Youth, communities, and democracy thrive when we all work together for the common good. Even though youth participation rates are at or near record-high levels, we’re still leaving 3 of every 4 young people out of actively working together for the common good. Participation rates are even lower among youth from underserved low-income and minority communities. Youth Service America’s work is focused on increasing youth participation rates in volunteering and service, voting and civic engagement, and joining and leadership to 50% by USA250 on July 4, 2026, on the way to 100% a decade later so that no one is left behind.
Create your own youth service conference by choosing from the following on-demand sessions and then join YSA staff for a live Q&A consultation session on July 14th at 2:00PM
Topic 1: Semester of Service – www.YSA.org/semester
The free Semester of Service online course will enable educators and youth development staff to guide students in project development from creation to completion using the IPARD/C service-learning process, engaging them in a semester-long activity that is directly linked to 21st Century Skills, using the tools and resources available in the Semester of Service Teacher Toolkit.
Online Training (50 minutes): https://ispri.ng/ND2k6
Toolkit PDF Download: https://ispri.ng/L1yg5
Editable Word Document Download: https://ispri.ng/721JD
We also recommend watching one of the accompanying courses for our Youth Changing the World Toolkit (ages 13-25) or Kids in Action Toolkit (ages 5-12), depending on the age of youth you work with. Think of the Semester of Service Toolkit and training as the teacher’s edition and these resources as the youth/student edition.
Youth Changing the World
This video course will explore the Youth Changing the World Toolkit and prepare you to take a service projects from ideas to action through the various stages of project development (investigation, preparation, planning, and action, and reflection and celebration).
Online Training (12 minutes): https://ispri.ng/Ml1R0
Toolkit PDF Download: https://ispri.ng/xnZVY
Kids in Action
This video training walks through the Kids in Action Guide and is created by kids, for kids to help elementary-age children image and plan a service project.
Online Training (10 minutes): https://ispri.ng/YN91l
Toolkit PDF Download: https://ispri.ng/n9WLq
Topic 2: Engaging Elected Officials – www.YSA.org/vote
Youth Power in 2020 Elections: How to Make Your Voice Heard (1 hour)
Voting is important but isn’t the only way to make your voice heard during elections. Your elected representatives still work for you, even if you can’t vote for them. Get ideas for how you can register, educate, and get out the vote; advocate for progress on the issues you care about; and increase youth voice and leadership in public decision-making between now and Election Day as part of YSA’s ServiceVote 2020 campaign.
Visit YSA’s website for resources and learn how to:
Topic 3: Youth Service During Coronavirus Response & Recovery – www.YSA.org/covid
Volunteering and service are more important during a crisis than ever. Let’s all do our part to contribute to the common good, so that when this crisis is over, we’re proud of how we came together to help our communities respond, recover, and thrive. YSA has updated our COVID-19 Ideas page, now with 20 ways youth can help. Each idea now includes:
- news articles to investigate the issue
- resources to help prepare & plan
- ideas and tools to take action
- stories of youth to inspire
Recognizing that most of the needs caused by the pandemic are really the result of existing problems being made worse by the public health and economic crisis, we've included ideas and resources for both short-term immediate needs and long-term pre-existing issues. www.YSA.org/Covid
We recommend watching one or more of the following sessions:
How Youth Can Respond to the Coronavirus Crisis – presented for the International Association of Volunteer Effort (1 hour)
Young people play a vital role in the global volunteer community. In midst of the coronavirus pandemic, youth volunteers are looking at innovative ways to assist their communities, particularly to those most at risk. Steve Culbertson, President & CEO of Youth Service America (USA), offers his insight on mobilizing youth volunteers in response to the crisis.
Virtual Service Activities and Projects for Student - presented for the National Association of Secondary School Principals NHS, NJHS, NEHS, and National Student Council Programs (1 hour)
Even while social distancing, we know service—inspired by care and concern for your community—can happen. Join us for a group discussion on virtual service activities and opportunities to share ideas; promising practices; and how to support, encourage, and capture these activities. This session features both YSA staff as well as student council and NHS advisors.
Virtual 9/11 Day of Service K-12 and Higher Education Working Group Session - co-hosted by Youth Service America, My Good Deed, and the Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service at George Washington University (52 minutes)
The current international health crisis requires a complete shift in the way we think about how we can best serve in and with our communities. What does this mean for large-scale service projects in general and especially in commemoration of 9/11? How can we shift from coordinated, on-the-ground service in groups to virtual service as collective individuals? This brainstorming session explores answers to these questions and solutions that may enable us to create robust service in honor of 9/11. Young people are responding now in much the same way that they responded after that horrible event nearly 20 years ago: joining together across boundaries to address immediate needs and support the first responders at the front lines. How might we harness this drive to do something, link to the mission of 9/11 Day and create opportunities for youth to serve this September?”
(The entire thing is worth watching, but YSA’s section starts at 30 minutes if you want to watch a shorter section.)