Blog

My Summit Experience 2018: Friends, Fun & Learning

Posted by Youth Volunteer Corps on

This year’s Youth Volunteer Corps Summit held in Charleston, South Carolina was my very first Summit. My program in St. Louis is brand new and our program director recently moved. So, I was walking into my first Summit with no other volunteers and no program director. I was alone. Everyone else had a program director and other kids that they could hang out with, so it wasn’t easy for me at first. I knew some of the other kids from the IYAB calls, but I had never met any of them in person, and we were all kind of awkward at first. Our first session of the day was an IYAB only meeting, and after that everyone was a little more comfortable. I ended up sitting with a couple of IYAB members in the next session and we quickly became friends. I especially got to know one girl in particular, Sarah. It was so crazy, we literally had so much in common.

Once I found friends, it made Summit so much fun! We walked to the Urban Farm (which was so cool!) and I learned so much. We got to build blessing boxes, pallet gardens, and learn all about the plants that they had at the farm. It was cool to meet a lot of the other kids from all over during the service project.

After the Urban Farm we had an IYAB dinner, which was so fun too! I got to know more of the IYAB members personally, AND we got ice cream! It was so interesting to hear about how everyone’s lives were so different, yet how we had so many things in common.

The next day was super informative. I tried to go to as many Vikki Clark sessions as I could, because who wouldn’t? She’s amazing. I learned about goal-setting and empathy and it was really cool to see how she worked that in with our volunteer work.

Next, I went to the Planning a Project session, which was probably one of my favorite sessions. It was SO fun being able to be creative and come up with our own ways to address a problem in the community, and actually planning for it with a budget and all.

That night, we had an awards ceremony and dinner where we recognized the accomplishments of all the amazing youth volunteers and program directors. I sat at a table with none other than THE Vicki Clark herself, so that was pretty great. After that, I hung out with my friends until 12:45 AM, which was pretty rough considering I had to wake up at 4:00 AM for my flight. It was all worth it and I wouldn’t trade a second of it. I walked into Summit not really knowing anyone, and I came out with some great friends.

 

 

 

 


Claire Kellick will be entering 11th grade this year, is a volunteer with YVC in St. Louis, MO, and is a member of IYAB. She loves math and science and hopes to become an engineer. She is part of the varsity softball team at her school, as well as Amnesty International, and the Anti-Defamation League. At her first YVC meeting she fell in love with a dog who is now part of her family. (Lucky dog!)

Building Awareness and Understanding: One Homeless Night

Posted by Youth Volunteer Corps on

On a typical Friday night in November you might expect teenagers to be at a high school football game, playing video games, or passing time with friends, but for YVC youth in Kansas City, students prepare to spend an entire night out in the cold. YVCKC’s annual One Homeless Night is an amazing way to spread both awareness about homelessness and develop an understanding among youth about the struggles of living without a home. When I first participated in One Homeless Night, I remember sleeping in a cramped cardboard box, enduring frigid temperatures, and going without any food in my stomach, giving me a brief glimpse of the difficulties of their lives are on a daily basis. In the morning, I had the chance to interact with some of the homeless in my community and was surprised to discover the wide range of social and economic reasons that led them to wind up in transitional homelessness. While this may not seem appealing to the vast majority of teenagers, I continued to participate in this eye-opening experience for the next four years. One Homeless Night is organized by our local Youth Advisory Board, which plans various icebreakers, service learning opportunities, and invites credible speakers to the event. Additionally, an impactful movie is usually played while we participate in team building exercises and set up our refrigerator boxes. We then brace the cold, spend the entire night outside, and in the morning serve breakfast to those in need. In a city where over 2000 youth are homeless every day, this service event is essential in order to spark future change in our society. I have seen firsthand the importance of this event, as it magnifies the empathetic nature of the youth who participate and fosters their dedication to a lifelong commitment to service. While I am 18 and won’t be able to participate in another one of YVC’s One Homeless Night, I am truly grateful for what the event has shown me and the impact that it has had on our community.

 

 

 

Patton Meacham is an active youth volunteer with YVC of Greater Kansas and currently serves on YVC’s International Youth Advisory Board. He attends Blue Valley North High School, where he is involved in DECA, Spanish Club, and varsity lacrosse. Additionally, he is dedicated to serving and improving his community.

Serve Small

Posted by Youth Volunteer Corps on

 

Often times, when I am talking about my volunteer work, people state “Oh, I wish I could do that, but I’m too busy” or “That would be a great group to be apart of, but I don’t think I have time.”

The definition of community service is: voluntary work intended to help people in a particular area. This definition allows great ideas for many different ways to help serve the community. An individual can serve largely by helping with natural disaster cleanup, donating time or money, or serving many hours of their time with an organization. All parts of volunteering matter and add up to equal a bigger picture.

For example, if you stop using plastic disposable straws in restaurants or in your home, you can reduce waste in your community landfill and save plastic from entering rivers, lakes, and potentially oceans, therefore helping wildlife. The smallest actions have the biggest chain reactions furthering my explanation of how you don’t always have to serve on a three hour volunteer project each week to make a difference.

A snow storm comes, and you have an elderly neighbor that is physically unable to shovel her driveway. You can serve her by shoveling her driveway, while you are out doing your own.

It’s officially spring cleaning season and you have piles of clothes that you don’t wear sitting in your room. Instead of selling them, donate them to your local shelter for others to use.

A classmate is injured and on crutches and is having a hard time carrying their books between classes. Help carry anything they have or help them get different books out of their locker.

We have encountered all of these situations at some point in our lives, whether we took the opportunity to help and performed an act of service without realizing it or passing by it because it wasn’t considered an act of service worthy enough for your time, it was. The smallest of services usually have the biggest impact.

For example, visiting with your elderly neighbor for ten minutes may not seem like anything to you, but for them it may mean everything.

Babysitting for a single mom so she can shower or go get groceries is another simple way to help others, without taking half of your day.

I always encourage people to become involved in their community by joining volunteering teams to help serve on a greater level, but even the smallest acts never go unaccounted for.

As Whoopi Goldberg said,

“If every american donated five hours a week, it would equal the labor of 20 million full-time volunteers.”

Next time you are leaving practice, ask a peer if they need a ride home. When you are sitting at home playing on Facebook, call that neighbor and ask how they are and if you could come over just to talk. At a restaurant, when the waiter puts a straw on your table, think about the wildlife you could help by not using it. Use a Starbucks reusable cup instead of the plastic disposable one. Make a goal for the amount of times you will start to volunteer a week, even if it is as simple as giving someone half of your sandwich at lunch.

Small ways to serve in your community:

  • Get in touch with the local animal shelter to see what supplies they need
  • Mow your neighbor’s grass
  • Share your lunch or buy someone’s lunch
  • Think eco friendly when buying, or using plastic
  • Give your classmate a ride home after practice
  • Donate your unused clothes to a shelter
  • Participate Adopt-a-Family during the Christmas season
  • Help a neighbor do daily house maintenance
  • Carry an injured classmates books
  • Offer to babysit someone’s kid(s) so they can run errands
  • Help tutor a friend or classmate

 

Leah Craig is an active youth volunteer with YVC of St. Joseph. She currently serves on YVC’s International Youth Advisory Board and is a YVC Brand Ambassador.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Kat Yukawa on Unsplash

The Problem Still Exists: Hurricane Harvey Relief

Posted by Youth Volunteer Corps on

 

Natural disasters are often overlooked by those who were not directly affected by it. We may hear them on the media for a few weeks; but eventually, our media refocuses on more current events. The short attention span of our social/news media nowadays does not nearly make up for the families’ recovery time of over a decade.

This summer, I got the opportunity take a pause on my own life in Philadelphia, go down to Houston with my Youth Volunteer Corps/Repair the World family, and work with the St. Bernard Project to help repair houses for homeowners who are still currently recovering from Hurricane Harvey that hit nearly a year ago.

There were ten of us, eight youth volunteers, our Repair the World fellow Becca, and our program director Greg. Together, we were able to help the repair effort at two houses: The Cardenas’s and Kim Ocain’s. In the span of three days, we managed to cover the Cardenas’s floor entirely with wood planks and helped the progress of covering the floor with tiles at Kim Ocain’s house. During our lunch breaks every day, we listened to other local Houstonian volunteers and project volunteers talk about the hurricane, their experience with it, and how they’ve been trying to cope with the damages as well as help others in the county. Our discussions made me realize that we often overlook the number of people’s lives lost and houses ruined, and that we often only see them as just numbers and statistics. However, it’s much more than that. Houses flooded to the ceiling, schools flooded so much that they had to be torn down, and sentimental objects that had to be throw away due to the mold that grew on them just hours after its initial contact with the flood water. What’s worse is how some people treated the homeowners. Despite the fact that these homeowners received money from the government to repair and recover from the hurricane, many contractors would take the money and flee away from the project, leaving the homeowners without money and without a plan to recover their houses.

A category 4 storm, Hurricane Harvey took the lives of almost a hundred people, left thousands more injured, and tens of thousands of homes, schools, community centers flooded and damaged.

Not only was the county’s infrastructure jeopardized, but so were the mental lives of every family. Imagine waking up in the middle of the night, scared, to the sound of soft raindrops because they reminded you of the four-day-long storm that ruined your home you loved dearly. Imagine explaining to your little elementary children why they cannot go to school for the time being because their school no longer exists. Imagine trying to reach out to contractors who eventually flee with the money the government granted you to repair your house.

Working alongside other volunteers of YVC, RTW, and SBP made me feel powerful as a helping hand in the Houston community, and devoting a few days to the recovering effort taught me so much more than any other experience I’ve ever had.

Houston has also made me realize that there are so many issues we don’t necessarily see and read about. However, they are still there, no matter where you are in the world. Despite the fact that I am not in Houston anymore, there are still so many ways I can get involved in the hurricane relief effort. Even just spreading awareness, donating, and sharing stories will help. Now, I am sharing my story of how I helped, hoping that someday, you can, too.

 

 

This guest blog post was submitted by Winnie Zheng. Winnie is a high school student in Philadelphia, PA., who has been an active volunteer with YVC of Philadelphia for 3 years.

 

 

Share this post:

 

Before and After – Community Garden

Posted by Youth Volunteer Corps on

 

One of the biggest things that initially made me unmotivated or unenthusiastic about volunteering with YVC was that I didn’t see the “endpoint” or “goal” of the work we were doing. Of course, it is incredibly satisfying to see something you worked hard on reach its goal. However, when volunteering in most places, this is rarely the case. This is because the progress and change through volunteer work, in most cases, takes time. A very strong example of this lesson that YVC taught me was when I worked in a community garden.

 

The first “step” of my experience working there happened in May, when we cleaned and weeded beds for planting. I didn’t think very far into to the future of what would happen to the bed at that point in time, so I didn’t really think of how useful it might end up being to the garden. The work was relatively easy, but by the end of it, I didn’t feel as if I made a huge difference in my community. This was because I didn’t really see it benefiting anyone immediately.

However, during a summer YVC camp in late June I saw the bed, only it was overgrown with strawberry plants. We were told to pick the strawberries so that they could be given to a local food bank. The work was suddenly easier than the weeding project I did in May, because each time I picked a strawberry, I held the result of all the work in my hand. I had that feeling of satisfaction that I did make a difference in my community because I knew that those strawberries would eventually find their way to the food bank and then, finally, into the hands of someone who needed them.

That experience changed the perspective I have on volunteer projects that seem to be incomplete. Instead of looking at projects like the seemingly incomplete one in May as useless because they don’t seem to have any immediate effect on the community, I began to look at them as if they were a step on the path to completion. In the garden experience I shared, there are a lot of steps within it to reach the end goal. First, we had to weed and clear the beds. Second, someone, most likely other volunteers at the community garden, had to plant the strawberries. Third, someone had to pick them, and later, of course, they would have to be sent to the food bank and distributed. Even in this example, I “skipped” steps that would lead to the overall goal, such as the planting and sending the strawberries to the food bank. This experience gave me more patience when it came to seeing the progress made on volunteer projects, as each project was just a piece of the puzzle.

One of the coolest parts of seeing the “before and after” part of the process was that I got to experience the result of what I did and worked on. This really motivated me to work hard on any project, even if it seems like it doesn’t make an impact immediately. This was because I saw that all of the projects eventually make a difference, just some faster than others.

 

 

 

Ian is an active youth volunteer with YVC of Corvallis.

He currently serves on YVC’s International Youth Advisory Board

and is a YVC Brand Ambassador.

 

My Summit Experience

Posted by Youth Volunteer Corps on

 

When I first arrived at YVC summit I was greeted by some of the most energetic, positive people that I’ve ever met. The team leaders, adults, and all the volunteers were super welcoming and helpful. Summit embodied the true meaning of YVC perfectly and helped show me what volunteering is all about. Before going to YVC summit I loved to volunteer and I figured it would be something I would always try to do, but after going to Summit I realized the true importance of volunteers and I was inspired to work even harder with my YVC program and other volunteer projects in my community when I went home.

 

A YVC project has an icebreaker, a volunteer project, and the service learning aspect. Summit incorporated all three of these elements.
There were people from different cities, backgrounds, ethnicities, races, and socioeconomic statuses all coming together in a conference center in Kansas City. At first, I felt like we were all super different, it was one of the most diverse rooms I’ve ever been in; but then, I realized that being a part of YVC and having a passion for volunteering is what truly unified us. Through icebreakers and games, everyone was able to get more comfortable around each other and get to know one another. Summit offered a lot of free time where we were able to spend time with other volunteers and go out around the city which was really fun! It was eye-opening to meet so many different people and hear their stories.

 

Summit had service projects incorporated into the event and we were able to volunteer in the community. The cool thing about volunteering at Summit is that you get to learn about a different community’s needs rather than your own. It was a cool experience because I live in a pretty small town, so to go to a bigger city and volunteer showed how me how needs can be very different based on the location.

 

There were lots of opportunities for service learning spread throughout Summit that were educational and engaging. There were different lectures, lessons, and workshops to get youth volunteers learning! It was super cool how the lectures and lessons were applicable and relevant to our own lives. I went to a grant writing workshop and I learned how to appeal to different businesses. When I returned home I was able to use the knowledge to get sponsorships for an event my school put on! There were lots of really talented speakers at Summit, including youth. It was really meaningful to see so many people speak so passionately.

 

The YVC Summit has been one of the most memorable things I have ever done. Getting to meet so many amazing people who all share a common passion isn’t an opportunity youth can frequently find. Anyone affiliated with YVC in any way would benefit by going to Summit to further their love for volunteering.

 

Jessica Hovermale is an active youth volunteer with YVC of Corvallis

and has served on her local Youth Advisory Board for two years.

Jessica is an active member of YVC’s International Youth Advisory Board.

Alumni Spotlight: Sheliza Kassam

Posted by Youth Volunteer Corps on

Alumna Sheliza Kassam working with her nonprofit, Children’s Birthday Miracles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Sheliza Kassam

Years served with YVC and where: 2009-2015 through YVC of Calgary

Where are you now and what are you doing: Sheliza is a Drilling & Completions Engineering Intern at CNOOC Nexen Ltd. She also founded a charitable organization in January 2013, Children’s Birthday Miracles. Sheliza works there pro bono in her free time outside of her internship.

1)      What is one of your favorite memories of YVC?

One of my favorite memories of volunteering with YVC through Youth Central, our host organization, was a program we did that allowed me to peak as a leader. I served as a co-chair of the Mayor’s Youth Council and was one of 20 youth that represented the city and worked with the Mayor to find solutions to issues concerning youth. We saw other cities take part in similar programs and I was driven to see it begin in Calgary.

I’ve been fortunate to have an incredible mentor, Ros Doi, who has been with me since my time at YVC through Youth Central and has supported me in my career. Her support has allowed me to start a program in Calgary that allowed students from grades 6-12 to act as a mayor for the day. Our committee reviewed applications and sent our top choices to the mayor, who chose the final student. This student got to act as mayor for the day and lead the program and have their voices heard. It was an incredible program for me to be a part of. It really allowed us to hear what students had to say and have a student representative to act in a leadership role. Even the students who weren’t selected still had their voice heard, as we incorporated their ideas into our strategic planning for future projects.

2)      How did being a member of YVC affect your life/career path?

YVC greatly strengthened my communication skills. People often question the connection between engineering and communication, but most people don’t know that it’s important to be a social engineer. We need to see more people bringing together their communication skills and technical work – if you can’t communicate your ideas well, it won’t of benefit to you, your work, or your team.

Volunteering with YVC helped me articulate myself and present myself well in a professional manner. It also taught me how to empathize with others, communicate effectively, and build relationships in the workplace through the industry and through volunteering. I am now able to build valuable relationships with my coworkers. People often underestimate how important it is to build these relationships in the work place. When you volunteer, you’re meeting with a diverse group of people that you otherwise would maybe never connect with, like the homeless or children with disabilities. At the end of the day, you have to transform yourself to relate to these people. This teaches you something incredible.

3)      What is one of your biggest life events from the past 5 years?

In March of 2017, I had the opportunity to be recognized as one of L’Oréal Paris Canada’s 2017 Women of Worth. This was an incredible honor as I was chosen as one of 10 women across Canada, and I received a $10,000 grant for my charity. I had the opportunity to go to Toronto to network with the nine other inspirational women who are also not getting paid for what they do. These women are working pro bono and out of the goodness of their hearts to make an impact on their communities. Because of this opportunity, we were able to start a chapter in Victoria created by Sarah Nolin, and receive a sponsorship from Google. It was such an honor to be named one of L’Oréal Paris Canada’s first ever Women of Worth.

4)     What’s a unique fact about you that people don’t know?

I’ve been Bollywood dancing since I was three! Bollywood dancing is a huge passion of mine. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to dance as much with my busy schedule, but I try to take a class every now and then when I have time. I used to love to perform, and now I try to choreograph a few pieces of my own whenever I have a free moment in my schedule.

5)      Is there anything you want YVC alumni to know about you now?

I would love for alumni to know a bit more about my charity, Children’s Birthday Miracles (CBM). CBM is a charitable organization aiming to ensure that underprivileged children have the opportunity to have a birthday party. We throw birthday parties across the globe, and I truly believe we are making a difference. People underestimate the need for birthdays. There’s so much power to a birthday and I have so many wonderful stories and memories because of it, and I wouldn’t have started this without YVC and my experience with volunteering at shelters in my community. It can be very humbling to volunteer here, when I get to go and see how grateful kids are when their birthdays are celebrated.

I also like to remind people to know who you are, and don’t let your age play a factor in if you can do something or not. That’s the beauty of life! If every youth had the mindset that they could do anything they wanted, we could do incredible things.

If you’d like to learn more about Sheliza and Children’s Birthday Miracles, visit her website at: http://www.childrensbirthdaymiracles.com/

Direct Volunteering vs. Indirect Volunteering

Posted by Youth Volunteer Corps on

I have volunteered with YVC Philly since 2015 and in that time, I have learned quite a number of things. I  have grown as a person and a leader. I have grown more comfortable with myself and have gained a bit of confidence in public situations. Most importantly, I have learned about the issues within the communities of the Philadelphia area and different ways to address them through direct and indirect volunteering.

When people think of community service or volunteering, their thoughts typically gear more towards more typical events such as working in soup kitchens, cleaning up parks, or sorting foods that will be packaged. I like to think of these activities as forms of direct volunteering. It is a way to become directly involved, to be in the middle of the action, so to speak. There is a lot that can be learned just from being there and actually speaking to the people you’re serving.

One of my favorite annual projects is with the Jewish Relief Agency. We wake up at early hours and then spend a few hours in a huge assembly line (that runs very smoothly) to package various kinds of foods in cardboard boxes. We would then load the boxes onto a bus and drive to an elderly home to deliver them. I love being able to see the process from start to finish, from gathering all the pieces together to handing it to an individual and seeing the smile on their faces.

 

 

The other form of service can be referred to as indirect volunteering. This probably sounds a little weird. I see it as doing something that will make a difference even if you can’t quite see the end result. A lot of time, it deals with raising awareness about a cause.

I remember working on a Global Leadership project last year. The main objective of Global Leadership is to address an issue in another country and somehow devise a service project to support it. My group had chosen to focus on poverty and hunger in India and we struggled to figure out a project. After all, what could we actually do from half a world away; we couldn’t actually fly there and hand out food (well, not without a whole lot of funding). Instead, we created pins to bring awareness towards the issue. While we couldn’t directly help, it was keeping the issue alive so that it wouldn’t get swept under the rug of the world’s problems.

 

 

My first ever project with YVC also deals a lot with indirect volunteering. Every year, we work with Student Rebuild in which we submit certain artworks to raise money for a cause. That year, we were creating pinwheels in support of the Syrian Refugee Crisis. I believe that every pinwheel that we created was $2 towards the cause. While we weren’t actually able to directly help the refugees, I still felt the camaraderie between the volunteers because we knew that our cutting and folding was helping someone.

 

 

To me, direct and indirect volunteering are equally as important. They overlap each other in so many ways. Sometimes, you can be the one working in the communities you want to help. Sometimes, you simply don’t have the means to help directly but it doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything. It’s a way of empowerment, a way to show that you can make a difference no matter your circumstance.

 

 

 

Jessica Jiang is an active volunteer with YVC of Philadelphia. She is a

YVC Brand Ambassador and serves on the International Youth Advisory Board.

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Angelique Williams

Posted by Youth Volunteer Corps on

 

Angelique Williams is a youth volunteer who began participating in the Youth Volunteer Corps program when she lived in Danbury, CT. After moving to South Carolina, Angelique sought out more volunteer opportunities and found YVC of Charleston.

 

What motivates you to serve?

I am motivated to serve because I love meeting new people and learning new things while also making a positive impact on my community. While growing up, I volunteered with my family a few times a year but after the tragedy at Sandy Hook happened my family started heavily volunteering in different projects such as Ben’s Bells, 5k races, and different fundraisers which sparked a desire in me to do more on a regular basis. That desire brought me to Youth Volunteer Corps.

 

When did you start serving and how old are you now?

I joined YVC Danbury when I was 12; I’m 14 now. Before I joined YVC, I often volunteered with my family.

 

What’s been the most meaningful service project you’ve participated in? Why?

I have enjoyed all of the YVC service projects I have done, but the one that touches my heart the most is volunteering at the senior center. I have the best time there and I always leave with more knowledge than I walked in with. The people there are such fun to hang out with and play games with. They are so funny and they are the absolute sweetest.

 

What do you like about the Youth Volunteer Corps model?

I like that I am learning people skills and valuable life skills such as time management, responsibility, and altruism. Most of all though, I love the many connections I have made throughout the years. I hope to maintain these relationships for many years to come.

 

Why was it important for you to keep participating in YVC after you moved from Danbury?

I see it as a way for me to get to know my new home. I had such fun volunteering with the Danbury YVC that I wanted to continue the experience in Charleston. I’ve done some great projects in Charleston already; the special needs prom was awesome!

 

What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned through your service with YVC?

I have learned to put things into perspective. Life is complicated and I’ve learned to not judge others so quickly and practice more understanding and empathy. I think mostly I’ve learned that even though I’m one person, I can always make a difference. What I do matters.

 

Do you plan on continuing to volunteer after you graduate from high school?

Yes, I plan to ultimately always volunteer in some capacity for the rest of my life. I look forward to doing some service projects abroad after high school.

 

Has your service with YVC inspired you to choose a career path?

I want to be a meteorologist and I have received great encouragement from many of the people I have met through YVC. Many well-known meteorologists volunteer at local schools and host learning sessions to teach kids about the weather, which I think is neat.

 

Why do you think others should volunteer and serve with Youth Volunteer Corps?

Honestly, serve because it’s fun! You meet new people, go to new places, and learn interesting things. It’s such a different experience when you are volunteering with friends.

Projects Against Plastics: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Posted by Youth Volunteer Corps on

The Youth Advisory Board of the YVC of Alpena, Michigan, is bringing plastic to the forefront attention of our community. We have been heading a series of projects that bring a focus on a very real threat to our future: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a wide area about 1000 miles north of Hawaii and located in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre that teams with humanity’s garbage and debris. This plastic-populated area of the Pacific Ocean is twice the size of Texas and home to an estimated 3.5 million tons of trash. The plastic we use and discard daily ends up here through ocean currents, where it accumulates- and has accumulated so much that within the last 40 years, it has increased to 100 times its original size. It poses a serious threat to the ecosystem, to us, and, eventually, to our future. Many organisms mistake plastics for food, which leads to the plastic, and toxins that come with, working its way up the food chain and into our own diets- that is, if the plastic doesn’t kill the organisms first. Debris leads to the deaths of about 100,000 marine mammals and millions of birds and fish annually.

This information and more is what we’ve been teaching our community and our volunteers through various projects centered around plastic recycling. YVC of Alpena has partnered with NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) for various projects, bringing in speakers to our youth volunteers to lead and educate. Once the weather warms up, we plan on aiding NOAA with summer cleanups along various roads, beaches, and lakes.

One of the cool projects we’ve tackled is making a recycle cap art mural. This project involved collecting bottle caps and other plastic caps and creating a collage of color in an artful design. This project took a week of construction for our volunteers. Caps used for the project were also collected by volunteers for a month before construction started. The number of plastic caps on the project is estimated to be over 3,000. Our YAB developed a presentation to go along with the mural, and we showcased it at NOAA, local museums, and other locations to help bring plastic to people’s minds. During our presentation, we taught about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, something we discovered many of our residents were not aware of.

YVC of Alpena will continue to do projects focused on this issue and other recycling topics. We hope to develop new ideas and community support for recycling efforts. With YVC, we are giving youth a voice and helping to change the world!

 

 

This blog post was contributed by Brook Mainville, Program Director of YVC of Alpena.

Youth Volunteer Corps, 1025 Jefferson St., Kansas City, MO 64105

©2018 Youth Volunteer Corps