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YVC Launches in Lawrence, KS

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Join us in welcoming a new Youth Volunteer Corps program: Lawrence, Kansas!

YVC of Lawrence is hosted by Youth Volunteer Corps National Headquarters. We can’t wait to see the impact that youth will have on the community through this new YVC program.

Welcome YVC of Lawrence!

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YVC Launches in Topeka, KS

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Join us in welcoming a new Youth Volunteer Corps program: Topeka, Kansas!

YVC of Topeka is hosted by Youth Volunteer Corps National Headquarters. We can’t wait to see the impact that youth will have on the community through this new YVC program.

Welcome YVC of Topeka!

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Volunteering Earns Students Full-Ride Scholarships

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In the past 30 years, YVC has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people. But for three Youth Volunteers from Cedar City, UT, YVC has impacted them in a very special way- volunteering earned them each full-ride scholarships to college. Meet these three stellar students:

Aubrey

A freshman studying math and economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Aubrey credits YVC with helping her get into her dream school and believes that YVC taught her the value of teamwork.

“I never could have gotten into MIT if it weren’t for YVC,” she says. “Out of all the lessons YVC has taught me that have helped prepare me for my future, I’d say teamwork has been the most important. It’s helping me to succeed at MIT right now, and I can’t wait to see how it will continue to help me succeed.”

Aubrey holds the lessons she’s learned from volunteering close to her heart.

“I got to meet interesting people, listen to their life stories and passions, and help them pursue those passions even by doing something as simple as making sure a family has food for the day,” she says. “It challenged me, inspired me, and brought me outside of whatever bubbles I might have been living in before. Volunteering has changed my life and continues to change it for the better daily.”

Kaylin

Kaylin is pursuing a nursing degree at Southern Utah University and says, “Without YVC I would not have found my passion nor would I have developed the necessary compassion that I need to have for my field.”

Like Aubrey, Kaylin feels that volunteering has impacted her entire identity. “In everyday life I experience the effects of being a volunteer,” reflects Kaylin. “I am kinder, more reliable, more studious, adventurous, more of a leader and less of a follower.  I am able to look outside of myself and see others in their circumstances.”

Kaylin encourages all young people to get involved in their community and strongly believes that when youth give back, everyone benefits.

She says, “Every community has a need, and when people come together, especially young people, the community is impacted in a very positive way.  Volunteering helps youth to practice being contributing citizens in their community and when they do it often it creates a habit which hopefully will continue over time.”

Matthew

Matthew is currently serving a year abroad on a mission and will attend Southern Utah University when he returns. With a passion for serving the next generation, he plans to study secondary education to become either a music or history teacher.

Matthew served over 800 hours with YVC, and he thanks YVC for giving him opportunities that he otherwise would not have had.

He says, “Participating with YVC and giving back to my community has allowed me to excel academically, opening doors to leadership roles in the orchestra, the madrigal choir, the cross country team, and my school’s student government.”

Congratulations to these three inspirational students on their achievements. They are making the world a brighter place through their commitment to service! Aubrey, Kaylin, and Matthew are just a few of the 300,000+ youth who have changed the world with YVC over the last 30 years. Stay tuned throughout our 30th Anniversary year to hear more of these inspiring stories and see how our youth are building the future today.

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YVC Launches in Terrace, BC

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Join us in welcoming the newest Youth Volunteer Corps program: Terrace, British Columbia!

YVC of Terrace is hosted by Volunteer Terrace, an organization that seeks to enhance community life through rewarding, enriching and meaningful volunteer experiences. YVC of Terrace is also our second YVC program located in Canada! We can’t wait to see the impact that youth will have on the community through this new YVC program.

Welcome YVC of Terrace!

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Growing the Alumni Network Challenge: Winners

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In March, we challenged Youth Volunteer Corps Alumni to fill out our Alumni Registration Form! Alumni from across the United States and Canada participated in the challenge –  YVC Youth Volunteers, AmeriCorps Members, Team Leaders and Program Directors from the past 30 years decided to reconnect with YVC and their fellow alumni. They also told us about the impact that YVC made in their lives!

 

Meet Kaylin Shelley and Katja Lemermeyer, the Growing the Alumni Network Challenge Winners:

 

Kaylin Shelley – Alumni from YVC of Cedar City, Utah

What she’s up to: Studying nursing at Southern Utah University to become a Humanitarian

How YVC influenced her: “Because of YVC, I have a full ride scholarship that has nothing to do with academics and everything to do with character, leadership, and service.  I wanted to find a career where I could serve all the time.  Unfortunately, if I am always volunteering then I won’t get paid.  So I decided to become a nurse and gain a specific skill set and also get paid a decent amount so that I can afford to go on trips to serve people.  I love service, I always have, but YVC really solidified that love.”

 

Katja Lemermeyer – Alumni from YVC of Calgary, Alberta

What she’s up to: Studying the International Baccalaureate Program at Pearson College United World College of the Pacific

How YVC influenced her: “YVC really opened up my eyes to how volunteerism and service can be a way of connecting people. My YVC helped me build connections with youth outside of my high school and from all areas in Calgary, and then being on YVC’s International Youth Advisory Board broadened those connections to be with youth across the U.S. and Canada. These sorts of relationships definitely helped prepare me for when I came to Pearson College and became a part of such a diverse international community– I think having a broader idea of what service can be helped me realise that it looks different in every community and country. YVC was also where I first began volunteering with community gardens, showing me the power in sustainable living in fostering a sense of community. I am planning to spend several weeks this summer in the Canadian Rocky Mountains working with community gardens and other sustainable food-related organisations, which is something I was directly inspired to do from my time volunteering with YVC”


 

If you’re a YVC Alumni who missed out on the Growing the Alumni Network Challenge, it’s never too late to fill out the YVC Alumni Registration Form! Our alumni are a valued part of the YVC family, and we would love to reconnect with you, hear your story, and give you the opportunity to network with other fellow alumni – be sure to register today!

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YVC Day 2017: Throwback to 1987

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On Saturday, March 4th, we celebrated YVC Day – youth from every single YVC program served “together”  in their communities from South Carolina to Alberta (Canada). In honor of YVC’s 30th Anniversary, this year’s YVC Day theme was “Throwback.” Youth completed some of the original service projects that were done during YVC’s very first summer in 1987.

Here’s what some of our inspiring youth were up to:

YVC of Anderson, SC helped at the United Way’s Read Across America celebration, where they read to children, painted faces, and encouraged a love of reading.

YVC of Calgary hosted a carnival for children with development disabilities. The carnival centered on celebrating YVC’s 30th Anniversary, and children played games with Youth Volunteers.

YVC of Danbury, CT served at the Danbury Museum Archives. They assisted with much-needed behind-the-scenes work by cataloging and categorizing for the archives.

YVC of Hampton Roads, VA spent time at a nursing home, Gardens of Warwick Forest. Youth played bingo with the residents and enjoyed learning about their lives.

YVC of Kansas City served at Homestead of Leawood, where they prepared the grounds for spring, played games with the residents, and decorated for Saint Patrick’s Day.

YVC of Muskogee, OK helped out at Sequoyah State Park. They planted a community garden, cleared trails, prepared a scavenger hunt for children visiting the park, and fed the animals at the Nature Center.

YVC of Manhattan, KS went door-to-door to collect canned goods for the Manhattan Emergency Shelter. They ended the day by delivering cookies to the Manhattan Fire Department to thank them for their service.

YVC of Omaha built garden beds for a community garden in partnership with The Big Garden, a community garden program.

YVC of Philadelphia beautified the Schuylkill Banks Trail in preparation for spring by helping to clean the surrounding area.

YVC of Reading, PA served at South Mountain YMCA Camp, where they cleaned the grounds and painted several rooms in the buildings.

YVC of Saint Joseph, MO spent their day cooking pizza and cookies to hand out to community members in need. Youth passed out the meals to those living in the Haven and Juda House and the women and children living at the YWCA shelter.

Thanks to everyone who helped make YVC Day unforgettable!

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The End of a Chapter

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Lacey Helmig, Communications and Media Coordinator

I had no intention of moving across the country for a job. But when I came across the opportunity to serve as an AmeriCorps member with Youth Volunteer Corps, the chance to work with youth and inspire them to be lifelong volunteers was enough to draw me 1,800 miles away from my southern Oregon home.

For some reason I had the faith to move across the country after only a brief phone interview for a position in a city I’d never been to, and just weeks later, my little yellow car was filled with everything I owned. It chugged its way up the Rocky Mountains and descended into the flattest terrain I’d ever seen.

I had the opportunity to do more in my first year of YVC than many other people do in the first few years of their career. I networked with dozens of local nonprofits, oversaw a communications strategy, taught a service-learning curriculum at an alternative school, planned a summer service program for hundreds of youth and helped coordinate events.

My year of AmeriCorps service turned into a year and a half on staff with YVC of Kansas City as the Assistant Program Director, and that turned into five years on staff with YVC Headquarters as the Communications and Media Coordinator.

I’ve had the opportunity to visit YVC programs from coast to coast and met the most amazing youth and the adults who empower them.

I launched an International Youth Advisory Board and had the chance to work with 86 youth on this board over the last four years who set such a strong example of service and leadership that adults should be taking notes from them.

I’ve accumulated so many YVC T-shirts over the years that I could wear a different one every day for more than three weeks.

Now seven and a half years after my yellow car arrived at the YVC office, I’m packing up my desk and preparing to say goodbye.

YVC has inspired me, challenged me and formed me into who I am today. The YVC family has been there for me as I’ve laid down roots in Kansas City, gotten married, bought a house and become a mother.

Saying goodbye to YVC is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, but it’s time for the next step. I’m excited to be joining the Truman Library Institute’s team as Director of Communications.

I’m not the same person I was when I entered the YVC office. I can now lead an icebreaker game for a group anywhere from two to 200 people with no advanced planning or supplies. I know the most efficient way to mulch a nature trail, even in 100-degree weather. I can pack up the inventory of the YVC Store in suitcases to fly across the country for a YVC Summit.

Most of all, I’m forever changed by the inspiring Youth Volunteers, AmeriCorps members and YVC staff I’ve had the privilege of working with. The very first youth I worked with 7.5 years ago have already gone on to college and are starting careers, and now I get the joy of watching them live out the YVC mission of a lifetime ethic of service.

I’m closing the door on my chapter working for YVC, but the best thing is you never have to leave the YVC family. My years with YVC will always be with me, and I look forward to stepping into my next role as an alum, volunteer and donor.

Lacey Helmig is the Communications and Media Coordinator for YVC. She began with YVC as an AmeriCorps member in 2009, where she learned from Youth Volunteers the most efficient way to spread barkmulch, how to play Ninja, and the undeniable fact that youth can change the world.

From all of us at YVC, thank you Lacey, for over 7 years of impact, service and memories. You have made a huge difference at YVC, and your legacy will undoubtedly continue for years to come. Best of luck in the next step in your journey!
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Finding the Joy in Service

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Meet Joy. She graduated from high school last May and currently attends Pennsylvania State University. Joy began volunteering with YVC of Philadelphia two years ago when her mom was diagnosed with cancer.

She says, “I couldn’t control what was going on at home. But out here with my YVC family, I can help someone else and make their day better.” Even after Joy’s mother passed away, Joy continued to immerse herself in service. She served a total of 283 hours with YVC before graduating from high school.

Watch Joy’s video to learn more about her inspiring story of service:

Joy is just one of the 300,000+ youth who have changed the world with YVC over the last 30 years. Stay tuned throughout our 30th Anniversary year to hear more of these inspiring stories and see how our youth are building the future today.

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A New Volunteer Takes the Lead

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It’s only been a year since Dante  began volunteering with YVC of Philadelphia, but in that time he has revitalized a neighborhood splash park, planted potatoes, led a craft table at a festival, hidden Easter eggs and more.

“I first heard about YVC through my school and thought it sounded like an interesting way to find volunteer projects,” he says. “Before YVC, I really didn’t get involved in my community because my school didn’t have a way for us to find volunteer projects. The reason I like being with YVC, after just one year, is I get to meet other students throughout Philadelphia. It’s an amazing opportunity.”

Dante has discovered a passion for service and encouraged others to step up and serve with him. Just a year after he served on his first project, he has served 87 hours on 25 different projects. Not only that, but he was inspired to plan his own project from start to finish.

“His crowning achievement came on August 20th when he led a river clean-up that he planned and organized,” says Greg Lynch, Program Director of YVC of Philadelphia.

Dante worked with the Independence Seaport Museum to design a project to clean the river basin by boat. He had been interning at the museum, so naturally he desired to find a way for his YVC team to serve there.

He helped recruit 16 volunteers who embarked in row boats, paddleboats and kayaks to remove trash from the Delaware River. While using the boats was a practical way to remove trash not accessible by land, the team also had a ton of fun enjoying the water on this unique project!

Not only did the team get to clean up the river, they also learned about river conservation and boating safety.

“Both the museum staff and the YVC volunteers had a great time and were really impressed by the quality of the event,” Greg says. “Dante’s work will serve as a model for future student-led service projects.”

Dante loved that the project was able to change some perceptions too.

“The river gets a bad rap in the city of Philadelphia,” he says. “A lot of people think that it’s dirty, but through the program I was able to learn that we can fix it. That was the purpose of the project, to clean something that people thought was dirty but that I thought was full of life.”

Dante has helped transform the city of Philadelphia, but he’s also seen that service change his own life too.

“YVC has definitely prepared me for my future,” he says. “It’s provided me with the skills to do a service project and to collaborate with others in my community. It’s made me think about how I can help to effect change in my community. It’s taught me to look outside of myself, and the sense of gratitude that comes from helping people is amazing. It’s a wonderful and gratifying feeling—I absolutely love it.”

Dante is just one of the 300,000+ youth who have changed the world with YVC over the last 30 years. Stay tuned throughout our 30th Anniversary year to hear more of these inspiring stories and see how our youth are building the future today.

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Congratulations Gold Level YVC Programs!

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Youth Volunteer Corps programs all over the U.S. and Canada are changing youth’s lives through volunteering every day. Some of these programs stand out as examples for the rest of the YVC Network to follow in the way that their programs engage youth in service.

Each year, YVC Headquarters evaluates Affiliates to discuss together how they can better serve their communities. A few of these Affiliates are going above and beyond and leading the way for the entire YVC Network, and they’ve earned the Gold Level rating for scoring between 90 and 100 on their evaluations. They receive a 20% discount off of affiliation dues and are even eligible for a special grant from YVC Headquarters.

Congratulations to the following Gold Level Affiliates:

Alpena, MI

 

Anderson, SC

Ann Arbor, MI

Baton Rouge, LA

Calgary, AB

Cedar City, UT

Charleston, SC

Corvallis, OR

Danbury, CT

Des Moines, IA

Hampton Roads, VA

Muskogee, OK

Philadelphia, PA

St. Joseph, MO

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