Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II volunteers with children for Global Youth Service Day

Lt. Gov Garlin Gilchrist serving with children

Michigan Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II served his community as a child and now he gives his children the same opportunity.

Gilchrist volunteered with his wife and two children in Detroit recently as part of Global Youth Service Day. The family served with The Lawn Academy, installing garden boxes for seniors.

"I think it's really important for young people to contribute to the community they live in," Gilchrist said. "As a child, my parents made sure I stepped up in my community and that's why I have my kids out here volunteering with me today."

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.

“It really gives me a sense of pride to see all these youth volunteering,” Gilchrist said. “I look at them and I see myself, stepping up and really taking ownership of my community. It shows that the kids care about where they live.”

Eric Miller manages The Lawn Academy, a Detroit nonprofit, and through it, he mentors several Detroit-area youth. He helps them realize their full potential and make positive connections in their community. As part of his program, youth between the ages of 11-18 participate in a college immersion program, in partnership with Wayne County Community College District, and when not in class, youth participants provide lawn services for the elderly, veterans in need, and people with special needs, free of charge.

The Lawn Academy project included 23 youth volunteers serving 61 hours to install four vegetable gardens at a senior citizens housing complex consisting of more than 200 seniors. The project provided a free and healthy source of vegetables for the senior residents. The gardens will also keep several seniors physically active while maintaining the gardens.

“Volunteering allows youth, seniors and everyone a chance to give back,” Miller. “Youth serving with seniors bridges that generational gap that exists.”