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Global Youth Service Day

The celebration of volunteering in April continues. Global Youth Service Day, held on April 17-19 this year, will mobilize and celebrate the millions of young people who improve their communities each day of the year through service.

Established in 1988, GYSD is celebrated annually in more than 135 countries, with young people working together with schools, youth organizations, nonprofits, community and faith-based organizations, national service programs, government agencies, and adult mentors to address the world’s most critical issues and change their communities.

On GYSD, these young volunteers are addressing challenges in health, education, human rights, public safety, and the environment, some of them by volunteering with their local United Way. United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley, for instance, has partnered with AmeriCorps, Western Dairyland Fresh Start and the University of Wisconsin ECLIPSE program, which focuses on early childhood literacy, to host a wide variety of projects. Volunteers will help improve conditions in area parks, forests, nature reserves, free clinics, libraries and other deserving nonprofit organizations. In Ohio, United Way of Greater Toledo is collaborating with more than 2,000 youth, local agency partners, and companies to volunteer and celebrate GYSD. This year, volunteers will receive a free lunch and admission to the Toledo zoo after volunteering at various sites in the morning.

Youth Service America is the lead organization for GYSD and provides tools for planning projects and other great information for volunteers young and old. This year First Lady Michelle Obama is serving as Honorary Chair of GYSD. Can’t participate in GYSD but know a youth who loves to give back?  Nominate your favorite young volunteer to be an Everyday Young Hero.

Young people can and should be encouraged to explore their interests through volunteering. As  Albert Schweitzer said, “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” Live United.