21 April 2008
by Christine Batcheler
Two students paint a peace mural on Global Youth Service Day. The 20th annual Global Youth Service Day will be held on 25, 26 and 27 April 2008. (YSA)Washington DC, USA:
Millions of young people in countries from Cambodia to Peru, from Pakistan to Liberia, from Mexico to Mongolia, and from more than 100 other countries, are implementing community service projects during the 20th Annual Global Youth Service Day (GYSD).
Spanning three days, 25, 26 and 27 April 2008, GYSD involves millions of young people across the world, with the help of mentors, parents, and teachers. Young volunteers will address important community needs through service and service-learning projects addressing climate change, literacy, poverty, human rights, and many other issues.
"It's an honour to work with Global Youth Action Network who is committed to youth serving around the world. GYAN's leadership increases the scale and visibility of youth service year-round, and helps young people everywhere play a leading role in addressing important community needs, by giving their time, energy, commitment and idealism," says Steve Culbertson, president and CEO of Youth Service America. "Millions of young people serving together on Global Youth Service Day performing strategic service sends a powerful message of hope and healing around the globe," Culbertson adds.
- Natal Voluntarios in Brazil expects more than 100,000 young people to participate in hundreds of projects around the country, with a common focus on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Also, an annual 'State Volunteer Week' has been implemented to coincide with GYSD. As in past years, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will officially commemorate Brazil’s GYSD events, and has stated that "Global Youth Service Day [is] the most expressive, global celebration of youth volunteerism".
- In Iraq, the Iraqi Democratic Coalition for Youth Empowerment will engage 160 youths from all over Baghdad in presenting first aid training in several primary and secondary schools. The participants will learn how to treat burns and other injuries and will receive first aid supplies in order to be prepared to respond to emergency situations.
- In Russia, the Russian Volunteer Development Center of the International Association for Vounteer Effort (IAVE) will organize close to a million participants in this year’s celebration. The organization works to encourage more Russian citizens, and especially youths, to get involved in service in order to strengthen socio-economic conditions within the country. This year they will carry out a wide range of activities and events in 15 different regions of the country, under the theme of 'Russia Youth Generation - Energy of Health and Kindness'.
- In Indonesia, the Lembaga Manajemen Pendidikan Indonesia (LMPI Foundation) will bring together youth from more than 75 schools from seven different cities across the country, in projects that will benefit more than 60,000 students. The theme this year is 'Strengthening our Global Future through Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship'. Young people will perform different service projects within their schools and educate themselves about important global issues that affect their communities.
- In Haiti, the two lead agencies are mobilizing thousands of youths throughout the country in an effort to raise awareness about environmental sustainability. The Association Jeunesse Excalibur will plant a thousand trees along with participating local organizations. The Center for Thought, Education and Debate is planning a forum on environmental issues, as well as a conference in Port-au-Prince with members of the Youth Ministry to discuss issues affecting young people in Haiti.
In 36 countries in Africa, young people are coming together to effect positive change in their communities:
- In Kenya, 14 youth organizations are organizing all over the country in order to celebrate the important contributions of young volunteers.
- In Zimbabwe, the Organization of Rural Associations for Progress has organized several impressive campaigns this year including the refurbishment of 35 rural schools, a city clean-up, an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign and much more.
- In Sierra Leone, African Youth for Peace and Development is planning a clean-up campaign in an orphanage as well as an elderly home in order to render services to this community as well as to educate youth volunteers on the realities and needs of the underprivileged and handicapped. Meanwhile Service for Peace-Sierra Leone will have a forum on peace, non-violence and tolerance in four different communities throughout the country to highlight alternative methods for achieving social change.
Global Youth Service Day is a year-round effort to expand the impact of the youth service movement. The initiative launches new service organizations, policy changes, and sustainable service programs to create a culture of engaged youth. State Farm Companies Foundation is the presenting sponsor in the United States. More than 125 national partners and 70 lead agencies throughout the United States organize campaigns.
Overseas, national lead agencies in more than 100 countries participate. Planning Tool Kits, Service-Learning Curriculum Guides, classroom posters, grants, and more are available for youth, parents, teachers and organizations. For information about events in a country that is not the United States, please visit www.gysd.org. For information about events that are taking place in the United States, please visit www.YSA.org/gysd.
The Global Youth Action Network (GYAN) is one of the most expansive youth networks in the world today, linking diverse movements and thousands of organizations in over 180 countries and territories. GYAN works to facilitate youth participation and intergenerational partnership in global decision-making; to support collaboration and incubate global partnerships; and to provide tools, resources, and recognition for positive youth action that improves our world. For more information, please go to www.youthlink.org.
Youth Service America seeks to improve communities by increasing the number and diversity of young people, ages 5-25, serving in important roles. Founded in 1986, YSA is an international nonprofit resource center that partners with thousands of organizations in more than 100 countries to expand the impact of the youth service movement with families, communities, schools, corporations, and governments. For more information, visit www.YSA.org.