Peace Corps Helps Empower Youth on Global Youth Service Day
April 25, 2008Washington, D.C., April 24, 2008 - From April 25-27, the Peace Corps celebrates the work of its Volunteers during Global Youth Service Day, an annual global event that highlights and celebrates the contributions of youth to their communities through volunteer service.
Peace Corps Volunteers work with youth in many different capacities in the countries in which they serve. Peace Corps youth development projects emphasize activities to increase youth participation in local community service. Volunteers in youth development work with at-risk youth ages 10 to 25. Current projects include vocational training, work with street kids, programs for mentally or physically challenged individuals, sports programs, self-esteem and leadership development activities, income generation, health and HIV/AIDS education and awareness, life skills development, training of youth development workers, and stay-in-school programs.
"Global Youth Service Day serves as a way to promote volunteerism by bringing together youth, community leaders, and organizations to engage in service activities, and celebrate those who work to make their communities a better place," said Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter. "Youth development is a priority activity in many of the countries that the Peace Corps serves. Peace Corps Volunteers connect with local youth by organizing community activities and providing support."
Here are a few examples of Peace Corps Volunteers who work with youth overseas:
- In China, Samantha Scrivner and her husband Chris Lee invited doctors to speak to students during an HIV/AIDS Education Day. The youth wore red to school to raise community awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. An art project displayed in the school lobby helped to encourage discussion on HIV/AIDS.
- In Cambodia, Volunteer Jason Park helped create a program where eight youth soccer teams representing schools from communities in the Kampot province participated in an intra-provincial youth soccer tournament. Sports programs are instrumental in teaching youth skills on leadership, sportsmanship and teamwork.
- In Costa Rica, the development of employment skills is emphasized as Volunteers encourage young adults to consider their futures through self-esteem and confidence activities. In addition, Volunteers like Alejandro Martinez work with children in state-sponsored youth shelters as part of the Children, Youth and Families to develop life skills, and self-confidence.
- In Bulgaria, Volunteers like Natalie Moering work at the community center and schools with youth of all ages. With the guidance of the Peace Corps Volunteers, local youth organize environmental clean-up days and participate in community activities.
- Through the World Wise Schools program Volunteers in various countries working with students communicate with a class in the United States. The classes communicate through email and learn about diverse cultures through their interactions.
Global Youth Service Day is an annual event organized by Youth Service America and the Global Youth Action Network to recognize and encourage community efforts of youth empowerment, especially through education. The celebration is a key youth initiative event, founded on its four main objectives: build, educate, mobilize and learn.
The Peace Corps is part of this global effort and works with Volunteers to establish youth development programs in all host countries. Peace Corps reaches children through its new Peace Corps Kids World website (www.peacecorps.gov/kids). The website provides an opportunity for kids to participate in a Peace Corps Challenge simulation game that exposes them to life as a Peace Corps Volunteer. The Peace Corps has also developed a website for teens, which allows them to learn more about the Peace Corps and correspond with a Volunteer (www.peacecorps.gov/teens).
The Peace Corps is celebrating a 47-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently there are 8,000 Volunteers abroad, a 37-year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 190,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.
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