110 Young Heroes Honor MLK Legacy
Categories: Boots On The Ground: Service Stories, Making Our Difference: TBL CSR
While many enjoy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a day off, for City Year it’s anything but that. City Year New Hampshire (CYNH) celebrated the day by opening the 2011 Young Heroes (YH) program, a service learning program that provides middle school students with structured, team-based opportunities to perform community service. Through service, the program (now in its seventh year) is designed to educate middle school students on important social issues and give them the chance to impact their communities powerfully. By fostering values of cooperation, character, and civic identity in children who are at a crucial juncture in their development, the program aims to develop the next generation of active citizens.
And it works! Alumni of the program stay involved and help support the current Young Heroes participants through the program in a variety of ways. Some alumni become junior team leaders and serve as role models who help with the logistics of the program and help run the service projects. Another alumni team, called Devoted Heroes, is made up of high school students who meet once a month throughout the year to explore relevant issues ranging from living a healthy life to dealing with bullying and cliques in high school.
The degree to which Young Hero alums stay involved proves to me that the program has a resounding impact on its participants. The YH program is run by a dedicated team of nine CYNH corps members which Timberland sponsors. I’m really proud of this investment we have made to support the engaged citizenship of NH youth.
The 110 Young Heroes enrolled in this year’s program will serve in Manchester, Nashua and the Seacoast area of New Hampshire. Last year’s class of 103 Young Heroes completed 15,000 hours of service during the course of the program; this year’s Young Heroes have already completed 2,000 hours of service.
I look forward to hearing of the impact of this year’s team of Young Heroes. I also look forward to the day when a majority of us shift from thinking of MLK day as a day off and instead, like City Year New Hampshire, consider it a “day ON” that we can use to make a difference.