Community Development

National Summit on Youth Preparedness

At the end of the 20th century, an estimated 66.5 million children each year were affected by a natural disaster, and this number will most likely increase, owing to shifts within society and large climate changes."
Penrose A, Takaki M (2006); Save the Children UK (2007); and Save the Children UK (2009) 1

National Service Teams Deployed for Hurricane Irene Response

Washington D.C. –  As Hurricane Irene causes flooding, damage and mass evacuations on its run up the Eastern seaboard, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members are responding in multiple states, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) announced today.

Working in close coordination with FEMA, the American Red Cross, and state and local authorities, CNCS has coordinated the deployment of national service participants in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire, with additional deployments expected in the coming days. 

We R Native. Who R U? Submit Your Story!

Community involvement is something that can start small and make a big impact.  American Indian and Alaska Native youth 13-21 years old are encouraged to share what makes you HIV aware and how you protect yourself and others.  By sharing with one another, we can teach each other lessons about self-confidence, self-respect, pride, courage, and spirituality.

September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance

The September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance is the culmination of an effort originally launched in 2002 by 9/11 family members and support groups who worked to establish the charitable service day as a forward-looking way to honor the sacrifice of those who were lost and those who united in response to the tragedy.

Report on Well-Being of Nation’s Children Released

The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (Forum) has released its annual report, “America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being.” This year's report continues morethan a decade of dedication and collaboration by agencies across the federal government to advance our understanding of our Nation's children and what may be needed to bring them a better tomorrow.

Six Cities Present Plans to Reduce and Prevent Youth Violence

Officials from Boston; Chicago; Detroit; Memphis, Tenn.; Salinas, Calif.; and San Jose, Calif., have spent the past several months preparing plans detailing how they can work within their communities to address youth violence.

Washington State Youth Take Civic Activism To New Level

photo of Sierra"I don't think anyone should have to go through what a lot of kids face; I've been taking care of my mom since I was ten," says Sierra, a student facing family mental health issues, who attends school in a Spokane dropout retrieval program.

"And life isn't fair, but you have to learn how to deal with it anyways. All the life problems outside the school doors come first before we are going to read a textbook."

Civic Engagement

Civic engagement involves “working to make a difference in the civic life of one’s community and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes” (Erlich, 2000). Civic engagement includes both paid and unpaid forms of political activism, environmentalism, and community and national service (Michelson et al, 2002). Volunteering is one form of civic engagement.

Many of the nation’s volunteers are young people. More than half (59 percent) of teenagers in the United States reported that they participated in youth volunteer work in 2009, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service (2010). Most youth volunteers do so out of altruism and an interest in making in a difference in the lives of others, according to one survey. Only five percent of students reportedly volunteered because of a school requirement (Corporation for National and Community Service, 2005).

References

Corporation for National and Community Service. (2010a). Youth engaged in service.

Corporation for National and Community Service. (2005). Building active citizens: The role of social institutions in teen volunteering. Brief 1 in the Youth Helping America series. Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://www.nationalservice.gov/pdf/05_1130_LSA_YHA_study.pdf (PDF, 24 Pages)

Erlich, T. (2000). Civic responsibility and higher education. Westport, CT: Oryx Press.

Michelsen, E., Zaff, J. F., & Hair, E. C. (2002). Civic engagement programs and youth development: A synthesis. Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved from  http://www.issuelab.org/resource/civic_engagement_programs_and_youth_development_a_synthesis (PDF, 51 Pages)

Stone, B. & Edwards, H. (2008). National framework for 4-H Volunteerism. National 4-H Headquarters, Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Services, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved from http://oklahoma4h.okstate.edu/focus/2008/november/attachments/Framework_4-H_Volunteerism082508.pdf (PDF, 10 Pages)

Service-Learning

Service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that connects academic curriculum to community problem-solving. Today, elementary, middle, high, and postsecondary schools across the nation participate in service-learning with the support of federal, state, district, and foundation funding. Studies show that, in the past, more than 4 million students from more than 20,000 schools participated in service-learning. Of these participants, high schools were most likely to engage students in community service or to include service-learning as part of their curriculum.1

Service-learning is beneficial for students, organizations, and communities. All students, including those with disabilities (e.g., emotional and behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, moderate and severe intellectual disabilities, students with hearing and vision limitations), can be involved in and benefit from service-learning.2

References

1Spring, Grimm, & Dietz, 2009
2Dymond, Renzaglia, & Chung, 2007

Preparedness & Recovery

Disasters are often unpredictable and can happen at any time and to anyone. They may be natural, man-made, or both. Disasters are defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as an occurrence that has resulted in property damage, deaths, and/or injuries to a community,1 and  may include floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, fires, illnesses, chemical or radiation emergencies, and terrorist or bioterrorist attacks, among others.

At the end of the 20th century, disasters affected an estimated 66.5 million children each year world-wide and it is estimated that this number will continue to grow as a result of societal changes (e.g., conflicts, hunger) and climate changes.2 Around the world and in the U.S., disasters disproportionately affect poor populations—both youth3 and families—as a result of risk factors such as living in environmentally vulnerable locations, living in less stable housing, and having poor physical health.4 According to the 2010 U.S. Census, children under 18 made up 24 percent of the total U.S. population, but 35.5 percent of the people living in poverty resulting in a higher poverty rate for children under the age of 18 than any other age group.5  Further, research suggests that youth, specifically school-age youth, tend to be more severely affected by disasters than adults and may experience disasters differently due to age and other factors.6

Ensuring youth and their families know what to do in an emergency and that the unique needs and assets of youth are included in disaster preparedness, prevention, response, and recovery efforts is critical.7 While many individuals report that they are aware of disasters and their potential effects, fewer report that they have undertaken steps to plan for or prepare for disasters.8 Prevention and preparedness refer to the planning and actions that occur prior to a disaster. This may include preparing for public health threats, developing an emergency response plan, creating an emergency preparedness kit, or taking steps to address things that may cause a disaster. Response and recovery refer to actions that occur during and after disasters or emergencies. Responses to emergencies may include sheltering in place or evacuating, and recovery may include repairing damaged infrastructure, reuniting families, replacing supplies, addressing emotional responses and revising response plans. Youth-serving agencies can play an important role educating youth about disasters and teaching them coping mechanisms. Involving them in prevention, preparedness, recovery, and response efforts can help to ensure that youth, families, and communities are prepared and able to respond when faced with disasters.

1 FEMA, 1990
2 Penrose & Takaki, 2006
3 The target population for this topic is youth ages 10-24. In some cases research included in the topic focuses on a wider population including children under the age of 10.
4 Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, n.d.
5 U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2011
6 Norris et al., 2002; Ronan, 2010
7 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2010
8 Redlener, Grant, Abramson, & Johnson, 2008; Ronan, 2010