2017 New Affiliate of the Year

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We celebrate every time a YVC program launches in a new community, envisioning how countless youth will be transformed by life-changing service experiences. Each year at the YVC Summit, we honor one of the new programs that launched during the previous year that got off to an especially strong start.

Congratulations YVC of Reading for earning the 2017 New Affiliate of the Year Award! YVC of Reading, hosted by VOiCEup Berks got off to an incredible start with 221 youth serving 1186hours in their first year. YVC of Reading hosted 63 projects benefiting 21 local agencies last year.

This program’s commitment to excellence elevates the quality of the entire YVC network. The leadership of the host organization are lifelong volunteers themselves and their ability to mine their personal networks for resources and support has set the stage for long-lasting success.

Congratulations to YVC of Reading! We cannot wait to celebrate with your program as you continue to grow and serve your community.

The 2017 New Affiliate of the Year was announced during the Award Ceremony at the YVC Summit. We’re celebrating the 2017 award winners this week on the blog. Read about this year’s Affiliate of the Year, Program Director of the Year, Project of the Year, and stay tuned to meet this year’s AmeriCorps Member of the Year, Youth Milestone Award Winners and more.

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2017 Program Director of the Year

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Youth Volunteer Corps of Charleston’s Program Director, Jennifer Gorham, was named Program Director of the Year by the Youth Volunteer at this years YVC Summit.

Jennifer started the program in the fall of 2015 as part of the City of Charleston Mayor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families to provide Charleston youth with opportunities to serve their community and learn about the issues that matter to them.

The program engages youth from the Charleston region, and to date, 149 youth have participated in the program, and have completed 1387.9 volunteer hours serving their community.  Examples of projects include the Lowcountry Blessing Box, which was built by youth and is stocked consistently with non-perishable items that citizens living on Charleston’s Eastside can take as needed; and Ronald McDonald House, where youth have volunteered several times by donating meal items and making dinner for residents staying in the house while their children receive necessary treatments at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Jennifer created a Summer Service-Learning Institute (SSLI) for middle school students that provide four weeks of intensive service-learning volunteer experiences during the summer months.  During the SSLI, students learn about a community issue, and engage in up to four projects each week related to the community issue.  Weekly themes have included Childhood Obesity, Environmental Challenges, and several Wild Card weeks.

“Jennifer has done an incredible job of creating and embedding the Youth Volunteer Corps of Charleston program in the community,” said Mindy Sturm, Director of the Mayor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families. “She is dedicated, motivated, and understands the value of service.  She truly is a servant leader for Charleston youth.”

Congratulations to Jennifer Gorham and YVC of Charleston!

2017 Project of the Year

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Youth Volunteer Corps of Des Moines’ service project was named the 2017 Project of the Year across the YVC network. YVC has more than 30 affiliates throughout the U.S. and Canada, with over 4,000 projects taking place each year, and only one receives this top honor. The Project of the Year was awarded at the YVC Summit in Kansas City, MO., on Oct. 28.

This project, entitled “Winter Essentials”, was awarded the honor because of demonstration of several standards of high-quality service-learning including youth voice, partnerships, intensity, meaningful service, and reflection.

Youth volunteers recognized homelessness as an issue within Des Moines and decided to serve by putting together a total of 30 backpacks full of personal items and toiletries to deliver to people experiencing homelessness. Each pack also included a handmade blanket, hat and scarf. YVC of Des Moines also worked with seven other community support organizations to gather supplies.

Here at YVC we are dedicated to making sure that every service project is not only beneficial to the community, but also presents service-learning in a fun environment, and this project did just that.

Congratulations to YVC of Des Moines!

2017 YVC Affiliate of the Year

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Congratulations to YVC of Danbury, the 2017 Affiliate of the Year! Not only do they earn this top accolade, but this year the award also comes with a $1,000 grant from YVC Headquarters.

Youth Volunteer Corps of Danbury launched in 2009 and since then it has steadily grown, deepening its roots in the Danbury community and expanding its reach throughout Connecticut. They were awarded gold-level status in the 2014-2015 program year and have upheld that standard as a banner program in the YVC network since.

Last year, 143 youth served 2,627 hours with YVC of Danbury. They helped 21 local agencies on 127 different projects.

Commitment to YVC is evident at every level of the organization. A youth representative from Danbury has served on YVC’s International Youth Advisory Board since the group was established. Program staff routinely remark they observe youth mature during their time in the program, making deep connections to one another as they serve together.

Youth voice and youth leadership take center-stage. The name of each youth volunteer is listed in their annual report.

Despite a change in funding, senior leadership at this host organization sought creative solutions to keep their YVC program staffed and funded as they continued to integrate YVC with their overall strategic priorities.

Thank you to the YVC of Danbury staff and youth volunteers for your impact on your community!

The 2017 Affiliate of the Year was announced during the Award Ceremony at the YVC Summit. We’re celebrating the 2017 award winners this week on the blog. Stay tuned to meet this year’s Program Director of the Year, New Affiliate of the Year and more.

Don’t miss a single story of youth changing the world through service! Sign up for our monthly newsletter here:

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2017 Summit Milestone Awards

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Congratulations to the recipients of the 2017 Milestone Awards! Each year we give out three categories of awards to extraordinary youth who have volunteered an impressive number of hours with YVC.

The 100-In-1 Award is for youth who have volunteered at least 100 hours with YVC in a single year. The Ethic of Service Award is for youth who have volunteered at least 500 hours with YVC in their career. The World-Changer Award, YVC’s most prestigious award, is for youth who have volunteered at least 1,000 hours with YVC in their career.

During the award ceremony at Summit 2017, we gave out 187 100-in-1 Awards, 18 Ethic of Service Awards and 3 World-Changer Awards. Below is the list of incredible youth making huge differences in their communities:

World-Changer Award Recipient:

Rose Jasman – Alpena, MI
Samantha Hamil – Muskogee, OK
Jessica Vu – Calgary, AB

Ethic of Service Award Recipients:

Abdulrahman Ayad – Kansas City, KS
Pawan Bath – Calgary, AB
Audra Beeson – Muskogee, OK
Sammie Buschman – Cedar City, UT
Calla Ha – Calgary, AB
Ellys Ilagan – Calgary, AB
Ronica Li – Calgary, AB
Raisa Mahmud – Calgary, AB
Shaira Mae Oidi – Calgary, AB
Elizabeth Potterf – Kansas City, KS
Audrey Simmons – Kansas City, KS
Thomas Tong – Kansas City, KS
Emilee Walters – Muskogee, OK
Alexandria Whitten – Baton Rouge, LA
Wyatt Wilson – Muskogee, OK

100-in-1 Award Recipients:

Solomon Addison – Baton Rouge, LA
Connor Altman – Kansas City, KS
Jonathan Amato – Kansas City, KS
John Tyler Anderson – Hampton Roads, VA
Thomas Andrews – Kansas City, KS
Turner Andrews – Kansas City, KS
Lily Arens – Kansas City, KS
Abdulrahman Ayad – Kansas City, KS
Mimi Barnett – Corvallis, OR
Ezra Barnhizer – Kansas City, KS
Pawan Bath – Calgary, AB
Erika Bears – St. Joseph, MO
Audra Beeson – Muskogee, OK
Seryna Bergstrom – Muskogee, OK
Miranda Blosch – Muskogee, OK
Alexus Blosch – Muskogee, OK
Alyssa Bly – Kansas City, KS
Sophie Bond – Kansas City, KS
Sarvpreet Brar – Calgary, AB
Brandon Briggs – Alpena, MI
Brett Budnik – Alpena, MI
Eryn Bugbee – Calgary, AB
Sammie Buschman – Cedar City, UT
Dustyn Buschman – Cedar City, UT
Kim Carmona – Calgary, AB
Harrison Castillo – Kansas City, KS
Cici Chen – Calgary, AB
Celine Chen – Calgary, AB
Harry Chen – Calgary, AB
Jay Chenh – Philadelphia, PA
Divyashree Chockalingam – Calgary, AB
Joan Chu – Calgary, AB
Janelle Cook – Alpena, MI
Leah Craig – St. Joseph, MO
Gavin Dan – Calgary, AB
Samuel Daniels – Muskogee, OK
Asten DeJarnette – Kansas City, KS
Aditi Dhawan – Calgary, AB
Serana DiMarzo – Calgary, AB
Faith Dryer – St. Joseph, MO
Mya Eitel – Kansas City, KS
Hazel Eway – Calgary, AB
Zab Fernandez – Muskogee, OK
Litsy Fernandez – Muskogee, OK
Charles Fraga – Kansas City, KS
Alana Freeman – Kansas City, KS
Laura Frost – Kansas City, KS
Manmeet Gill – Calgary, AB
Serena Gilmore – Anderson, SC
Drew Gilworth – Kansas City, KS
Joaquin Gingerich – Kansas City, KS
Nikoo Givehchian – Calgary, AB
James Glaseman – Calgary, AB
Kelsey Grimshaw – Cedar City, AB
Steven Gu – Calgary, AB
Ajay Guduputi – Kansas City, KS
Maria Guerra – Calgary, AB
Lucas Guevara – Ann Arbor, MI
Catherine Guo – Calgary, AB
Calla Ha – Calgary, AB
Matthew Halaj – Corvallis, OR
Channing Hall – Baton Rouge, LA
Samantha Hamil – Muskogee, OK
Amy Han – Calgary, AB
Lauren Harper – Kansas City, KS
Kennedy Harris – Muskogee, OK
Brittany Hermawan – Calgary, AB
Grace Hiseley – Muskogee, OK
Virginia Hoaglin – Corvallis, OR
Isabella Holman – Kansas City, KS
Jessica Hovermale – Corvallis, OR
Malorie Hunt – Cedar City, UT
Vivian Huynh – Calgary, AB
Ellys Ilagan – Calgary, AB
Laura Jarriel – Anderson, SC
Rose Jasman – Alpena, MI
Jessica Jiang – Philadelphia, PA
Sophia Jin – Calgary, AB
Lucy Joe – Calgary, AB
Luke Joe – Calgary, AB
Samantha Joh – Corvallis, OR
Imeri Johnson – Baton Rouge, LA
Emma Kobelsky – Calgary, AB
Vincent Kong – Philadelphia, PA
Ellie Layne – Kansas City, KS
Josh Lee – Calgary, AB
Kristen Lefort – Cedar City, UT
Maya Lektser – Calgary, AB
Ronica Li – Calgary, AB
Jenny Li – Calgary, AB
Jasmine Lowell – Alpena, MI
Claude Lu – Calgary, AB
Xander Maestri – Corvallis, Or
Raisa Mahmud – Calgary, AB
Francesca Mau – Hampton Roads, VA
Rachel Mazalo – Calgary, AB
Troy McClendon – Kansas City, KS
Adam McClendon – Kansas City, KS
Reid McEvoy – Kansas City, KS
Patton Meacham – Kansas City, KS
Anmol Mehrotra – Baton Rouge, LA
Christian Mikos – Kansas City, KS
Rina Mikos – Kansas City, KS
Martina Min – Calgary, AB
Aviral Misra – Kansas City, KS
Alex Nelson – Corvallis, OR
Rina Ng – Calgary, AB
Heather Ngo – Calgary, AB
Khoa Pham Nguyen – Calgary, AB
Joseph Niccoli – Kansas City, KS
Shaira Mae Oidi – Calgary, AB
Melody Oidi – Calgary, AB
Christian O’Neal – Alpena, MI
Landon Osipik – Kansas City, KS
Neil-Erine – Palmaria Calgary, AB
Zane Pamplin – Muskogee, OK
Samuel Parish – Muskogee, OK
Julian Pearson – Corvallis, OR
Richard Peng – Calgary, AB
Rachael Peng – Calgary, AB
Constance Penland – Kansas City, KS
Denisse Perez – Calgary, AB
William Peterson – Corvallis, OR
Ciaran Plant – Calgary, AB
Alana Poland – Kansas City, KS
Elizabeth Potterf – Kansas City, KS
Angela Qian – Calgary, AB
Noah Radford – Kansas City, KS
Erick Rangel – Cedar City, UT
Adam Rasmussen – Alpena, MI
Shreya Ratra – Calgary, AB
Antoinette Reyes – Calgary, AB
Kayton Reynolds – St. Joseph, MO
Paula-Ann Robertson – Hampton Roads, VA
Valencia Rodrigues – Muskogee, OK
Alex Rogers – Kansas City, KS
Luke Rogers – Kansas City, KS
Halle Romine – Cedar City, UT
Carrie Rong – Calgary, AB
Godwin Saure – Calgary, AB
Malaika Sethi – Calgary, AB
Madina Shaykhutdinova – Calgary, AB
Ayesha Sheikh – Calgary, AB
Amna Sheikh – Calgary, AB
Jane Shen – Calgary, AB
Lisa Shin – Calgary, AB
Olga Shtepa – Calgary, AB
Nick Simon – Kansas City, KS
Jugrag Singh – Calgary, AB
Julia Slack – Kansas City, KS
Kaitlyn Smith – Alpena, MI
Ashlynn Stoddard – Muskogee, OK
Rithvik Tadakamalla – Kansas City, KS
Tavionn Taylor – Philadelphia, PA
Tania Teterkina – Calgary, AB
Jason Thai – Calgary, AB
Sartaj Tiwana – Calgary, AB
Tracey Tubbs – Kansas City, KS
Dakota VanGordon – Muskogee, OK
Aneesh Vasamreddy – Kansas City, KS
Thanusha Veeraperumal – Calgary, AB
Althea Velasco – Calgary, AB
Oriana Velasco – Calgary, AB
Sahithi Vemulapalli – Calgary, AB
Roman Vomacka – Calgary, AB
Jessica Vu – Calgary, AB
Emilee Walters – Muskogee, OK
Leo Wang – Calgary, AB
Jenny Wang – Calgary, AB
Tom Wang – Calgary, AB
Emily Webb – St. Joseph, MO
Ryan Welp – Kansas City, KS
Madisen Werner – Cedar City, UT
Alexandria Whitten – Baton Rouge, LA
Dominique Williams – Baton Rouge, LA
Kaci Wilson – Baton Rouge, LA
Benjamin Wright – Kansas City, KS
Lucas Wright – Kansas City, KS
Sophia Wu – Calgary, AB
Jeffrey Yang – Philadelphia, PA
Marcella Yates – Kansas City, KS
Owen Yates – Kansas City, KS
Anika Zaman – Calgary, AB
Angela Zhang – Calgary, AB
Rosie Zhao – Calgary, AB
Luo Lin Zhao – Calgary, AB
Winnie Zheng – Philadelphia, PA


Congratulations to these all-star youth volunteers!

The Milestone Awards were announced during the Award Ceremony at the YVC Summit. We’re celebrating the 2017 award winners this week on the blog. Read about this year’s Affiliate of the Year, Program Director of the Year, Project of the Year, and New Affiliate of the Year.

Don’t miss a single story of youth changing the world through service! Sign up for our monthly newsletter here:

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YVC Launches in Queens

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Join us in welcoming Queens to the Youth Volunteer Corps family! YVC of Queens is hosted by Greater Ridgewood Youth Council. We’re excited to see our network of affiliates continue to grow on the east coast and are expecting big things from YVC of Queens once they begin their program in New York City.

YVC of Queens is still in the planning stages of programming but will begin volunteer projects soon.

Be the first to hear about YVCs launching in new communities:

Announcing the Winners of the 2017 Alumni Story Contest

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We had some great submissions to the 2017 Alumni Story Contest and we’re excited to finally announce the winners and share them with you. However, before we get to the winners, we want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who submitted their stories. Youth Volunteer Corps depends on excited and driven people like you who continue to support youth service programs in your community.

Now, to the winners.

First place goes to Keeley Naughton, an AmeriCorps member alumna from YVC of Corvallis. Naughton served with YVC of Corvallis from 2014 to 2015.

Second place is awarded to Ariel Green, a youth volunteer alumna for Baton Rouge. Green served with YVC of Baton Rouge from 2012 to 2013.

Please click the links above and read all about how YVC changed the lives of this Alumni and inspired them for a lifetime commitment to service.

“Volunteering was the start of social work for me.”

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Ariel Green was awarded second place and a $100 prize for her submission to the 2017 Alumni Story Contest. Green served as a youth volunteer with YVC of Baton Rouge from 2012 to 2013. 

Read her story submission and see how YVC changed her life below.


Here at YVC I participated in many projects. There are three projects I recall that were most memorable. My first project as a volunteer consisted of putting together military care packages. Other volunteers and I were stationed at a warehouse with lots of supplies. The warehouse was stocked with items like toiletries, snacks, and words of encouragement. I was responsible for packing the female bags with a variety of each necessity. This project was memorable and exciting because I was challenged to think on behalf of someone else’s need. I worked hard and made sure each box was packaged with care and the best items were selected.

The next project that was most memorable was Christmas wrapping. Christmas is my favorite time of the year. It is filled with joy, love, and the gift of giving. I was able to participate in the project of gift wrapping for children ages 5-18. It was very fun picking out gifts and giving back to those who are less fortunate. I envisioned smiles on the youth faces and served with a heart of love. This project made me feel most grateful; it was pleasing to be a blessing to someone else. I also realized how blessed I was.

The last project I recount serving with YVC was donating books to a local library. During this time I sorted out new and gently used books that were being donated to a new library in the community. Being able to be a part of the set up process for a new library was a great experience. I organized a variety of genres for readers. Although it was tedious, it was all for a benefiting cause. Working to build another library in the community was definitely a need. Because of this, students will now have access to more resources and the establishment of this library will help eliminate educational barriers.

My time with YVC has been very enlightening. Since my time in high school, I have grown and matured a lot. I realize the importance of volunteering. Before YVC I had no desire to volunteer. After each project I participated in came a moment of reflection and appreciation. I was able to meet new people, work with others, and learn more about myself during the different projects. The organization has influenced me to always pay attention to the needs in my local community, work to alleviate problems within the community, and give back.

I aspire to one day have my own community organization that will work to empower and educate women from all walks of life across the nation. I plan to have yearly conferences, workshops, and community drives that will help them continue to reach their goal of success. With my organization I also plan to implement events that will give them and others the opportunity to volunteer.

As a future Social Worker, my job is to advocate for resources and services in the community while helping families and individuals continue to function in society. Volunteering was the start of social work for me. My passion for others has lead me to always work hard so I can one day be the best social worker and make the world a better place. As I continue to seek wisdom and grow, I know that because of organizations like Youth Volunteer Corps, a special seed was planted in my heart. YVC has brought out some of the best skills in me like leadership, and has inspired me to serve. The foundation, people, and experience impacted my life and I will forever serve others in my community.

“I felt like I was making a difference.”

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Keleey Naughton was awarded first place and a $200 prize for her submission to the 2017 Alumni Story Contest. Naughton served as an AmeriCorps member with YVC of Corvallis from 2014 to 2015. 

Read her story submission and see how YVC changed her life below.


I remember so clearly the day that I accepted the position as an AmeriCorps member with YVC Corvallis. I was going to be moving from Chicago to Corvallis, OR, I had just graduated college, and I had no idea what to expect of the year ahead. I was scared and nervous, but, somehow I knew that the year ahead would be well worth it. So, that August I packed up my car and drove across the country to begin my AmeriCorps term with YVC. I knew it was going to be a fun and challenging year, but I had no idea what an impact the YVC program and the youth volunteers themselves would have on my life.

Service has always been a big part of my life. In high school, I was a member of my church’s youth group and regularly completed service projects around town. In college, I volunteered on campus and at the nursing home nearby. Although I enjoyed service, I never had the opportunity to be part of a service-minded group until I found YVC. I remember being at the YVC Summit in Kansas City, and looking around the room and seeing and feeling all the passion and energy of those in the room. I felt like I had finally found my niche, and that’s how I continued to feel throughout my year serving with YVC. I loved going to the schools and talking to classes about YVC and encouraging the students to come out and give it a try, because for the first time in my life I felt passionate about the work I was doing. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was making a difference.

Over the course of my twelve-month term I met an incredible group of youth volunteers who will inevitably change the world one day. I learned and grew so much that year, thanks to our amazing youth volunteers. I learned how to knit at our MLK Day knitting party that our YAB organized in which we donated all our knitting projects to the local youth shelter. I gained event management skills alongside our YAB when we planned our 20th Anniversary Fun Run/Celebration. I cried tears of joy with our youth as animals that we worked with weekly at the local animal shelter found their forever homes. I laughed harder than I’ve ever laughed while playing games and doing icebreakers in the mornings during our summer program. I sweated more than I’ve ever sweat as I worked alongside our dedicated youth in 100-degree weather shoveling up manure at a farm sanctuary we volunteered at. I learned the value of hard work and service with these youth. I feel so incredibly grateful for my time spent serving my AmeriCorps term with YVC of Corvallis.

After I completed my AmeriCorps term, I went on to work for a year at the local youth shelter, one of the non-profits in town that our YVC program supported. One of the big things I brought to the youth shelter is volunteerism. A lot of these youth had never had the opportunity to volunteer in their life and I organized volunteer projects for them. I showed them the value and joy of service, and watched them grow as a result of that service. I have since moved on to a new career path, but continue to stay involved in my community through multiple volunteer opportunities. I’m not quite sure where my life or career will take me in the future, but I know that I will always make volunteering a priority in my life. Thank you, YVC and all the YVC volunteers, for all that you do.

Here’s Your Chance to Join Our Team

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Want to make a positive difference while sharpening your skills? Do you like the idea of working at a nonprofit and helping to make the world a better place? Haven’t decided what direction you want to take next?

Youth Volunteer Corps is now hiring for two full-time, 12-month AmeriCorps VISTA positions. Strong skills are definitely needed, but experience isn’t required. Training and resources will be provided to you.

These positions are excellent for skill building and work experience. Start date will be in mid-September 2017, but you must be selected and confirmed by mid-August.

Interested? Click here to learn more.

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

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