E5Youth: A Community of Volunteers

Official Dosomething.org Project

The Problem

“Smiling faces, beautiful places;” ‘Corridor of Shame;’ high dropout, poverty, teen pregnancy, and infant mortality rates.” These are all contrasting terms that sometimes describe my state. I am in a unique position as a member of the student council at the South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics to help “marshal the forces,” make an impact on the youth state-wide, and create change. The student body is composed of multi-racial, multi-ethnic high academic achievers from numerous counties in SC. We hope to one day be our region’s lawyers, teachers, physicians, business owners, city managers, parents, and philanthropists. In the meantime, while we study to go on to attend a wide range of colleges and universities, we would like to contribute to our community on a larger scale, and start our younger friends earlier than ever, with volunteer efforts unique to our individual home counties. These “E5Youth Communities” in each county in my state will begin by targeting five young people in middle schools. We will teach them about the volunteer needs and opportunities in our respective counties and help them create a personal action plan to be implemented weekly, culminating in a larger event to be held on Global Youth Service Days each year. Each of the five students we target will recruit their own E5 group, those five will recruit their five, and so on. E5 is a way to "zoom in" on the monumental amount of volunteer opportunities available. We will help the youth see five basic areas: Environment (e.g. recycling, reducing litter); Education (e.g. storytelling, tutoring, helping with homework, replenishing school supplies), Entertainment (e.g. recognizing the need for arts programs in low-income elder-care facilities or homeless shelters and offering to sing, play an instrument, dance, or put on a play to bring joy to the residents), Empowerment (e.g. raising awareness of blood drives, getting involved in elections and issues concerning women, children, minorities, and the poor); Euthenics - which is increasing well-being by improving living conditions (e.g. helping at a food bank, promoting safety, doing age-appropriate work at a home site). For example, youth from counties along the I-95 corridor in our state might be provided funds to help paint classrooms or hallways and purchase new books for a classroom, giving them pride in their school, as opposed to the shame imposed on them by lack of equitable funding for schools in that area. Youth in one of our largest cities, the capital of Columbia, might be more inclined to be active in efforts to help feed and house homeless children and may want to sponsor a poster campaign to raise awareness. Youth in a more affluent area of the state might see a need for quality arts programs for the elderly and may want to help start a scrapbooking, art, or craft program in an elder care facility. I need $500 in seed money to start this E5Youth effort. I would like to launch myspace.com and facebook outreach pages, and I need funds for transportation, printing, paint, books, school supplies, “care totes” with toiletries and coloring books/crayons for homeless children, and other similar efforts determined by the E5Youth Community.

Plan of Action

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