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Baltimore Adventist Youth Receive Governor’s Volunteer Service Award

By Trish Swann

Priceless! That was the word used to describe the United Youth Service Corps to an audience at a recent statewide awards ceremony. The United Youth Service Corps, a ministry of Seventh-day Adventist youth from Baltimore area churches, was honored as a recipient of the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award. Four youth and four adults (pictured) members of the corps traveled to Annapolis, Md., and received the award from Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown.

A ministry of Baltimore Adventist Community Services, the United Youth Service Corps is comprised of 120 youth aged 12-18 from 12 churches in the Baltimore metropolitan area: Atholton, Baltimore First, Baltimore White Marsh, Berea Temple, Cherry Hill, Dundalk, Miracle Temple, New Hope, Pikesville, Reisterstown, Sharon, and United in Christ. The young church members gather each month at a host church to learn about a specific community concern—such as homelessness or AIDS—and to explore ways that church members can partner with the community to address the issue. Then youth actually go out to community service sites to minister, hone leadership skills, and learn life lessons.

"Our goal is to teach our youth how to model Christ’s method of ministry," says Pastor Darriel Hoy who facilitates the United Youth Service Corps in partnership with church youth leaders and youth pastors. "We mingle with community members desiring their good, show sympathy for them, minister to their needs, win their confidence, and then we invite them to follow Christ," adds Hoy, .

Every month, teens involved with the corps give a combined 480 hours of service to the community and local churches. According to the Independent Sector’s $18.77 per hour value for volunteers, that’s $9,009.60 per month, or $108,115.20 per year!

However, the Governor’s Commission on Community Service recognizes that the ministry of the United Youth Service Corps is much greater. No one can place a price tag on the respite that the corps gives to parents at the Ronald McDonald House during family game night. There is no dollar figure that captures the value of the hope and hot meals that the corps gives to homeless men, women, and children at the Oasis Station, Baltimore Station, and YWCA shelters. It’s impossible to appraise the worth of visiting "grand friends" at various nursing homes, writing get-well cards to the sick, recording books on tape for the blind, sorting and packaging food for the hungry at community food pantries, and instilling neighborhood pride through community clean-ups. The ministry of the United Youth Service Corps truly is priceless!