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Labor and Economic Opportunity

Thousands of Michigan youth volunteer on Global Youth Service Day

GYSD 2019

Thousands of Michigan youth volunteered to make an impact in their communities for Global Youth Service Day recently.

The Michigan Community Service Commission supported 30 projects for Global Youth Service Day across the state, engaging more than 3,000 youth volunteers.

Global Youth Service Day is the largest action event in the world that celebrates capacity building of youth and highlights volunteerism. Celebrated in over 95 countries, young people were encouraged to seek out pressing issues and improve their community by participating in a service project.

Loyola High School students from Detroit designed, built and executed an Environmental Resources Fair for students at Gesu Catholic School. The fair involved interactive science activities focused on protecting the world's resources and alternative fuel sources.

“The energy was phenomenal with the children who were free to play and operate every activity while learning about the resources,” said Kathy Gross, instructor at Loyola High School. “As a teacher, the impact was incredibly inspiring as I observed students who are otherwise not engaged and unwilling to participate, become actively involved and proud to share their knowledge.”

The Over 250 youth volunteers from Dewitt Middle School built an AmeriCorps Urban Safety Program led a volunteer project with 61 volunteers from GEE Edmondson Academy. The group painted boards and installed the signs on abandoned homes, deemed unsafe.  Volunteers also planted and cleaned up the historical TrumbullPlex garden in Midtown Detroit.

“These projects helped the city of Detroit to secure vacant homes with colorful, uplifting messages - and the gardening helped to beautify a diminishing, treasured garden in the city of Detroit,” said Jamillah Douthet, AmeriCorps Urban Safety Program Coordinator.

In Kent County, a total of 254 students from five different schools traveled to five area parks. Students, alongside AmeriCorps members and Kent County Parks staff, assisted with landscaping and cleaning up the grounds to prepare for the spring season. While experiencing hands on service, the project also became an educational opportunity for youth as they learned about park eco-systems and how the park plays an impact in their community.

Other Highlights:

  • In Carson City, students participated in the demolition of the local Montcalm Teen Center to prepare for the remodel and grand opening of the new facility. With supervision, students created more than 400 fire starters to begin the tear down of the old building. All resources were made from recycled materials and sold back to the community in efforts to raise money for the new center. 
  • outdoor classroom for the Dewitt Nature Center, where students and the community can enjoy nature while learning.
  • United Way of Saginaw County engaged more than 105 youth volunteers in a collection drive of personal needs items.  The personal needs items were collected, sorted, counted and boxed up for donation. The volunteers collected more than 1,400 items and were able to donate those items to local schools and shelters of the county.
  • Safe Kids West Michigan of Mercy Healthy of Muskegon worked with the HOSA students at Muskegon Area Career Tech Center to create first aid kits for local youth sports coaches.
  • Urban Neighborhood Initiatives hosted a neighborhood mural tour and cleanup in Detroit for 50 youth led by the lead artists of their youth employment mural program, the Southwest Urban Arts Mural Project (SUAMP). Each lead artist took a team of young people around the neighborhood to pick up trash and remove graffiti while preserving the art they have created in the community.