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June 2009
Are you ready for youth volunteers?
In This Issue
Featured Resource: Children as Volunteers

More Resources on Youth and Family Volunteering

Book Excerpt

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Kids from kindergarten to college are embarking upon their summer breaks. Are you ready for more volunteer inquiries from youth and families wanting to make a difference?  If you're in the U.S., you should be especially prepared for a greater than usual influx of applications due to the White House's "United We Serve" initiative.  Set to officially begin June 22nd, it will provide a nationwide focus on volunteering this summer that will likely have great appeal with young people. 
 
Here are some resources to help you get ready to make the most of youth and family volunteers this summer.
FeatureBookFeatured Book
Children as Volunteers:
Preparing for Community Service


Featured Resource: Children as Volunteers The only book expressly for agencies about how to incorporate children into an adult volunteer program and find creative ways to use children's fresh perspectives. Includes examples of actual volunteer projects accomplished by youngsters, models of child-adult teams and tips on family volunteering. Learn how to recruit, train and design assignments for volunteers under the age of 14. Plus, special sections discuss mandated school-based community service and legal issues.
 
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US$16.95, paperback
US$9.00, electronic version
ResourcesMore Resources on Youth and Family Volunteering
Working Shoulder to Shoulder: Stories and Strategies of Youth-Adult Partnerships That Succeed
Learn how to recruit youth participants and welcome them with useful orientations, conduct successful, engaging intergenerational meetings, build strong relationships between youth and adult participants, support youth in leadership roles, and evaluate your partnerships over time to measure success and to identify opportunities for improvement. In addition to practical strategies, the volume offers success stories from around the United States and Canada. Learn how these groups have put theory into practice, reaping the tremendous benefits of working shoulder-to-shoulder with young people.
 
e-Volunteerism article: Developing Agency Capacity to Promote and Support Family Volunteerism
In the late 1990s, the Volunteer Center of Battle Creek Michigan worked closely with the Points of Light Foundation and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation to adopt and implement the Family Matters program, which aimed at making "family volunteering the norm in the U.S." This article reports on some of the strategic decisions that were made to develop the capacity of participating organizations to work with family (as well as corporate) volunteers. A focal point of this article is a study of family volunteers that explored the barriers and incentives to family volunteerism. ( If you are already an e-Volunteerism subscriber, you can read the full text here.)

e-Volunteerism Article: Reach Out to Youth - Their Way
The Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Alberta has a dedicated volunteer corps that until recently was comprised mainly of adults who had been serving the Museum for 20 to 30 years. The Glenbow made a conscious decision to focus recruitment efforts on youth, especially students from junior high to university. These young people have brought new enthusiasm to the volunteer program and offer hope for maintaining volunteer commitment into the future. This article examines what was learned about the special needs of young volunteers, particularly in how to communicate our recruitment appeals and how to support their efforts. (If you are already an e-Volunteerism subscriber, you can read the full text here.)

Family Volunteering: The Final Report, a free e-book from Volunteering Canada
This study surveyed both volunteer managers and individual volunteers who engage in family volunteering and reports on the results.
Resources Book Excerpt
The Case for Involving Children as Volunteers

From Children as Volunteers: Preparing for Community Service by Susan J. Ellis, Anne Weisbord, and Katherine H. Noyes

Children are the citizens of tomorrow.
Children are the promise of the future.
Children don't know why something "can't" be done.
Children are an untapped resource.
 
Although such phrases that value children are repeated often enough to sound trite, in modern society we rarely give our youngest citizens the opportunity to contribute their ideas and talents. Even organizations that serve or advocate for children perceive them primarily as recipients of service. Child labor laws forbid most employment prior to age fourteen. The paid work that youngsters are allowed to do (delivering papers, mowing lawns, running errands) is encouraged more to teach responsibility than to utilize the potential of children.
 
Volunteering is the perfect way for children to be welcomed as productive, active members of a community. While many volunteer assignments do require credentials or prior experience, a great number offer the chance to try something brand new and value enthusiasm more than background. As volunteers, boys and girls can demonstrate their independent abilities and can handle work according to their actual skill level rather than be restricted by their age.
 
College students and teenagers are increasingly welcome in organizations. This book advocates the inclusion of even younger children. We recognize -- and will discuss -- the need for practical management techniques to integrate youngsters effectively into service delivery. Our position is that the effort is worth it. In addition to the obvious benefit of "more hands," fresh ideas and energy are just two of the other positive contributions children make to recipient organizations...
 
Today many adults are rediscovering the rewards of encouraging children to be social contributors. The following is a list of actual projects in which children under age fourteen have volunteered. The examples come from all over the country and demonstrate the immense range of possibilities. Note how the following structural elements are combined in the various projects described, creating a diversity of program models:
  • Children volunteering as individuals or in groups.
  • Ongoing projects or one-time activities.
  • Formal programs within an established agency or informal projects created independently.
  • Help given to institutions or given to individual people (indirect or direct services).
  • Volunteering that is intergenerational (child with adult), peer-to-peer (children of the same age), or "mixed" children (children of one age serving children of another age).
 
Kindergarteners and first graders constructed blue bird houses to try to boost the area's dwindling eastern bluebird population...
 
Eight-year-olds and senior citizens worked together to grow vegetables in a community gardening project...
 
School children were recruited for a "Kid's Way" component of a United Way. They surveyed their peers about perceived community problems, then decided how to fundraise from youth and which services to fund...
 
Groups of youngsters assisted with state and local park maintenance by painting and cleaning park buildings, clearing underbrush, maintaining trails, and constructing exhibits from natural materials...
 
Three to five-year-olds teamed up with their mothers to visit nursing home residents who were severely depressed. The teams built relationships with the residents, took them for walks, and encouraged participation in activities...
 
Elementary and junior high students assisted the mainstreaming process and fostered a better understanding of their disabled peers by creating: a peer tutoring program; a class notes sharing system; a sign language club; and a joint swimming program involving both disabled and non-disabled youngsters...
 
Twelve-, thirteen-, and fourteen-year-olds from a tough inner-city school worked with civic and business leaders to identify community problems and examine possible solutions. They organized a neighborhood health fair, lobbied for the removal of abandoned buildings, and created a community garden...


Permission is granted for organizations to reprint this excerpt. Reprints must provide full acknowledgment of the source, as cited here:
Excerpted from Children as Volunteers: Preparing for Community Service,
by Susan J. Ellis, Anne Weisbord, and Katherine H. Noyes 2003, Energize, Inc. Found in the Energize, Inc. Online Bookstore at http://www.energizeinc.com/store/2-102-E-1
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