Saturday, July 2, 2016

Happy July 4th

June 30, 2016 | Volume 23, No. 26
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Celebrating the United States of Service

Did you know that many of the "founding fathers" were actually in their twenties when they signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776? Talk about youth changing the world!

As America celebrates Independence Day this July 4th weekend, YSA is proud to share stories of service that prove "there is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America" - our young people!

While this holiday honors the events of July 1776, it's also about celebrating the America of today... a country that lives up to President Truman's statement that "America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand." Meet 51 young people who are doing the job at hand of making their communities, the United States, and the world better:

If you're inspired by these stories, help YSA spark even more service in the year ahead by making a contribution today at   

There is something fundamentally wrong when around one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted, yet more than 800 million people go to bed hungry each night. This is not an injustice that is limited to countries in the developing world. In America, up to 40 percent of food goes uneaten, while 15.3 million children live in food insecure households. The consequences of food waste do not stop there: It annually generates 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases worldwide, and uses more than a quarter of the world's available agricultural land. See what you can do to help and more 

Summer Learning Day is an annual national advocacy day led by the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) to elevate the importance of keeping kids learning, safe and healthy every summer. Everyone - programs, families, schools, educators, policymakers, businesses - can make summer a season of learning by pledging to #KeepKidsLearning at 
Find more Summer of Service ideas at
Deadline: August 12
The Melinda Gray Ardia Environmental Foundation supports educators in the development, implementation, and field-testing of environmental curricula. The foundation hopes to empower student involvement in solving environmental and social problems. Schools, non-profits, governmental agencies and other organizations are eligible to apply for grants up to $1,500.
Deadline: August 21
YSA is now accepting applications for the 2017 Global Youth Service Day Lead Agency Program! Through the generous support of State Farm, the program offers organizations in the United States funding of $500 or $1,000 as well as ongoing capacity-building training to lead high-impact, high-visibility events for Global Youth Service Day on April 21-23, 2017. As the official organizer of GYSD in their region, Lead Agencies are a vital part of creating a culture where young people have the opportunities and support to create positive change in their communities. Learn more and apply at: 

Deadline: September 30
Young changemakers who have ideas or projects that could make their neighborhoods healthier, greener, and stronger can receive $500 to gather their friends and bring their creative visions to life. Youth, ages 5-18, in the U.S. are eligible to apply for Disney Summer of Service grants by submitting service project ideas. Hundreds of youth-led service projects will be selected and $500 grants will be awarded to each winner's sponsoring organization to assist with the implementation of the project. Select grantees will have a chance to be recognized by Disney|ABC Television Group or their local ABC  

Morgan Stasik is a college student who has a passion for helping others live healthier lives. As a future dietitian, she focuses on helping those in need gain a better knowledge of good health practices. Morgan actively helps low income individuals who have high blood pressure. She assists their needs by providing access to foods and diets that lower their blood pressure and provides relevant information to assist them in their food choices. She has put her plan into action by going out to local food pantries and providing supplementary food bags that meet the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) guidelines. The food bags provide nutritional information about how to get assistance at local healthcare clinics. Morgan is currently reaching out to healthcare facilities and plans to increase her efforts by involving her peers as volunteers. Along with help from other students in a community nutrition class, she has found three food pantries that are willing to support her project. 
Today, Voices for National Service released a new paper authored by Dr. Robert Balfanz, Director of the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, entitled "Creating a Continuum of Care for Children in High Poverty Communities: The Vital Role of National Service in Building a Better Support System." The paper examines why current student support approaches are not working; makes the case for moving toward a continuum of care approach fueled by national service; highlights emerging examples; explores the challenges of bringing this new approach to scale; and proposes a six-step path toward realizing a system in which low-income students receive the continuum of care they need to emerge from poverty and achieve adult success.
Having a clear, positive idea of their "best possible selves" can motivate young people to work harder and do better in school, particularly if they are shown connections between what they're doing in school and these future aspirations.  Teachers, youth workers, mentors, parents, and other caring adults can do a lot to help students connect today's learning and actions with future aspirations and goals. Here are seven ideas from Search Institute that can help you nurture a young person's sense of purpose and plans for becoming her or his best self.
This week, more than 1500 educators from around the world started the Roots & Shoots online course, Growing Compassionate Leaders: Empowering Youth Through Service in Education. It's not too late to register and get started. This week, course participants are getting an introduction to Roots & Shoots and reviewing service-learning fundamentals. Next week, is Step 1: Engaging Young People and the first lesson with special guest instructor, Dr. Jane! This professional development course is free and open to everyone and teaches participants how to identify and implement a local service learning campaign using the Roots & Shoots program model.
"We Are The Ones" - Sweet Honey in the Rock 

"We are the ones
we've been waiting for."

The complete Service Songs of the Week playlist from 2012-2016 is at  
Thank you to YSA's sponsors who make our work possible:

Michael Minks
Vice President of Operations, YSA (Youth Service America) | (202) 296-2992 |

Youth Service America, 1101 15th Street NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20005