I just finished reading a powerful book regarding so much of what we strive to achieve at Youth Volunteer Corps. Dr. Marilyn Price-Mitchell’s Tomorrow’s Change Makers is a quick read mostly because of its reliance on stories—stories about youth who have grown up to care about their community and their world. The book has enough academic heft to be helpful in our YVC grant-writing but the stories are what make the book so engaging.
Some of you may have seen the Harvard report regarding admission to highly selective universities. Tomorrow’s Change Makers echoes some of the recommendations coming out of Harvard. Deep-dive service is more powerful than short-term episodic service. Deep-dive service in your own community is more powerful for youth than short-term mission trip service to other parts of your native country or foreign countries.
Indeed, several stories from youth in Marilyn’s book demonstrate the power of a diverse group of youth serving side-by-side in their hometowns. I’ve always felt it important that YVC not be infiltrated with a certain noblesse oblige—youth from wealthier areas going into poorer parts of the community to serve. The Harvard study and Marilyn’s book make clear the benefits that accrue from a diverse group of youth serving on a team. Perhaps YVC’s most apropos quote is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s, “Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve.”
Marilyn Price-Mitchell’s book makes it clear that we are on the right path with YVC’s emphasis on quality, intensive, community-based service. She also makes it clear that our mission is of paramount importance if we are to have the involved, compassionate citizens our democracy needs.
Review by David Battey, YVC’s President and Founder.