26 Years Ago

26 years ago this week, 53 youth embarked on the very first YVC projects ever. They came from all over the Kansas City metro area and met up at six different project sites throughout the city. The youth were from more than a dozen different high schools, both public and private.  Even though they showed up not knowing each other, they left united as one team of youth who changed just a little bit of the world together. They left as the very first YVC Youth Volunteers.


Up until that moment, YVC was just a great idea in the mind of a 24 year-old recent college graduate, David Battey. He had a dream and believed that it could work—it might even change the world. But it wasn’t until that first day of actual YVC projects that he could see if this new idea could actually take off. On June 8, 1987, he called volunteer after volunteer to see what they thought of their first day of serving with YVC. It was a resounding success.

By the end of that first summer, a total of 68 youth served with YVC. When they said goodbye to the kids they’d been working with at the low-income daycare and packed up the last of the tools from the Habitat for Humanity build site, little did they know that they were the first of more than 270,000 youth who would serve with YVC over the next 26 years.

The following year, nearly twice as many youth served with YVC in Kansas City, and just a year after that, in 1989, a second YVC was launched in Spartanburg, South Carolina—the first of what would be many different YVC Affiliates.

26 years and more than 4 million volunteer hours later, youth are still heading out in their communities this summer to change the world through a YVC project. Those first 53 youth blazed the trail for thousands of youth to serve in 28 different communities this summer, from Corvallis, Oregon to Macon, Georgia.

On this 26th anniversary, we want you to celebrate all that you’ve done through YVC. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for your commitment to making a difference in your community. Thank you for paving the way for even more Youth Volunteers in the coming years. Happy 26th anniversary to every YVC volunteer!

“I count myself fortunate to have been a YVC volunteer in the summer of 1987— its inaugural year.  The experience of working with underprivileged youth in a housing complex in Wyandotte County provided invaluable lessons that are memorable and still relevant to me today… I have never had a more fulfilling volunteer experience.” Rachel, YVC volunteer summer 1987