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Baltimore Youth Join Millions for 20th Global Youth Service Day

By George Johnson, Jr.

Baltimore Adventist Community Services (BACS), a resource for executing, supporting and strengthening community service initiatives in Baltimore, mobilized more than 400 young people to participate in the 20th Annual Global Youth Service Day. Volunteers included thousands of Baltimore youth and their leaders, along with BACS executive director Darriel Hoy.

Global Youth Service Day, the largest service event in the world, mobilizes youth to identify and address the needs of their communities through service-learning and community service. Research continues to support service-learning programs as an effective method to increase student academic achievement. “Service-learning, when implemented with high quality, yields statistically significant impacts on academic achievement, civic engagement, acquisition of leadership skills, and personal/social development,” reports Shelley Billig from RMC Research Corporation and a leading researcher in service-learning. State Farm Companies Foundation is the presenting sponsor of the event.

“[The nationwide event] has grown from 250 students our first year to 2,500 participating students this year,” reports Hoy. “And this is our third year as a lead agency. Our primary partners this year included Baltimore City Public Schools Service Learning Department, Pickersgill Retirement Community, Civic Works, The Baltimore Station, Sarah's Hope, The Children's Home, the Helping Up Mission, and Morgan State University.”

In celebration of Global Youth Service Day, the Baltimore youth designed and participated in many different activities, such as tree planting, cleaning grounds, and an Earth Day celebration. The youth of Miracle Temple Worship Center helped raise awareness of homelessness by sleeping out in the church parking lot for one night. The following day, volunteers from Sarah’s Hope helped prepare lunch for a community homeless shelter, while Linthicum (Md.) church members made “hope totes” for the Helping Up Mission.

For more information about Baltimore ACS, visit abetterbaltimore.org. For more information on Global Youth Service Day, visit YSA.org/map or YSA.org/gysd.