April 14, 2011

Millions of Youth Unite in Global Weekend of Service

Contrary to all the bad press permeating mainstream media today about the young folks of America – their bullying, sexting, drugs, alcohol and all sorts of bad behavior -- I believe in the youth and the good they do. I believe in their power to make their mark on our gigantic globe … NOW. What I don’t believe in is the seemingly innocent question you and I are too often guilty of asking: “What do you want to do when you grow up?” While I’m sure the intent behind this question is to spark curiosity, hope, or perhaps some forward thinking and goal-setting, I know that our future, our youth, can make an impact now.

Don’t believe me? Just check out some of our GoInspireGo (GIG) stories about the inspiring youth of America like Lily Gordon, a teenager who is working on beating hunger in Tanzania, or Phoebe Russell who enabled the San Francisco Food Bank to give out more than 140,000 meals, or the band students from San Jose, CA who were inspired by this GIG video to orchestrate a winter concert to help Reverend Lemaire Alerte, Reverend of the Haitian Evangelical Church in Jersey City, N.J., accomplish his dream of building a school in Haiti.

The folks at Youth Service of America (YSA), the world’s largest and longest-running youth service campaign, share the sentiment -- kids have the power to make a difference today.

This weekend, from April 15 – 17, millions of youth around the world, spanning 100 countries and six continents, will join YSA to celebrate Global Youth Service Day. Witness the wonderful work and service of children and communities working in unison to solve the world’s problems. From elementary school students' flash mobs in Turkey highlighting the world’s water woes to Georgian kids building playgrounds to enrich local families and communities, I invite you to inspire the youth in your life to take action and be the change. Encourage them to participate in Global Youth Service Day.

As adults, I believe it is our filial duty to give back, inspire and challenge our youth to do better for themselves and others.

One of my favorite quotes is from Desmond Tutu, Angelican Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa: “The ocean is made up of individual drops of water.”

We are each a single drop of water moving together to create waves, to create change. My question to you is: Where do you see yourself (and the youth in your life) in the sea of change?

What can YOU do?


  1. So true. In my field of work, we tend to focus on the problems facing and surrounding youth and developing support systems. We forget there are things that youth themselves can do today, right now, to impact their lives and improve their communities. Instilling the values of volunteerism and civic duty now will truly create better futures for everyone.

  2. Youth is a phase of life when individuals are impressionable in the most positive and delightful way. With their energy and enthusiasm, they can do so much good in our society. I believe in each of us taking the time to understanding the power we have in influencing others and to pass on our enthusiasm in bringing good. My commitment is to dedicate some of my professional time in education and mentoring the young professionals.

  3. Being an educator, I know how impressionable our youth is today. The sad part is, they are mostly impressed by negative influences, I have always aspired to be a positive influence in their lives. So I will definitely tell them about this Youth Service Day, and was planning on doing an entire lesson on volunteerism and the work we do at GIG. Every child has the ability to inspire, they just need the guidance to know how to maximize their inspiration!