Written by: Ellen King, Learn and Serve – Michigan AmeriCorps*VISTA
Global Youth Service Day officially starts this Friday, April 15 and many projects are planned across the state.
The Michigan Community Service Commission, The LEAGUE Michigan, and Youth Service America distributed $11,000 in mini-grant funds to support 2011 Global Youth Service Day projects across the state this April. Thirty-five organizations from across Michigan were selected through a peer review process to receive funds to coordinate service projects that address education, economic opportunity, supporting veterans and military families, health, clean energy and environmental stewardship, disaster preparedness, and public safety.
I helped coordinate the mini-grant review process, and I want to emphasize the importance we placed on incorporating youth voice in both the application and review process. One of the requirements of the mini-grant was that it must have been written by a youth who planned to participate in the planning and implementation of the project. We also wanted to ensure that because the mini-grants were written by youth, the mini-grant recipients would be youth chosen and reviewed.
I realized throughout this process that Global Youth Service Day really is all about mobilizing youth to improve their communities each day. Even though my year of service started in late November 2010, I have already seen the benefits of youth voice, and youth service participation first hand. Each time I started reading a new mini-grant application I became excited and truly inspired by today’s youth, and the value they will be giving to their communities. I look forward to serving alongside many youth in the coming weeks because each time I do, I feel like they are giving me more than I am giving them.
Below is a description highlighting some of our mini-grant recipient’s projects:
Two Service-Learning Youth Council (SLYC) members are coordinating a clean-up day at their local ski area, Hickory Hills, in Traverse City. Volunteers from both high schools in the area will repaint and clean the lodge, repair tow rope shacks, and collect garbage. This project is tentatively set for the week of April 18.
In Lansing, the Allen Neighborhood Center, in collaboration with the Power of We, The Boys and Girls Club of Lansing, The Garden Project, and NorthWest Initiative will construct two “Really Raised” Garden Beds. This project will be held on April 16, and volunteers will construct two accessible raised garden beds to accommodate those who are differently-abled at Hunter Park Garden House.
Calumet High School students, a Learn and Serve Michigan grantee district, will work to improve the Copper Country Artists Association’s gallery space as well as connect with senior artists from the Association. The students will compile a book of interviews, photographs, and art work during the week of April 11, which they will donate to the Calumet Public Library. Calumet is located in the Keweenaw Peninsula in the Upper Peninsula.
Youth members of College Prep International in Detroit will provide a workshop on financial aid and financial literacy for college bound students. This workshop is targeted for high school students in Southwest Detroit on Saturday, April 16.
Also on Saturday, April 16, HandsOn Battle Creek – in collaboration with the LEAGUE Michigan, Food Bank of South Central Michigan, and several community school clubs – will host a Fresh Food Initiative to get food into low-income neighborhoods. Students will separate fruits and vegetables into bags to be divided among families in the area.
So far, more than 85 projects have been registered in Michigan on the official Global Youth Service Day Project Map, www.gysd.org. The project map features projects that could be in your area, along with contact information. Check it out and join one of the many projects happening across the state! And don’t forget to register your Global Youth Service Day project at www.gysd.org and by clicking on register in the toolbar at the top.
For more information about the specific mini-grant funded projects, visit http://www.michigan.gov/mcsc/0,1607,7-137-6118_11733-253407--,00.html.