As I am writing this blog, I sit and think about how, in 6 years, YVC has become such a huge part of my life. Service, in general, has become a huge part of my life. And, I certainly did not expect to be a part of the International Youth Advisory Board (IYAB) one day. It all started when I was I was a part of my middle school’s National Junior Honors Society. In order to be inducted, I needed a certain amount of hours committed to my community in the form of service. I did some research on ways to get all of my hours and, because of the youth involvement aspect, the one I came to like was YVC. I found the idea of working side by side with peers very attractive. In the beginning, I saw it as a way to meet new people who had similar interests to me. Being an extroverted middle schooler, I enjoyed the opportunity to make new friends and being able to do a good deed at the same time.
A Pivotal Moment
While I still view YVC through a lens of social opportunity, one event changed my entire perspective of YVC and its mission. On Global Youth Service Day in 2017, my local affiliate set up an event at a church. We made convenience kits for the homeless population in downtown Charleston, including basic toiletries and clothing. It wasn’t much, but it was something. This was the first time a project directly linked to a problem I frequently noticed in the city.
Understanding a Need and Providing Service
Homelessness is certainly an epidemic that plagues our society, and Lowcountry, in South Carolina, has some clear struggles. Knowing that what I was doing had a direct impact on my community – even if it was small in the grand scheme of things – prompted me to want to do more. I stayed with YVC even after I didn’t need community service hours because I genuinely enjoyed working towards something positive.
Leading to Make Greater Impact
Consequently, I sought a position with the Youth Advisory Board. I did this so I could help lead and organize projects and be more involved with the ones where I felt passionately about the cause. I found this to be a great experience because I was able to influence more of my younger peers, who were starting to find YVC enjoyable, to do more and develop a passion for it. I realized it would be extremely naive for me to think that I was shaking the foundations of society for the better with YVC, but with the YAB I enjoyed guiding new youth to do more and affect change in our community.
Service is a Lifetime Commitment
Recently, I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of the IYAB, where I have been able to enjoy myself and achieve my two goals with YVC at a higher level.
1) I have made many new friends.
2) I have been able to effect positive change in my community.
Overall, YVC has had a major effect on my life. It has put me on a path to a lifelong commitment to service, which I am extremely thankful for. As I graduate from high school this year, and will sadly leave my affiliate, I am glad to say that I will not forget my experiences and memories with YVC. I am also sure that I will make many more as I service later in my life.
About the Author
Vansh is a senior at the South Carolina Governor’s School of Science and Mathematics. He is a member of the Youth Advisory Board of YVC Charleston. His hobbies include playing the guitar, playing basketball, and volunteering when he can. His favorite subjects in school are physics and calculus. He is a part of the Men’s Basketball Team, National Honors Society, and Academic Team. His time spent learning about, coordinating, leading, and participating in service events through the Youth Advisory Board and the annual Summit has helped him fulfill his passion to give back to his local community.