The Power of the Next Generation:
Global Youth Service Day 2010


 April 27, 2010



Last week's National Volunteer Week included Earth Day and culminated with Global Youth Service Day – a demonstration of the power of young people to change our world.

This year Points of Light Institute demonstrated its commitment to engage youth in service and civic leadership through its merger last spring with Children for Children, a national leader in youth service programs.  The new organization, now called generationOn, brings together the expertise of

Earth Day 2010 in NYC

NY City garden renovators

Children for Children, Kids Care Clubs, HandsOn Schools, and our HandsOn Action Center-driven youth programs – all under one banner. We are scaling the success of the HandsOn model and putting youth at the center of change through service.  We saw the impact of this next generation throughout the country last weekend.

Here are some of the stories that rippled out through our Network:

A group of students from an inner-city Detroit school created a musical about healthy eating for an area with few grocery stores.

Earth Day 2010 in NYC

Park cleanup helpers in Hampton Roads, VA.

They used exercise in their dance routines and taught lessons about a proper diet to their peers through performance.

United Way of San Diego County and other agencies held a cause-related flash mob at Servapalooza, 2010, an annual festival and "service-thon" in honor of Global Youth Service Day.  The flash mob promoted an initiative to find permanent solutions to that city's homelessness problem.

Twelve-year-old Velma and her friends got up early Saturday morning to join 150 volunteers in Manhattan, helping City Harvest re-pack apples from 2,500-lb crates into family-sized bags for

NYC City Harvest 2010

City Harvest apple packers

shelters and food pantries. She decided to volunteer after reading Jiggy, a book about adolescent obstacles faced by a young boy.   "It's important to have a big heart,"  said Velma about her urge to serve.
HandsOn Nashville partnered with Oasis Center and the Lost Boys Foundation of Nashville for a unique project where young volunteers learned more about the lives of Sudanese refugees living in the United States.  And HandsOn West Central Ohio joined with two local high schools to present Volunteer Speed Matching events to connect students to service opportunities. 

Through generationOn, we are mobilizing the energy, ingenuity and compassion of young people to change the world and themselves. Our goal is to scale exponentially the work we already do with public schools, district-wide partnerships and youth-serving organizations. Currently, generationOn includes more than 30 youth programs and 1,800 Kids Care Clubs that engage more than a million young people throughout the 50 states and globally from Beijing to Saudi Arabia. It also includes significant tools, resources, and on-the ground mobilization to increase our reach to kids, parents, adults who care for children, teachers and school administrators.

It is often said that our young people are our future leaders, but the remarkable efforts of this past week show that this generation is ready to lead now.

Other Global Youth Service Day News

Worldwide photos and stories from the day over the years
Steven Culbertson on GYSD and service





In Service, 




Michelle Nunn

CEO, Points of Light Institute

Co-Founder, HandsOn Network