Apr 6, 2011

Global Youth Service Day Offers Opportunities to Get Involved

Don’t be fooled by the name. Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) isn’t just a single day. If you’re already involved, you know it’s a huge international project culminating April 15-17. And if you’re not involved, you should be!

GYSD is an annual global event during which youth in all corners of the world participate in community-based projects centered on improving health, education, human service, human rights, and the environment. Over the course of 23 years, GYSD has reached more than 100 countries on six continents.

And this year, it’s coming to Fairfax County through Volunteer Fairfax in partnership with Youth Service America, on April 16th. For novices or old hands at volunteering, GYSD offers opportunities to create projects or hop onto ones already sponsored by area organizations and nonprofits.

Local events include everything from tree preservation and habitat restoration in several parks to cleaning eyeglasses for recycling to charities that will provide them to needy people around the world. Volunteers are invited to support a walk for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in the “heart” of DC or to help with the organizational details of the Wolf Trap Run for the Arts.

Details and sign-up sheets for the Volunteer Fairfax GYSD program are available online. You can even register new projects if your organization is set up to host a GYSD event.

By the way, if you’re thinking about more long-term involvement and you have an idea for next year, check out the GYSD website. You’ll find step-by-step instructions for planning a project and getting it off the ground.

Volunteering is not only good for the heart, but it can be the start of a lifetime habit of helping others. Not only do colleges want to see you involved, but you also learn by doing—job readiness skills, vocational awareness, and empathy for others. Start small and support a project. Next year, lead one.

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