Youth Engaged in Service

Youth Engaged in Service – YES
Date: July 11, 2013
For Immediate Release

(ABBOTSFORD The Abbotsford Youth Commission is pleased to announce their new year-long project YES! YES aka Youth Engaged in Service was the brainchild of AYC Executive Director, Bev Olfert, who was looking for another way to weave the Abbotsford City of Character values of Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Empathy, Courage and Service into their programming.
The AYC has been working on teaching the youth about all six of the values but has decided to focus on the value of Service for the coming year. Research has shown that youth who give back to their community feel more connected to their community and as a result engage in less negative behaviours and responses.  Therefore, the YES project will focus on teaching youth about volunteerism and will provide youth with the opportunity to participate in service projects that they design and ultimately carry out. Benefits expected by this program will be that youth in our community will connect with the concept of Service in such a way that it becomes a part of who they are and a part of their culture and experience as they grow into adulthood.
The project started this week and the youth have already done their first YES service project. On Tuesday afternoon, nine youth left the air conditioned comfort of our youth centre and hopped the city bus and headed over to the Food Bank to volunteer. They unloaded the food truck in record time and the staff there had to scramble to find other work for them to do. The youth were exhausted and dripping with sweat when they got back to the youth centre, but they were also happy to have been able to help! “This project has already been life-changing for our youth”, said Olfert. “One of our regular youth who generally has a pessimistic outlook and often acts out negatively at school and in our centre asked to join the YES group. Though thestaff were nervous, I encouraged them to give him a chance. He was the ‘star pupil’ at the planning meeting and you can see the difference in him already. He feels good about himself. He is seeing himself in a new light; a person who helps others.”
The YES group is already on to their next service project which is to raise funds for the Cyrus Centre. The youth chose the Cyrus Centre because they all knew youth who had been helped by this organization in the past. YES will be hosting multiple lemonade, ice cream and BBQ sales in and around the area of ARC in the coming weeks. Be sure to buy some of their treats, as 100% of sales will benefit the Cyrus Centre. We are grateful to Thrifty Foods for providing the food supplies for the sales. The youth are hoping to double the donation from Thrifty Foods and pass those funds along to the Cyrus Centre.
This project is getting off the ground due to the generous financial support of the Rotary Club of Abbotsford. The AYC is currently seeking additional funders for this project so please contact us if you are interested in being a part of this exciting venture.
For more information about the Abbotsford Youth Commission,
Bev Olfert
Executive Director
Abbotsford Youth Commission