The Volunteer Center of Greensboro houses the first and only North Carolina affiliate of the International Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC). The YVC is the only national youth service program with the expressed mission of providing team-based volunteer opportunities for youth, ages 11-18.
The Summer of Service program’s overall goal is to offer quality service learning activities in partnership with The Volunteer Center, Guilford County Schools (GCS) and local nonprofit organizations . The seven-week-long program places rising sixth- through 12th-grade students on project teams. Each team is assigned a Project Leader (a certified Guilford County Schools teacher) and a specific service-learning project at a local nonprofit. The projects focus on such issues as the environment, diversity, and poverty. Examples of past projects that students have worked on include creating and labeling a community garden, creating and leading summer reading programs for children, learning the ins and outs of a marketing and fundraising campaign, and becoming group leaders at a therapeutic farm working with children with physical and cognitive disabilities.
Through these experiences, students develop leadership and other 21st century skills and learn to apply the content they have learned in their classrooms to solve real-world programs.
This collaboration is a highly valued partnership for GCS, which in 2010 launched a Character Development/Service-Learning Initiative, based on three fundamentals: character education, civic education and service learning. Service-learning is a learning strategy that is used to build character traits such as kindness, courage, respect and responsibility, while helping students to understand and act upon their civic responsibility. This multi-faceted approach seeks to support students’ social, emotional and behavioral needs – and empower them to believe in themselves as agents of change in their schools, the community – and their own lives.