Youth Action Produces Socially Responsible Leaders
Youth Action is a non-profit that INSPIRES students to LEAD and provides them with the resources and support to SERVE their communities.
- To develop students into socially responsible leaders through training, mentorship, and exposure to service
- To increase student awareness and access to tools, resources, and networks that will enable them to create social change in their communities
- To empower students to inspire their peers to lead and serve their communities
Students Inspiring Students to Serve
Youth Action was organized in 2003 by youth from Philadelphia who attended a Youth to Leaders Summit in Washington, DC. At this summit, Youth Action was one of four student groups that formed project teams to address community issues of concerns and has since significantly expanded.
We want all secondary schools to design and implement programs that provide students with opportunities to apply what they learn so they can better serve their communities. Improved civic engagement among youth in Philadelphia will address our democratic shortfalls of lack of equality and help solve major issues plaguing our world.
We envision a generation of civic-minded leaders who organize impactful community service programs throughout their professional lives, while inspiring the next generation of students to follow in their footsteps.
Youth Action empowers middle and high school students in Philadelphia to become changemakers by educating them on societal issues, teaching them ways to create social change, and connecting them with opportunities and resources in their communities to act on issues of their concern. Focused on building socially responsible young leaders in Philadelphia, Youth Action provides leadership training, mentorship, and funding to help young people organize student-led community service initiatives.
To combat alarming national statistics that highlight low service rates among youth ages 13-22, Youth Action runs three core service programs for middle and high school students in Greater Philadelphia. Our Junior Youth Action (JYA), Inspiring Leaders (ILP), and Service Leader (SLP) programs provide students with mentorship, training, and resources to lead and serve Philadelphia. These structured programs are all student-led and have been effective in increasing student volunteerism, activism, and leadership in the Philadelphia community. In a recent service year, approximately 70 students accumulated over 1,700 service hours in Philadelphia. Youth Action students combat social problems plaguing Philadelphia’s communities such as crime, homelessness, hunger, and teen pregnancy.
The key to our work is cultivating young leaders through community service. Statistical reports find that community service not only impacts communities served, but also helps students with:
- Interpersonal and Communication Skills
- Oral and written Communication
- Organizing Projects and Meetings
- Developing their Passions and Interests by engaging in real world work
- Meeting like-minded peers and professional mentors
The above skill-sets are essential to building great citizens who contribute to our world.
Our Civic Engagement Concern
Our Challenge and Problem
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics volunteerism and service has declined over the past few years. Youth Action looks to increase the number of student volunteers and service leaders in the city of Philadelphia.
The volunteer rate declined by 1.1 percentage points to 25.4 percent for the year ending in September 2013, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The volunteer rate in 2013 was the lowest it has been since the supplement was first administered in 2002.
Volunteering Among Demographic Groups
Among the major race and ethnicity groups, whites continued to volunteer at a higher rate (27.1 percent) than did blacks (18.5 percent), Asians (19.0 percent), and Hispanics (15.5 percent). Of these groups, the volunteer rate fell for whites (by 0.7 percentage point) and blacks (by 2.6 percentage points) in 2013.
Lack of Support for Civic Engagement Opportunities
Though there are plenty of volunteer opportunities for high school and college students participate in service, there are very few service organizations in the Greater Philadelphia area that will provide students with funding and resources to spearhead and organize their own service projects/programs.
Need to Cultivate Young People to be Leaders Early On
If young people are given opportunities to grow in their leadership capacity as early as 14 years of age, they will become more seasoned leaders in the future. There is a need for programs that will build the next generation of service leaders and social thinkers.
Youth Action Service Model
Junior Youth Action +
Mentorship and leadership program for middle school students
Inspiring Leaders Program +
Mentorship and leadership program for 9th and 10th grade high school students
Service Leader Program =
Graduates of ILP & JYA and other upperclassmen and college students participate in service throughout Philadelphia
Student-Led Civic Engagement