We create volunteer opportunities to address community needs and to inspire youth for a lifetime commitment to service.
YOUTH VOLUNTEER CORPS IS UNIQUE
Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC) began in 1987 as a summer service program for Kansas City youth. Today, YVC is a network of affiliated organizations across the U.S. and Canada running that same program by engaging youth ages 11-18 in team-based, structured, diverse, flexible service-learning opportunities.
YVC Affiliates include United Ways, YMCAs, Boys & Girls Clubs, volunteer centers, parks and recreation departments and other youth-serving organizations. Each YVC program looks a little different depending on the host organization and the local community, but they all implement the same program model and receive ongoing support and resources from YVC Headquarters.
OUR FOUR FUNDAMENTAL GOALS
1. To engage youth in service projects that are challenging, rewarding and educational.
2. To serve the unmet needs of the community and its residents.
3. To promote among youth a greater understanding and appreciation for the diversity of their community.
4. To promote a lifetime ethic of service among youth.
IT’S ALL ABOUT QUALITY
Studies tracking youth who volunteer have found that they can develop negative attitudes about service if they don’t feel that their efforts make a difference. That is why Youth Volunteer Corps has utilized the same model for 30 years—team-based, diverse, structured, flexible service-learning opportunities for youth.
Since 1987, Youth Volunteer Corps has witnessed more than 300,000 youth whose lives have been transformed by this model of service.
STRATEGIC FOCUS AREAS
Youth Volunteer Corps participants serve for a variety of reasons, but one of the most important to the youth is the opportunity to make a difference. As a network, YVC is focused on the following Strategic Focus Areas: Compassionate Communities, Healthy Lifestyles, Arts and Culture, STEM and Education.
Developing compassion for others is a natural byproduct of service and YVC works to foster that potential at every turn. Any service opportunity that helps meet the basic needs and/or promotes the overall quality of life for both human and non-human animals in the community is included in this focus. Projects that fall under this category include serving at a homeless shelter, visiting with seniors at a skilled nursing facility, and walking dogs at the local animal shelter.
Healthy habits start early in life, so youth are well poised to be change agents in this arena. Projects that offer youth a chance to improve and promote the physical and mental well-being of their fellow citizens address this YVC focus. Sample projects include harvesting at a community garden, assembling kits at the free health clinic, and promoting an anti-smoking campaign.
Arts and Culture
Promoting the arts and celebrating culture is vital to the well-being of any community and YVC strives to engage youth in projects that address those areas to ensure a rich and diverse service experience. Projects that support the visual arts and humanities and promote cultural awareness are overed by this focus, such as creating community murals, volunteering at museums, or making crafts with children at a homeless shelter.
STEM refers to the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The U.S., Canada and other nations promote learning in those areas to ensure a well-rounded and competitive workforce. YVC contributes by planning projects that offer the chance to develop new skills and understanding in STEM fields. Projects include environmental clean-ups, tutoring younger children in computer literacy, and serving with Habitat for Humanity where youth learn about the engineering behind building a home.
Research indicates the best way to truly learn something is to teach it to someone else. We value education highly at YVC, so while all projects are designed to be educational for the Youth Volunteers, this focus area is intended to capture those efforts where YVC youth teach others. Examples of projects include reading with and tutoring younger children, hosting an after-school enrichment program for children in a low-income community, or conducting introductory computer classes at a nursing home.