Youth Volunteer Corps programs across the U.S. reported that summer youth volunteer participants not only felt a stronger connection to their community after volunteering, but felt empowered to make a difference and would continue volunteering in the future.
This was very evident with the youth from Alpena who stepped up and volunteered nearly 3,400 hours of service to the community just during the summer program helping out non-profit agencies like NEMCSA, United Way, Boys and Girls Club and Alpena County Library, among many others.
"Our goal at YVC when designing youth volunteer projects is to engender a lifetime ethic of service," said Brad Somers, director of the YVC program. "We have a lot of fun during the summer program helping out with a diverse range of projects and we try to fill the needs of the community wherever we can."
Some of the participants in a summer Youth Volunteer Corps clean-up project paused from their duties to have this photo taken.
Somers also said the youth get become more in tune with their community and gain a voice amongst area leaders.
"A goal of the program is to build leaders through volunteerism and for the youth to realize their potential as productive citizens," he said.
Many of the youth volunteers (ages 11-18) participated in the 12-week 2012 YVC summer program in the Alpena area. YVC used pre and post surveys to gather their perceptions of volunteering, their understanding of community needs and their satisfaction with the YVC projects. The results are as follows:
Percentage of youth volunteers who reported an improvement in their responses or maintained high responses to the following:
Percentage of youth volunteers who answered positively to the following:
Volunteer Leah Simon of Alpena said, "I like volunteering because I like to give back to my community and I will continue to volunteer in the future because it makes me feel great about myself and others."
"It is a heart warming feeling when youth volunteers are empowered by the work they do for their communities and become more comfortable with diversity and stepping up to help others," said Somers. "This is further evidence that when teens are given a well thought out, well designed program, volunteering can make a huge difference in their lives and their communities."
YVC is a nonprofit promoting a lifetime commitment to service among youth by providing quality service projects for young people. For 23 years, YVC has engaged over 240,000 young people from diverse backgrounds in year-round service projects. Based in Kansas City, Kansas, YVC is in 50 programs across the United States and Canada.
For more information or to join the Boys and Girls Club of Alpena YVC, call 358-5362 or 356-0214. The program is free and is currently underway with its school year component.