Michigan Community Service Commission to unite youth for Global Youth Service Day 

Global Youth Service Day

Every child has something to offer their community to make it better. They all deserve a chance to show their contributions. The Michigan Community Service Commission has partnered with organizations across the state to engage youth in service.

The Allegan County United Way (ACUW) creates these opportunities for a local group of youth who have cognitive disabilities. Their relationship with these students, who are enrolled in a local Employability Skills Class, is meant to help them find and develop their leadership potential

The students play a significant role in keeping ACUW’s portion of M-222 clean, a task they complete three times each year as part of their Adopt-a-Highway project.

“The students volunteer and help us in several ways that get them engaged in the community,” said Susan Henderson, Director of Volunteer Engagement. “Sometimes, these kids, they get overlooked just because they have disabilities.”

ACUW also partners with local businesses for the two-mile clean-up, giving the students an opportunity to connect with potential employers. They want to ensure that the leadership and community engagement of these youth extends beyond GYSD. The project approach provides them the opportunity to engage with local leaders which could lead to employment

“For the teachers, the ultimate goal is to get them jobs,” says Henderson.

This project will take place on April 20 as a part of Global Youth Service Day (GYSD). On April 20-22, the Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC) will support 25 GYSD projects across the state. As the state’s lead agency on volunteerism, MCSC will partner with the Michigan Nonprofit Association and Youth Service America to facilitate efforts addressing education, health, hunger, community beautification and more.

GYSD gives all children the opportunity to inspire and be inspired, regardless of background. Events like these remind youth that they have a community and play a special role in making it better.

United Way of the EUP will use this year’s Global Youth Service Day to unify Michigan residents across generational lines. Joining together Sault Ste. Marie’s youth and seniors, this effort is a reminder that community is always at the heart of service.

On April 19, United Way of the EUP’s project will engage at-risk high school students in a gardening project at Hearthside Assisted Living. They are partnering with Malcolm High School and the Boys & Girls Club to beautify the facility, focusing on things like removing winter debris, clearing walkways, trimming bushes, replenishing bird feeders, cleaning garden beds, and planting starter kits.

“It’s amazing to see youth make an impact in communities across the state,” said Ginna Holmes, Michigan Community Service Commission executive director. “Seeing youth taking a lead role in the volunteer projects and making a difference in their communities is a wonderful sign for our future.”

Michigan GYSD Projects

Detroit Edison Public Academy will engage students in service during a college visit to Oakland University on April 25. The project is designed to empower Detroit youth through exposure to higher education as they work closely with the campus Volunteer Center.

In Grand Rapids, the Heart of West Michigan United Way will carry out a variety of projects addressing things like park beautification, access to clean water for families in Rwanda, support for recipients of Meals on Wheels and more. Around 500 students from Kent County Schools will participate.

The South Lansing Community Development Association will engage students in a gardening project that aims to improve the community’s access to fresh produce. Youth at Reo Elementary School will spend GYSD installing a vegetable garden, painting classrooms and redesigning halls.

Global Youth Service Day

This year marks the 30th anniversary of GYSD, an annual campaign that celebrates and mobilizes the millions of children and youth who improve their communities each day of the year through service and service-learning. Founded by Youth Service America in 1988, GYSD is the largest and longest-running service event in the world and the only day of service dedicated to youth.

The Michigan Community Service Commission is also supporting the following projects:





Sault Ste. Marie

United Way of the EUP


Intergenerational gardening project with at-risk high school students and seniors living in assisted living facility

April 19th

Sault Ste. Marie

Sault Area Schools – Service Learning Class


Youth Volunteer Fair for students with service project activities

April 16-20th


Boys and Girls Club of Alpena

Build a memorial bench to be placed on grounds where community Relay for Life takes place. 

April 16-20th


US Forest Service

Move pollinator garden beds

April 21st

Grand Rapids

Heart of West MI United Way

Community park clean-ups, cards for Meals on Wheels recipients, Kids Food Basket bag decorating

April 20th


Reeths Puffer Central Elementary School

Clean up grounds and improve flower beds

April 20-21st


United Way of Montcalm and Ionia Counties

Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive (schoolwide)



April 20-30th


Allegan County United Way

Roadside Clean-Up with cognitively impaired students matched with potential employers 

April 20th

Big Rapids

Project Starburst

Sorting, cleaning pantry shelves, packaging meals

April 21st

Bay City

Delta College

Youth Camp clean-up

April 14- 15th 


Allen Neighborhood Center

Maintenance and enhancement of Edible Park Garden

April 21st



St. Thomas Aquinas Parish School 


Making complete classroom sets of “rekenreks”, a tool similar to an abacus

 April 20th



Edgewood Village Art of Leadership

Youth-led Volunteer Recognition event for volunteers serving their program


April 20th


South Lansing Community Development Association


Installation of a vegetable garden on Reo school property


St. Johns

Clinton/Gratiot Habitat for Humanity

“Rock the Block” clean-up event

April 27-28th


Monroe County Opportunity Program 

Mobile Food Pantry with DTE Energy staff members

April 21st


Northwest Elementary 

Student Council and Learning Impaired students working together to perform services to local animal shelter 


April 19th



The Lawn Academy

Yard-work and landscaping for seniors, disabled and military families

  April 21st



Unity in Our Community Time Bank

Neighborhood beautification and yard-work for seniors

April 14th


Peace Tree Parks


Maintenance and enhancements of community garden beds and grounds

April 21st


Urban Neighborhood Initiatives

Mural enhancement and graffiti removal project 

April 16-20th



Urban Safety Program –

Safe Routes to School and Board-Up/Clean-Up activities

April 21st



VIP Mentoring

Event to couple law enforcement and mentees/mentors in positive Interaction.  Service is providing comfort kits to law enforcement personnel

April 16th – 21st


Wayne Metro Community Action Agency


Beautify afterschool center grounds – four locations

 April 20th


Detroit Edison Public School Academy 

College visits with service projects incorporated with campus Volunteer Center


April 25th 


The United Way of Genesee County is also a lead agency of GYSD projects. This year they will support 13 organizations in service projects.

These groups include:

  • Bendle Middle School
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flint
  • Boys & Girls Club of Greater Flint
  • Crim Fitness Foundation Student Action Council
  • Flint Northwestern High School
  • Foss Ave block Club
  • Freeman Elementary School
  • Grand Blanc Community Schools
  • Pierce Elementary School
  • Powers Catholic High School
  • Southwestern Classical Academy
  • Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village
  • Whaley Children’s Center

Visit GYSD.org to find out how you can serve.