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Millions of Youth Around the World Volunteer to Improve Communities
Date:4/23/2009

More than 1,800 projects registered for Global Youth Service Day

WASHINGTON, April 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Millions of children and youth all over the world will participate in volunteer and service activities as part of the 21st Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) on April 24-26, 2009.

During GYSD, the largest service event in the world and an initiative of Youth Service America (YSA), young people will participate in and facilitate projects with families, schools, community and faith-based organizations, and businesses; they focus on serious issues such as climate change, education, poverty, health, hunger and homelessness.

GYSD highlights and celebrates the positive contributions youth make to their communities every day of the year. It supports youth on a lifelong path of service and service-learning. To date, www.GYSD.org displays more than 1,800 registered projects all over the world, more than double the amount of registered projects at this time last year.

"The rising momentum of the youth service movement is a shining example of the positive change that stems from young people contributing to their communities," said Steve Culbertson, president and CEO of Youth Service America. "Global Youth Service Day is a powerful glimpse into the year-round participation of young volunteers. It is also an opportune time to connect children and youth who have never served with local projects that will inspire them to lead a life of service."

Activities and highlights of Global Youth Service Day 2009 include:

Media

  • Miley Cyrus and Youth Service America launched Miley.YSA.org, a social network that features a call to service from Miley Cyrus and creates a space for kids to share their ideas about improving communities. Miley tweeted about GYSD Thursday, April 23, 2009.
  • Hip hop artist, Usher, asked fans to get involved through text messaging, reaching 21,000 young people via their cell phones. This outreach is in partnership with ServiceNation.
  • The CMT cable network's pro-social initiative, CMT One Country, has joined forces for the third year in a row to help mobilize youth for GYSD featuring the event on their website. Up and coming CMT country stars, the Carter Twins, filmed a PSA asking youth to participate in GYSD. Additionally, Carter Twins radio PSA aired on CMT's Country Music Countdown.

GYSD Projects

  • Washington, D.C., United States - 250 university students will cut their hair for Locks of Love, an organization that donates hair pieces to children suffering from medical-related hair loss. The students will also host a fundraiser for SpecialLove, a camp for kids with cancer in Northern Virginia.
  • Houston, TX, United States - High school Key Club members will spend their semester implementing a Light Way Organic Garden. During GYSD, the students and adult volunteers will gather the vegetables and donate them to a local senior center.
  • Glenville, NY, United States - Adolescents, partnering with Things of My Very Own - a nonprofit that provides support to abused or neglected children, will read to younger children and help them develop original stories in this large literacy event.
  • Shangai, China - Youth from Shanghai JiaoTong University will survey the living conditions of surrounding communities and present potential solutions for improving the neighborhoods to local government.
  • Accra, Ghana - Youth in the Accra Region of India will visit collect goods and distribute them to orphanages and will also coordinate community clean up events.

Legislation

  • The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, signed on Tuesday by President Obama, authorizes a massive expansion of national service programs for Americans of all ages and establishes a Semester of Service Program, modeled after YSA's Semester of Service, which allows K-12 youth to earn academic credit for service-learning programs tied to academic standards and of at least 70 hours in duration with a third of the time spent in the community opportunities in school and community-based programs.
  • The Kennedy Serve America Act also recognizes Global Youth Service Day, encourages White House participation, and authorizes the Corporation for National Service and other federal departments and agencies to organize activities and make grants to public or private nonprofit organizations to organize activities on GYSD.

Events

  • Youth Service America staff will join Serve DC, a division of the DC Mayor's office and a GYSD Lead Agency, to participate in a service project on April 24 to kick off Global Youth Service Day.
  • Semester of Service, a 14-week service-learning framework, launched in January on Martin Luther King Day of Service. Many of these projects will culminate on GYSD. YSA, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and Bank of America are partners in this effort.
  • UnitedHealthcare and Youth Service America published First Responders: Youth Addressing Childhood Obesity Through Service-Learning, a module designed to help educators engage students in solving childhood obesity.
  • Approximately 300 projects in the U.S. and abroad received a Global Youth Service Grant supporting youth-led service and service-learning projects. State Farm Good Neighbor Service-Learning grants support service-learning projects in the U.S.; Disney Minnie Grants support service projects in over 10 countries including India, China, and Moldova; UnitedHealth HEROES grants support service-learning projects engages kids themselves in addressing the childhood obesity epidemic. All projects culminate on GYSD.

The program's website, www.GYSD.org, offers valuable resources for the celebration including Planning Toolkits, Service-Learning Curriculum Guides, Classroom Posters, Global Youth Service Grants, and technical assistance. State Farm Companies Foundation is the GYSD presenting sponsor in the United States.

About Youth Service America

Youth Service America (YSA) improves communities by increasing the number and the diversity of young people, ages 5-25, serving in substantive roles. YSA envisions a global culture of engaged children and youth committed to a lifetime of service, learning, leadership, and achievement. The impact of YSA's work through service and service-learning is measured in student achievement, workplace readiness, and healthier communities. For more information, visit www.YSA.org.


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SOURCE Youth Service America
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