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October 2008
Focus on Youth Volunteers in October
In This Issue
Featured Book:
Get the Word Out!

More Resources about Young Volunteers

Book Excerpt:
"Why Young People Should Be Decision Makers"

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With Kids Care Week approaching, October is the perfect time for all of us in the volunteerism world to think and learn about what it takes to involve young people in our organizations. How can we benefit from youth serving alongside us to make a difference? Take a look at some of the resources below for ideas. 
FeatureBookFeatured Book
Get the Word Out!Get the Word Out!
by Jenny Sazama and Karen S. Young

An articulate, provocative booklet that, "explores the reasons why young people should be decision makers, details the oppression that keeps them from being actively involved, and offers various tips and exercises that can help both young people and adults think strategically about ending young people's oppression."

Order the book NOW!
(e-book, US $5.00)
ResourcesMore Resources about Young Volunteers
Ideas for how young people can discover what they care about, gain support, and implement a plan for change.
Children as Volunteers
How to integrate volunteers under the age of 14 into an existing adult volunteer program: multi-age teams, designing work, preparing the agency, liaisoning with schools, and legal issues.
An Asset Builder's Guide to Youth Leadership
Sensible and inspiring advice for adults who truly want to engage young people in meaningful leadership volunteer roles, with how-to tips on everything from recruitment to intergenerational meetings.

e-Volunteerism article: Engaging Generation Y
In this Keyboard Roundtable, an international panel explores what it is that makes Generation Y 'tick.' The panel examines ways that all volunteer programs can involve this important ingredient into their participant mix. e-Volunteerism subscribers can log in here.

e-Volunteerism article: The Legacy of Volunteering by Children
For all sorts of legitimate and prejudicial reasons, a lot of organizations debate whether or not they want to welcome volunteers younger than age 14 (or even 16 or 18). But history provides many examples of how even the youngest of citizens have had an impact by taking up a cause and working for its success. This e-Volunteerism article presents a wide range of examples of volunteering by children in the United States and around the world over the last 200 years. e-Volunteerism subscribers can log in here.

Energize Library: Youth and Students in Service
Visit this page in our Free Volunteer Management Resource Library for a long list of articles, excerpts, free e-books, and links to other sites focused on youth in volunteering and service.

ExcerptBook Excerpt
Why Young People Should Be Decision Makers
Excerpted from Get the Word Out!: Going Public about Young People's Power by Jenny Sazama and Karen S. Young

There are many reasons young people should be decision makers to improve their own schools, lives, and communities. Below are some primary reasons to involve youth; a more detailed description of these ideas can be found in the Youth on Board publication 15 Points: Successfully Involving Youth in Decision Making.

It's a diversity issue. Even though they may not have years of formal experience, youth offer intelligence, creative thinking, and a valuable outlook on the world that is seldom introduced into the governance of organizations.

It's a democracy issue. To make a democracy work, all people need to be heard. This includes the voices of young people. We need to hear their views, ideas, and passions and act on their ideas for democracy to thrive in future generations.

It's a bottom-line issue. Young people are uniquely qualified to say what works for young people. By relying on young decision makers to provide personal insights, talk with friends, and organize youth focus groups, organizations can save time and money by catching decisions that might not work well with young people before they are enacted and fail.

It's a civil rights issue. Nowhere in the United States Declaration of Independence is there a stipulation concerning age. "All men are created equal," all are entitled to "certain unalienable rights." In far too many situations, young people are not being heard. Their rights are being disregarded or violated, and adults do not seem to hear or care about it.

It's a youth development issue. Leadership helps young people develop confidence in their opinions and ideas. In addition to fostering confidence, participating as a leader can introduce youth to a range of other skills -- public speaking, budgeting, leading projects and committees, and networking, to name a few. By creating visible youth decision-making positions, you can impact the self-esteem of young people in your organization and throughout your community.

It's a long-term growth issue. Adding young people to the governance of an aging organization can usher in a new generation of leadership.

It's an organizational culture issue. Youth can enliven the atmosphere of your organization by bringing energy, enthusiasm, and interactive work processes. They often remind us that work and fun are not mutually exclusive. Techniques like small group discussions or brainstorming encourage teamwork and foster better communication.

It's a community outreach issue. Young people bring an entirely new community of contacts to your organization. By adding youth to your decision making body, you are expanding your circle of clients, constituents, or consumers, and adding to their understanding of your group.

It's an integrity issue. It is important for any organization to involve its constituents. Just as it would not make sense for the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) to be run exclusively by Caucasians, it does not make sense for youth-serving organizations to be run exclusively by adults.

Permission is granted for organizations to reprint this excerpt. Reprints must provide full acknowledgment of the source, as cited here:

Excerpted from Get the Word Out!: Going Public about Young People's Power by Jenny Sazama and Karen S. Young. Found in the Energize, Inc. Online Bookstore at
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Philadelphia, PA 19144

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