Empowering Today’s Students: Youth Civic Engagement and Volunteerism
Volunteerism and civic participation are critical components of building and sustaining strong and vibrant communities. Participating in these activities helps us feel a sense of ownership, responsibility, and pride in the places where we live and work. Engaging today’s students in volunteerism and civic action can be a significant challenge, particularly given the numerous distractions and pressures that exist in their daily lives.
As we look at the challenges of engaging younger demographics, some of the most significant obstacles we face are structural— but not insurmountable! To address issues of access, inclusion, resource limitations, and awareness that keep youth voting participation low and national rates of volunteerism falling, we must guarantee that the support structures we build around civic activity are designed to help students tackle real problems in their communities and experience the impact of their efforts.
Sources & Resources:
ScienceDirect – Promoting civic and political engagement among marginalized urban youth in three cities: Strategies and challenges by Brady, Chaskin, and McGregor
University of Maryland – School of Public Policy – Where Are America’s Volunteers by Dietz and Grimm
Education Week – Volunteerism Declined Among Young People by Sarah D. Sparks
United States Census Bureau – At Height of Pandemic, More Than Half of People Age 16 and Over Helped Neighbors, 23% Formally Volunteered by Erin Schneider and Tim J. Marshall
Education Commission of the States – 50 State Comparison
Bloomberg – Why Americans Stopped Volunteering by Linda Poon
The Chronicle of Philanthropy – Americans Are Volunteering Less. What Can Nonprofits Do to Bring Them Back? By Leslie Lenkowsky
A Less Charitable Nation: The Decline of Volunteering and Giving in the United States by Dietz and Grimm
Tufts – Tisch College – Half of Youth Voted in 2020, An 11-Point Increase from 2016
Tufts – Tisch College – Growing Voters: Engaging Youth Before they Reach Voting Age to Strengthen Democracy
We Are Teachers – What Is Service Learning?
Center for Public Research and Leadership – Education for Change – Student-Led Civic Engagement Resource List