Local non-profit, YouthServe, knows how important community service is to the development of young adults. “We believe that, if given the appropriate skills and opportunities, every youth has the potential to become a leader,” says Program Director Tiffany Brown. “They all have the potential to make positive changes and contributions to their community.”
It is this shared sentiment that paved the way for a partnership between Ed and YouthServe.
In December, YouthServe helped place over 130 student volunteers from the Academies of Birmingham at Jackson-Olin, Wenonah, Huffman, and Woodlawn High Schools for a single day of group service. Students were sorted based on interests and spent the day volunteering at one of six sites across the city, including the Greater Birmingham Humane Society and Toys for Tots. You can hear more about the Academy Service Day in our January Student Voice segment here.
Beyond their involvement with Ed, YouthServe provides a wealth of service opportunities and activities for students across the Birmingham Metro Area. Born of the 2004 merger between First Look and the Birmingham Youth Service Corps, YouthServe currently operates four main initiatives for youth ages 13-18: monthly Community Action service days, an in-school Service Learning Education curriculum, the summer Urban Service Camp, and two year-long leadership programs - the Youth Philanthropy Council and Youth Action Council.
This menu of programs is designed to enlighten, enlist, and engage students in service learning, because YouthServe believes that service is a crucial part of developing a strong community, through the cyclical act of giving, receiving, and giving back again. Through these programs, YouthServe hopes to help convey to students the importance of community involvement as a life-long commitment, one that can affect all facets of a young person’s life from graduating high school, to gaining access to higher education and employment, and finally being a part of the hands-on volunteer work that will transform our community.
“Above all else, we want to empower our young people in Birmingham,” says YouthServe Executive Director Jennifer Hatchett. “We want them to see their own potential and help them establish a solid foundation for the transition from student to citizen so that they, too, can be a part of the future of our city.”
To learn more about YouthServe programs, or to apply to the YouthServe leadership councils, visit their website at youthservebham.org.