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Youth Service

Children and youth are at the centre of building better societies. We empower a generation of children and youth in national and community service – organizing and mobilizing youth to take on the challenges of better health, improved sanitation, wider educational opportunity, and building stronger societies. The IAYG family and partners like Youth Service America (YSA) extend global leadership in engaging youth on an unprecedented scale for change.

Unlocking Potential for Change

There are more than 3.5 billion people under the age of 24 – nearly half of the world’s population. Yet, when it comes to improving communities and advancing health, sanitation, education, the environment, and community-building, young people are too often dismissed as bystanders or recipients of support, rather than as catalysts of change.

Unleashing the role of youth in national and community service transforms communities: tapping into the immense potential and motivation of young people to tackle the toughest challenges of our time and creating a new generation of community leaders. It transforms by elevating agents of innovation and disruptive change to solve problems – to the immense benefit of people at every age. And it transforms communities in lasting ways: young people mobilized in community change become community leaders, development innovators, and engaged civic participants for the rest of their lives.

For young people engaged in national and community service, service also profoundly impacts their futures. It builds critical soft skills needed in twenty-first century economies, links young people more closely with their communities, and supports better outcomes in education.

However, despite its transformative value, only a small fraction of the world’s youth has been brought into national and community service. For many, significant barriers still remain, including societal resistance and lack of opportunities in youth service. Avenues of engagement for youth in service remain vastly disparate across the world, exacerbated by economic disparity. In other cases, young people simply aren’t engaged as leaders or reached by youth service. For the IAYG family and its global partners in youth service, accessing the vast communities of youth still untouched by youth service, reaching more diverse communities, breaking down societal barriers, and building larger pipelines for the growth of youth service remain critical goals.

Our Focus

The IAYG family and its partners are strongly committed to extending the reach of youth service worldwide. The largest IAYG family organization engaged in youth service is the Global Initiative for Youth Service, a joint-venture institution between the IAYG family and Youth Service America/Global Youth Service Day. The Global Initiative for Youth Service is the world’s community-level organizing platform for young changemakers: expanding youth service infrastructure, reaching new communities, supporting governments in advancing national & community service, and mobilizing new and unprecedented communities of young people in service.

In addition to the Global Initiative for Youth Service, the IAYG family and its partners’ leadership in advancing youth service is further extended by national campaigns and public-sector partnerships. Institutional efforts like CYCLE campaigns, the work of IAYG-backed organizations, and IAYG family investments in youth-driven social innovation play critical roles at community levels in catalysing youth service.

As with all sectors of work, we also leverage partnerships across the private sector and civil society to widen the impact of our efforts on the ground, while providing leadership in research and knowledge-gathering to all stakeholders in youth service.

Learn more about the IAYG family’s work in youth service:

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