Monthly Archives: May 2011

Our neighbors in Joplin

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Since YVC’s national office is based in Kansas City, we’ve all been thinking a lot about the tornado that devastated Joplin, MO, last week and the people whose lives were affected.

We thought about them last Sunday when the news first reported that our neighbors a few hours south were hit by a deadly tornado.

We thought about them last Wednesday morning when a tornado came our way, and we took cover together in the ground-floor stairwell of our office.

We thought about them Wednesday afternoon when we were safely back at work, with no major harm done to our city.

But here at YVC, we try to take action instead of simply sending our thoughts. YVC of Greater Kansas City, which shares an office with the YVC national staff, is holding a supplies drive and has collected boxes upon boxes of water bottles and toiletries. Two Youth Volunteers even turned their graduation party into a collection drive and collected an entire carload of supplies this weekend.

Yesterday, Jenn Beard, YVC’s Vice President of Affiliate Operations, gave up her Memorial Day to get her hands dirty and help the people of Joplin. Read about her story and see before and after photos of the destruction at her blog here.

We’re looking at ways we can help even more by taking further action. Meanwhile, we’re still sending more thoughts because sometimes, our thoughts are the most valuable thing we have to offer.

Volunteer this summer to build experience

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Teens with visions of flipping burgers or lifeguarding this summer may be left with no job and an empty wallet, if economists’ predictions for the teen job market are accurate. A record low one-in-four U.S. teenagers who are looking for a summer job are expected to be hired, according to a study by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston.

The good news is that volunteering in the summer can have even longer lasting benefits than a minimum-wage job. Working without pay may not be as attractive to a high school student, but with the promises of resume-building and potential future scholarship opportunities, it may have more long-term pay-off after all.

Committing to volunteering can help you:

  • Gain leadership skills and learn to take initiative on issues you’re passionate about.
  • Learn how to interact with others and find things you have in common with people from all walks of life.
  • Build teamwork skills serving on a group project like those YVC organizes.
  • Gain applicable job experience serving at a variety of nonprofits. Try out what it would be like to be a veterinarian by volunteering at an animal shelter. Perfect your writing and communicating skills by helping with marketing tasks at a nonprofit.
  • Strengthen your college application by showing you were committed to a long-term project. A study by dosomething.org surveyed 33 colleges and universities and found that commitment to a volunteer project was more powerful on a college application than a short-term service trip abroad.
  • Try out potential careers by volunteering at a variety of nonprofits.
  • Have a lot of fun and meet new people on your projects!

If you find the job search even more difficult than you anticipated, don’t hesitate to try volunteering instead. Go to www.yvc.org to find a YVC affiliate near you to get started on a summer volunteer program.

Guest Post: Q&A with Peter Levine of C.I.R.C.L.E.

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Peter LevineMany thanks to Peter Levine, an expert on youth civic engagement, for answering some questions for the YVC blog! Peter is Director of C.I.R.C.L.E. (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement) and Research Director of Tufts University’s Jonathan Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service. We’re excited to feature him in our first-ever YVC Blog interview!

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