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National Youth Service Day

Habitat for Humanity International Helps Organize 15th Annual National Youth Service Day, April 11-13, 2003

AMERICUS, Ga., April 8, 2003–Habitat for Humanity International will take part in National Youth Service Day, April 11-13. Young people across America will address important unmet community needs through service-learning projects addressing literacy, hunger, public safety, the environment and substandard housing as part of the 15th Annual National Youth Service Day. A program of Youth Service America, National Youth Service Day takes place through the efforts of 60 national partners, including Habitat for Humanity International. The presenting sponsor of National Youth Service Day is State Farm Companies Foundation.

On National Youth Service Day, a public awareness and education campaign that highlights the amazing contributions young people make to their communities 365 days a year, young people across the United States and in 150 countries will respond to global unrest by helping their neighbors and serving their communities. As the largest service event in the world, engaging millions of young people, National Youth Service Day draws together a remarkable consortium of local, regional and national partners, while recruiting the next generation of young volunteers. Youth in more than 150 countries join their U.S. peers as part of the Fourth Annual Global Youth Service Day, which takes place concurrently with support from the GM Foundation.

During the week of April 5-13, Habitat for Humanity affiliates will host Youth United, HabiFest and National Youth Service Day programs in order to give young people the opportunity to serve their community.

Youth United invites local youth, ages five to 25, to sponsor and build Habitat for Humanity houses in their communities. The efforts of participating youth will be celebrated at events taking place in Connecticut, Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia. Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International, will speak at HFHI Youth United events in Bridgeport, Conn., Annapolis, Md., Baltimore, Mount Airy, N.C., Statesville, N.C., Morganton, N.C., Easley, S.C. and Winchester, Va. Youth United benefits communities by building houses, as well as by building leadership skills in youth.

The largest Habitat for Humanity Youth Service Day event will be in Tacoma, Wash. Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity will involve 200 youth and adult supervisors in construction projects on three homes in Tacoma. Youth ages 16 and older will be landscaping, painting and building sheds on Habitat houses. Participants younger than 16 will be involved in projects, such as building flower boxes, mailboxes or painting.

Habitat for Humanity International’s Campus Chapters and Youth Programs is celebrating its fifteenth year.

“We are excited that young people want to get involved in helping families who are less fortunate,” said Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International. “We want to raise the roof on poverty housing. We know that with the help of youth, we can eliminate substandard housing from the face of the earth.”

“It is a distinct honor to work with such amazing National Partners. Their leadership increases the scale and visibility of youth service year-round, and helps young people in America play a lead role in learning about community needs, while giving their time, energy, commitment, and experience,” said Steve Culbertson, president and CEO of Youth Service America. “Millions of young people serving together on National Youth Service Day creates a tidal wave of good and sends a powerful message of hope and healing around the globe,” Culbertson added.

Further underscoring the importance of youth service, a recent study conducted by Independent Sector and Youth Service America revealed that forty-four percent of adults volunteer and two-thirds of these volunteers began volunteering their time when they were young. The study also showed that volunteering amongst high school students recently reached the highest levels in the past 50 years. To learn more about the report, entitled “Engaging Youth in Lifelong Service”, visit: http://www.independentsector.org/programs/research/engagingyouth.html

National Youth Service Day is coordinated by Youth Service America, in partnership with the National Youth Leadership Council and PARADE Magazine. In addition to thousands of projects led by youth, schools, community and faith-based groups, fifty organizations across the country serve as Lead Agencies for National Youth Service Day. The Lead Agencies are local, regional, or statewide liaisons for National Youth Service Day, promoting projects and celebrations, coordinating volunteer recruitment, local media outreach, and hands-on participation by elected officials.

YOUTH SERVICE AMERICA (YSA) is a resource center and premier alliance of 300+ organizations committed to increasing the quantity and quality of opportunities for young people in America to serve locally, nationally, or globally. Founded in 1986, YSA’s mission is to strengthen the Effectiveness, Sustainability, and Scale of the youth service and service-learning fields. YSA envisions a powerful network of organizations committed to making service and service-learning the common expectation and common experience of all young people in America. A strong youth service network will create healthy communities, and foster citizenship, knowledge, and the personal development of young people. In addition to National Youth Service Day and Global Youth Service Day, which take place concurrently each April, YSA also hosts SERVEnet (http://www.servenet.org/), an award-winning one-stop portal for information and resources on service and volunteering. Media contact: Dave DeCicco, 202-296-2992 Ext. 11, Dave@YSA.org, http://www.ysa.org/.

Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Founded by Millard Fuller, along with his wife, Linda, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliates in more than 3,000 communities in 87 nations have built and sold more than 125,000 homes to partner families with no-profit, zero-interest mortgages. http://www.habitat.org/