Youth Volunteer their time to talk and till
While some teens were digging in the dirt preparing for spring planting, others were visiting with senior citizens, dismantling stereotypes each generation had about the other. It was all done in the name of volunteering and planting seeds of service and caring in the community.
The events were part of the North America Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC) annual Volunteer Day on Saturday, March 4, 2017. Hundreds of young volunteers across the U.S. and Canada spent hours serving their communities through volunteer work.
This year’s theme was “Throwback,” honoring the 30th anniversary of the Youth Volunteer Corps, which started here in Kansas City in 1987.
Throwback Fun at Homestead Assisted Living Facility
For some teens the day began at Homestead Assisted Living Facility in Leawood, sprucing up the outdoor courtyard by pulling weeds and planting flowers. After moving inside to hang St. Patrick’s Day decorations they created, they engaged in a bean bag battle with residents as part of the “throwback” senior sport theme.
What teens enjoyed most, though, were the one-on-one conversations with residents, learning about their childhoods and lives up until now. The goal was to engage in a dialogue that allowed for both seniors and youth to learn things about one another and maybe dispel misconceptions.
Many of the Homestead residents loved spending time with the young people because they don’t always get to see their own grandchildren or have many visitors.
The teen volunteers said they now look at senior citizens in a different way, noting that their generation owes the elderly the dignity of getting to know them because they are the ones who paved the way for their generation. Both young and old were all smiles as the day ended.
Sowing Seeds at Community Garden
In Kansas City, Kansas, youth volunteers did their part by getting the community garden at Washington High School ready for planting season. Teens learned about the environment and taking accountability for their neighborhood while tilling dirt. The school’s garden club will soon plant berries and eventually other fruit in the freshly prepared bed.
The garden is a strip of land next to a concrete edge, which will allow it to be accessible to people who aren’t able to bend down to work. At the end of the day, the teens came together to form a human knot, which they were apprehensive about due to their sweat and tired muscles! It wasn’t easy work, but those who participated left with a sense of accomplishment and pride.
The 30th Anniversary of Youth Volunteer Corps
The Youth Volunteer Corps started in Kansas City in 1987 as a summer service program at the YMCA of Greater Kansas City. YVC became an independent organization headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. It grew nationwide into a network of affiliated organizations across the U.S. and Canada running that same program by engaging youth ages 11-18 in team-based, structured, diverse, flexible service-learning opportunities.
YVC is in more than 30 communities throughout North America. More than 300,000 youth have volunteered with the YVC since it started.
Locally, our Y has been the host organization for the Youth Volunteer Corps of Greater Kansas City program since 2013. YVC affiliates across the country include other YMCAs, United Ways, Boys & Girls Clubs, volunteer centers, parks and recreation departments, and other youth-serving organizations.
As part of the Y’s commitment to social responsibility, we’re proud to partner with YVC to offer youth the opportunity to improve their community through volunteering.
Volunteering also allows youth to meet people who are from different backgrounds. Exposing youth to new environments and people helps open their eyes to issues that may be occurring within the community.
We strongly believe that youth are our future and they have the capability of making a difference right now, right here in the Kansas City community.
Photos from the Youth Volunteer Day even are available on YVCKC’s Facebook page.