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Facts and Faith: A Status Report on Youth Service

NCJ Number
A C Lewis
Date Published
48 pages
Advocacy for youth community service is growing, and new structures to facilitate it are succeeding at local and State levels.
Foundations, Congress, States, Cities, national organizations, and universities and colleges have been at the forefront in stimulating renewed interest in and approaches to youth service. Media attention and research augment traditional views of community service as a bridge to responsible citizenship. Since the early 1970's, various reports about the transition of youth to employment or higher education have frequently mentioned the importance of youth service. Other efforts have supported or explored this topic from the perspective of eventual national service for all youth and the benefits of such a national service to communities. Polls, program studies, and youth profiles provide a picture of increasing interest in youth service but static or decreasing participation. Studies have documented the value of youth community service to later adult voluntarism, character development, increased social awareness, and improved attitudes. Other justifications for youth service have included its educational benefits in such areas as decisionmaking and problemsolving and increased understanding of environmental and human needs. While traditional programs have depended on clubs, out-of-school organizations, and other youth-serving agencies, current efforts have focused on schoolwide and citywide programs. In addition to programs designed to help at-risk youth develop self-esteem and an appreciation of societal values, service also has become a component of career and job training programs. Several States have comprehensive youth service plans underway or in planning. Concurrent with the emphasis on greater youth service opportunities has been a focus on quality programs with clear, useful goals, intensity of experience, and good supervision. Service program profiles, 49 notes, and 18 references. (Author abstract modified)