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Youth Volunteer Mobilization via Volunteer Action Centre - VC Spotlight
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Youth Volunteer Mobilization via Volunteer Action Centre - VC Spotlight


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  • 1. OVCN’s Volunteer Centre Spotlight Written by Kevin Sutton, Communications & Community Engagement Coordinator August 8, 2013 Youth Volunteer Mobilization via Volunteer Action Centre! Saying that the Volunteer Action Centre (VAC) of Kitchener Waterloo and area wrote the book on youth volunteer engagement is no exaggeration. They helped produce the handbook: “Building Blocks for Youth Volunteer Engagement: A Guide for Parents, Teachers, Guidance Counsellors and More”, which appears on Volunteer Canada’s website as a primary tool for youth engagement. The guide features ways to support youth in the community with volunteering, a skill self-assessment and skills-matching matrix to help youth pair their passions with volunteer opportunities, a handy guide to getting started, as well as many more tips and tools for youth. However, VAC’s reach, when it comes to mobilizing youth extends far beyond publishing. Besides participating and presenting at several youth-oriented outreach activities including the Business Education Partnership ZOOM days and the Child Witness Centre Youth Symposium, this year they helped pilot a beta-version of a free ‘Volunteer Hour’ tracking app for ChangeTheWorld (CTW) youth participants. VAC is partnering with Charity Republic to pilot the full version of this pilot with local school board whereby youth can log and get volunteer hours approved, and search for new volunteer opportunities. This year, 944 students volunteered 4700 hours via the Volunteer Action Centre’s participation in the province-wide ChangeTheWorld: Ontario Youth Volunteer Challenge; the 2013 campaign engaged nearly 38,000 youth volunteers in 4-weeks. And how have the youth responded to VAC's youth engagement approaches? One youth ambassador started her own Youtube channel! Through her KitchenerWaterlooSVO (Student Volunteer Opportunities) channel, Christine, provides 13 introductory videos highlighting some of the many student volunteer opportunities in the Kitchener/Waterloo area. Viewers are privy to interviews with administrators and staff and are given a tour of facilities like The Kitchener/Waterloo Museum, the Registry Theatre and the Humane Society. Considering the minimum requirement of 40 hours of community service activities as part of the requirements for an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), the VAC’s role in youth mobilization is a vital one. Just take the story of brothers Jack and Brian Bustos: like many students, their busy lives led to trying to cram in all of their volunteering at the eleventh hour - or risk missing graduation! Thanks to the practical and swift support services of the VAC, the Bustos brothers were not only able to work with many amazing and unique organizations while fulfilling their OSSD requirements, but the positive impact on their own personal growth and the community has them continuing to make volunteering a part of their lives. "This experience was truly spectacular not only for being able to make a difference in people’s lives but also for helping us grow as confident, contributing members of our community and of the world” say the Bustos brothers. Read their ’40 Hour Bootcamp’ story by clicking here! For more information about the remarkable accomplishments of the Volunteer Action Centre (VAC) of Kitchener Waterloo and area please visit their website at For more information about ChangeTheWorld visit -30- Ontario Volunteer Centre Network c/o Volunteer MBC, 7700 Hurontario Street, Unit 601, Brampton, ON L6Y 4M3 (905) 238-2622 x229