The Volunteer Center of the Triad recognizes that our youth need a way to connect with their communities to create positive change, not only for the community but for themselves. As an affiliate of the nationwide program presented by Youth Volunteer Corp (YVC), The Volunteer Center will offer youth ages 11-18 the opportunity to experience meaningful and positive volunteer opportunities to create a lifelong interest in service to the community. We call this new initiative VolunTeen.
Research conducted by YVC showed that just one negative volunteer experience may keep youth from engaging in volunteerism long-term. The YVC model is designed to keep youth engaged and excited. More than 96% of youth in a YVC program have indicated their desire to continue to seek volunteer opportunities in the future. The model is a team-based approach, bringing together participants from public schools, private schools, homeschool groups and others who may not normally interact with one another. Leadership positions are created so that participants have a true say in how the program is conducted.
Additionally, the program will include opportunities to participate without regard to race, socioeconomic status, gender, experience, ability or geographic location. The program aims to be representative of the diversity in our community. Structured projects allow for flexibility and the opportunity for each participant to feel safe, welcomed and valued.
The VolunTeen Program will work closely with local school systems and nonprofit organizations to identify opportunities throughout the Triad area. Projects will be offered after-school, during school breaks and during the summer. Participating teens will also be eligible to participate in leadership development opportunities offered through the national YVC program including an annual conference and scholarship opportunities.
Creating a love of community and volunteerism early helps create understanding and compassion for our neighbors. It helps strengthen our community and reduces barriers to conflict resolution. By ensuring there are volunteer opportunities for our youth, we can help teens connect to others and build relationships, learn new skills, reduce stress and even prepare for possible career aspirations.
The Volunteer Center of the Triad is excited to offer this program to the youth in our community. We are currently seeking funding for the program.