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Global Youth Service Day: The Children Are Our Future

Global Youth Service Day is a special event celebrated every third weekend of April, dedicated to the contributions of children and youth ages 5 to 25. The event focuses on youth empowerment, cultivating their understanding of societal issues and their role in resolving them. 

Moreover, it highlights the importance of integrating service into education. It emphasizes that young people are not just the future's leaders but today's changemakers, critical drivers in advancing the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. Read on to learn more.

Featured in: April - Awareness Months, Days & Observances.

History and Background of Global Youth Service Day

kids on grass
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Youth Service America is a non-profit organization that aims to inspire young people to make a difference in their communities. They established Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) in 1988. At first, its name was National Youth Service Day.

Steven A. Culbertson founded this initiative to recognize and honor the efforts of young people involved in community service. Since its inception, GYSD has gained significant momentum, becoming the world’s largest service event. 

In 2008, a million young volunteers participated in service projects across 100 countries by the organization's 20th anniversary. In subsequent years, GYSD has aligned its objectives with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Consistently, thousands of young volunteers around the world participate in this purposeful weekend event.

The Cause and Its Challenges

United Nations data report only one in ten youth is involved in community service, despite the largest youth population in history, with 1.8 billion people aged 10-24. Global Youth Service Day reveals the potential of young people. It provides them with the tools and resources needed to be part of the solution to various global issues. 

Additionally, there needs to be more representation of young people in decision-making positions. In 2022, only 2.8% of the world's parliamentarians are under 301. This age discrepancy can lead to policies that do not align with the needs and aspirations of young people, further discouraging their civic participation.

Why Global Youth Service Day Matters

group of youth
Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash.

Global Youth Service Day encourages young people to actively address global issues such as climate change, poverty, and social disparities. It also emphasizes that the youth are not just the future but also the present. 

The event offers and encourages opportunities for young individuals to develop essential life skills such as responsibility, empathy, and leadership. 

Moreover, it promotes the idea of intergenerational partnerships by combining the strengths of young minds and experienced adults to create lasting solutions to environmental and community challenges.

The initiative is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which focus on education, reducing inequalities, and creating sustainable cities and communities. 

Efforts and Initiatives

The United Nations Environment Programme's "Young Champions of the Earth" competition allows young people worldwide to devise innovative solutions to pressing environmental challenges.

Regarding our planet,  the global impact of youth-led movements, such as "Fridays for Future," has compelled governments to address climate change more urgently. 

Meanwhile, the Jane Goodall Institute's Roots & Shoots program inspires young people to create environmental projects that benefit their communities and foster significant ecological change.

How to Get Involved and Support Global Youth Service Day

young volunteers
Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.

Global Youth Service Day acknowledges the efforts of young people worldwide to address various issues, from environmental to poverty. Check out Youth Service America’s resources providing information about participating in or creating events, like community cleanups, recycling drives, and more.

If you are not from the United States,  join a local youth organization and participate in its activities. If you cannot find any event in your area, consider setting up youth service projects to promote awareness of your chosen advocacy.

For environmental-related efforts, check our articles on community cleanup, tree planting projects, and ideas on how to promote zero waste in your community.

Lastly, social media is an excellent tool to share information and create meaningful dialogues that inspire action. Use this year’s official hashtags #GlobalYouthDay and #GYD2024.

Conclusion

Global Youth Service Day allows young people to address and confront critical issues through their energy, creativity, and commitment. We must remember that the spirit of this day is a long-term commitment and a journey.

Therefore, supporting youth development and participation is not only helpful to the younger generation but also an investment in our future. Let’s help the youth shape a brighter tomorrow.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is Global Youth Service Day?

This annual event celebrates and encourages young people to get involved in community service and positively impact their local communities.

2. When is it celebrated?

It happens on the fourth weekend in April every year.

3. Who can participate?

This event is open to young people from all walks of life, including students, youth organizations, and youth volunteers who are passionate about making a difference.

4. What service activities can we do at this event?

Participants can volunteer at local nonprofits, organize clean-up campaigns, mentor younger students, and raise funds for charitable causes.

5. How can I get involved?

Reach out to local organizations, schools, or community centers to learn about service projects in your area. You can also visit the official Global Youth Service Day website to explore opportunities and register your service project.

1

Inter-Parliamentary Union. (2023). Youth participation in national parliaments: 2023.

By Mike Gomez, BA.

Mike is a degree-qualified researcher and writer passionate about increasing global awareness about climate change and encouraging people to act collectively in resolving these issues.

Fact Checked By:
Isabela Sedano, BEng.

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