National Youth Service in Canada - In Search of a Strong National Policy

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National Youth Service (NYS) is defined as an organized activity in which young people serve others - and the environment in ways that contribute positively to society. NYS participants normally serve full-time for a period of six months to two years and receive support - whether from NGOs or government - sufficient enough to enable them to serve. Major areas of service are health, education, environmental conservation and care for the very old and the very young. NYS also embraces service learning, where students utilize their education to serve others and then reflect on their service experiences to inform others of their learning. Service learning is a graduation requirement in many Universities around the world. Service learning in secondary schools and Universities is often a prelude to full-time NYS. National youth service - remains an incredible means - for improving young people’s career opportunities - and putting them on the road to success, accomplishment - and mutual support. In 2000, youth volunteers accounted for 15 per cent of the total number of volunteer hours in Canada. Many young people say they do not volunteer becaus e they do not know how to go about it. It is our collective duty to create and provide the right kind of opportunities to engage youth in a meaningful and enriching volunteer experience.


Jean-Guy Bigeau

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