate a huge amount of relief for many. With any large system, there is bound to be waste and miscommunication, but these two natural setbacks are particularly problematic in the world of emergency food services. Each day, food is wasted in restaurants, grocery stores, and anywhere else that works with food. Food banks try and collect much of these unwanted and often near-expiration products, yet sometimes donors who give food lack information about what products are needed in what communities. The end result is oversupply of certain food items that overwhelm food banks. Moving 500 boxes of Macaroni and Cheese before they expire in two weeks is a next to impossible task, especially when technology lags behind in this critical social service.

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Super Food Drive: Replacing Hunger With Health

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It’s hard to believe that in the midst of an obesity epidemic, nearly 50 million Americans struggle to keep food on the table.  Food insecurity is the term used to describe not having access to enough food. More accurately, we are seeing a problem of nutrition insecurity, meaning inadequate access to sufficient nutrients to live a healthy life.  Those who are nutrition insecure are also more likely to be overweight and diagnosed with diet-related diseases such as obesity and type II diabetes.  Many Americans are struggling with being overfed, yet undernourished, all while being uncertain of where their next meal will come from.

Good news: SuperFood Drive is working toward a solution!

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First Lady Michelle Obama Serves as Honorary Chair!

We are thrilled to announce that First Lady Michelle Obama will serve as the honorary chair of Global Youth Service Day 2015!

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