By Logan Guzik, junior
From planting trees to picking up trash, teens from Monroe County participated in Global Youth Service Day 2017 on April 21, the world’s largest day of community service.
With the help of Monroe County Youth Council (MCYC), seniors Celestina Garcia and Ellen Bergan worked vigorously, starting in November 2016, to lead the 2017 Global Youth Service Day. Both members were thrilled to be working together in leading the youth participants and serving various local community organizations within but not limited to Monroe County.
“Volunteering effectuates change,” Bergan said, “What you’re doing here is truly making a difference in your community.”
Edgewood freshman Vanessa Fender attended GYSD for the first time and was happy to be working closely with K-5 children. Fender hoped to make new friends at GYSD and share a helping hand to everyone she encountered.
“When you help people it makes you feel really good about yourself,” Fender said.
Youth participants are registered after enrolling through a participating organization such as a school, church, or even online. Participants were free to join an event or create their own. They were given a choice of projects in the following categories: health, environment, poverty and hunger, education, human rights, and community building.
One factor limiting Edgewood High School sophomore students from participating in GYSD was the ISTEP+ testing for 2017. GYSD fell on the Friday of the testing week, so so sophomore students were not able to leave school to participate. Sophomores who were eagerly looking forward to GYSD had to search for other means of giving back to the community. For those who missed GYSD 2017, the next opportunity is in 2018.
At the end of the day, Bergan and Garcia always wish for more time.
“It’s hard work, but it’s fun work, especially with a friend. You have such a sense of fulfillment and self-actualization at the end of the day like, ‘I accomplished this, I planted those plants, or I cleaned this entire pantry; this was my work and I made an impact on other people’s lives.’ It’s a really good feeling,” Garcia said.
If you want to serve the Bloomington community through GYSD, MCYC sign ups begin in the fall of 2017. For more information visit http://bloomington.in.gov/volunteer
Feature photo by the Monroe County Youth Council