Every day, tens of millions of young people throughout the world prove that one is never too young to volunteer…
…children are introduced to volunteering by their families, schools or religions – and emerge as volunteer entrepreneurs, creating their own service programs and joining advocacy and social change movements…
…teens find in their volunteering new ways to respond to issues that concern them and to build skills, confidence and experience that will help them enter the paid workforce…
…young adults recognize volunteering can help them explore new possibilities, build social connections and assume new responsibilities in their communities.
The 2014 United Nations State of World Population Report summarized reality and challenge:
“Young people are our future. The largest global youth population in human history will have a profound effect on every aspect of our common future and can create a better world for all. The effect can be overwhelmingly positive IF young people are able to develop their capabilities, have access to education and health…and find opportunities to fulfil the promise of their lives…”
Already young people are proving that volunteering is a way to address these challenges.
IAVE is proud to have two youth representatives, one female and one male, on its Board of Directors to bring to our planning and decision-making the perspectives of the new generation of volunteers. With members of our Secretariat team, they are a strong voice for youth volunteering in as diverse settings as the United Nations, the World Economic Forum and national youth convenings worldwide, as well as in IAVE’s own world and regional conferences. We are pleased to join with YSA and other corporate and NGO partners to encourage participation in Global Youth Service Day.
IAVE annually brings together youth volunteer leaders to learn from one another and to articulate the value of volunteering to them and their peers – through the biennial World Youth Volunteer Conference and in conjunction with IAVE’s regional conferences. This year marks the 8th World Youth Volunteer Conference. It will be hosted by Cemefi in Puebla, Mexico, from November 3-5th. Learn more about these and other past convenings, including the World Youth Volunteer Summits in 2001 and 2011.
Through our conferences, specially discounted youth memberships and online networking, IAVE is helping young leaders for volunteering to connect with, learn from and support one another. Our regularly scheduled webinars connect people around specific issues related to youth volunteering.
Building from the red2021 campaign launched with Partners of the Americas at our 2nd World Summit for Youth Volunteering in 2011 and through social media, we have a network of over 1000 youth volunteers in more than 35 countries. We also have an #IAVEYouth Facebook Group, an informal space for youth volunteers to share their projects, connect with other volunteer leaders worldwide and learn about global initiatives and events to join.
IAVE believes strongly in the power of volunteering to help young people prepare for the paid workforce, offering a way to build workplace skills and gain documented experience in a work setting. Our report – Youth, Volunteering and Employment – grew from our own research and from a dialogue at our 2012 World Volunteer Conference. It is the foundation on which we are building a continuing program of knowledge development, convening and advocacy to encourage more attention to this critically important issue. Learn more here.