News Story

Canadian Youth Participate in Global Youth Service Month

Canadian youth, including many from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, celebrated Global Youth Service Month, April 12 to May 12, 2024, by volunteering in their communities. This is the 36th year of the worldwide event, with youth from more than 100 countries participating.

Youth groups across Canada used the website or app to easily find and organize projects as part of Global Youth Service Month. JustServe is a free service that links community organizations with volunteers. The website shares non-profit organizations’ volunteer needs with community members searching for opportunities to enhance the quality of life in their communities. JustServe puts local service projects at the fingertips of anyone looking to share their skills and time.

Edmonton Youth Clean Up

The Edmonton JustServe Youth Council, an interfaith group of teens, organized a park cleanup through the Capital City Clean Up program run by the City of Edmonton. Over 60 young people from various high schools and faith communities participated in gathering garbage from Gallagher Park in central Edmonton.

"As a Latter-day Saint on the JustServe Youth Council, I work with truly amazing youth,” said Luca McMullin, 17. “We all agree that our generation needs to serve. Our community values service and provides countless opportunities for us. Serving with like-minded youth today builds a brighter tomorrow.”

Red Deer Becomes Green Deer

To mark Global Youth Service Day, approximately 100 teenagers from the Red Deer Alberta Stake gathered on April 27, 2024, to clean McKenzie Trails, a natural recreation area. The youth said they felt rewarded when a couple walking the trails stopped to express appreciation for their service, which contributed to Red Deer’s Green Deer initiative. Global Youth Service Day was April 26 to April 28.

Jen Martens, stake communication director, said the process was stress-free.

“We encouraged the youth of our stake to participate in Global Youth Service Month, so we got on, found a project and did it," she said. 

Grande Prairie Food Drive Benefits Veterans Association

Latter-day Saint youth and event organizer Mitchell Lewis heard that the local Grande Prairie Veterans Association needed food, so he organized a food drive. He posted it on JustServe, promoted it on social media and radio, and placed posters in schools and public areas. The food drive was successful due to the generosity and participation of 140 JustServe community volunteers.

“Using JustServe made it a bigger event,” Lewis said. “We got many volunteers and more food.”

Victoria, a JustServe volunteer, said, “I saw a post on social media and thought, hey, I can go do that!”

Members of the REDRUM Treaty 8 Motorcycle Club also signed up through JustServe to assist at the food drive. Club members travelled two to five hours by motorcycle to Grande Prairie.

“JustServe embodies the spirit of altruism and simplifies the process of project completion,” said Lori Ross, Veterans Association spokesperson. “We extend our gratitude to JustServe and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Sherwood Park Fights Hunger

Latter-day Saint youth of Sherwood Park, Alberta — with volunteers from the Rotary Club, Emmanuel Foundation, Knights of Columbus and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church — packaged meal kits for those in need as part of the Against Hunger campaign. The youth have participated in the campaign for the last four years.

“This year, the group packaged 100,000 meals. That’s a record!” said Tom Alston, Sherwood Park Alberta Stake communication director.

Ottawa Youth Give YMCA Camp a Facelift

More than 70 Latter-day Saint youth and their adult leaders helped prepare the buildings and grounds at YMCA Camp Otonabee in Dunrobin, Ontario, for the upcoming summer season. Service included painting, cleaning the buildings and clearing the grounds.

Afterward, the youth celebrated around a campfire with hot dogs and s’mores. Patty Rodgers-Deeks and Trajan Schulzke, Ottawa Ontario Stake JustServe specialists, agreed that the youth were eager to serve and had fun doing it.

Sara Pinsky, general manager of camping and outdoor education at YMCA of the National Capital Region, said, “We are so thankful for the kindness and support of the youth and their leaders who spent all day preparing our campsite. Camp Otonabee will welcome over 3,000 campers this summer.”

Montreal Youth Help Local Shelters

With help from JustServe, 60 members of the French-speaking Montreal Quebec Stake celebrated Global Youth Service Month by collecting, preparing and donating socks, hygiene products, chocolates, tote bags, cards, plastic pillow covers, sandwiches and more to seven local shelters.

Following the event, Élise Voisin of the shelter La rue des Femmes said, “A great thank you for your material donations and also for your generous contribution to our organization.”

One youth participant summarized her feelings: “I liked helping with this service project and would like to do it again next year.”

Contributed by Carol Laycock

Read the article in French

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