Strategic Focus Areas
Youth Volunteer Corps participants serve for a variety of reasons, but one of the most important to the youth is the opportunity to make a difference. As a network, YVC is focused on the following Strategic Focus Areas: Compassionate Communities, Healthy Lifestyles, Arts & Culture, STEM & Environment, and Education.
Developing compassion for others is a natural byproduct of service and YVC works to foster that potential at every turn. Any service opportunity that helps meet the basic needs and/or promotes the overall quality of life for both human and non-human animals in the community is included in this focus. Projects that fall under this category include serving at a homeless shelter, visiting with seniors at a skilled nursing facility, and walking dogs at the local animal shelter.
Healthy habits start early in life, so youth are well poised to be change agents in this arena. Projects that offer youth a chance to improve and promote the physical and mental well-being of their fellow citizens address this YVC focus. Sample projects include harvesting at a community garden, assembling kits at the free health clinic, and promoting an anti-smoking campaign.
Arts & Culture
Promoting the arts and celebrating culture is vital to the well-being of any community and YVC strives to engage youth in projects that address those areas to ensure a rich and diverse service experience. Projects that support the visual arts and humanities and promote cultural awareness are covered by this focus, such as creating community murals, volunteering at museums, or making crafts with children at a homeless shelter.
STEM & Environment
STEM refers to the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The U.S., Canada and other nations promote learning in those areas to ensure a well-rounded and competitive workforce. Examples of projects that develop new skills and understanding in STEM fields include tutoring younger children in computer literacy and serving with Habitat for Humanity where youth learn about the engineering of building a home. The environment in which we live provides natural resources that are essential to our health, quality of life and survival. Examples of environmental-based projects include constructing rainwater gardens to create innovative solutions for efficient rainwater runoff, participating in a river cleanup to learn how water is tested for pollutants, and working in a community garden to learn the importance of sustainable agriculture.
Research indicates the best way to truly learn something is to teach it to someone else. Education is highly valued at YVC, so while all projects are designed to be educational for the youth volunteers, this focus area captures those efforts where YVC youth teach others. Examples of projects include reading with and tutoring younger children, hosting an after-school enrichment program for children in a low-income community, or conducting introductory computer classes at a nursing home.