YSA’s 2021-2022 Lead Agency program supports schools and nonprofits that lead partner coalitions to engage youth volunteers on 9/11 Day of Service & Remembrance (September 11, 2021), MLK Day of Service (January 17, 2022), and/or Global Youth Service Day (April 29 – May 1, 2022). Supported by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and AmeriCorps, the Lead Agency program offers youth development organizations, networks of afterschool programs, community-based organizations, and schools/school districts grant funding, capacity-building training, and ongoing support to effectively engage young people in meaningful service and service-learning activities.
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Volunteering for the first time in childhood is an expressway to a lifetime of civic participation! We see national days of service – such as 9/11 Day of Service, MLK Day of Service, and Global Youth Service Day – as the perfect on-ramps.
Lead Agencies are a vital part of increasing youth participation in their communities by engaging youth as volunteers for the first time on national days of service. The primary role of a Lead Agency is to convene a partner coalition that will collaborate to collectively activate youth – especially those in middle and high school and in under-served communities who aren’t usually asked to participate. Lead Agencies convene partner coalitions of:
K-12 schools, colleges and universities;
Youth development, afterschool, and extracurricular programs; and
Community and faith-based organizations, government agencies, national service programs, volunteer centers, etc.
In turn, these coalitions work together to engage youth, ages 5-25, to lead service or service-learning projects through which they:
build youth-adult partnerships that create connections with caring adults who encourage them to use their Sparks (passions, interests, and skills) to help others,
provide opportunities to learn and practice 21st Century Skills (Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Critical Thinking),
strengthen their community by working towards achieving the Global Goals (17 UN Sustainable Development Goals), and
Lead ASAP (through Awareness, Service, Advocacy, and Philanthropy projects) that follow health and safety guidelines of federal, state, and local governments.
To support Lead Agencies in building the capacity of their coalition members, we will provide online training and networking opportunities throughout the year, including three half-day virtual Youth Service Institute trainings (specific dates TBD in early August 2021, October or November 2021, and February or March 2022).
For the 2021-2022 program, YSA is offering Lead Agency Grants of up to $8,000, depending on the number of youth volunteers engaged. Applicants should focus on engaging youth in middle school and high school, especially those from under-served communities. Applicants may work locally, regionally, statewide, or multi-state and must be based in the United States.