Event gives youth ways to volunteer

According to the UCLA Higher Education Institute, youth who volunteer are more likely to do well in school, graduate, vote and be philanthropic. Young people who volunteer just one hour a week are 50 percent less likely to abuse drugs, alcohol or tobacco or to engage in destructive behavior, according to the Search Institute.

DeKalb County KEYS (Keep Encouraging Youth to Succeed) and Kishwaukee United Way are hosting the second annual Care or Be Square Youth & Family Volunteer Fair for DeKalb County middle and high school youth from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, at the Hopkins Park Community Center at 1403 Sycamore Road in DeKalb.

“Not long ago, our research found only 22 percent of DeKalb and Sycamore youth report they are given useful roles in the community,” said Mary Hess, asset specialist at DeKalb County KEYS Initiative and Ben Gordon prevention and education program. “The youth and family volunteer fair is one way we can let our kids know that they can make a valuable contribution in the communities where they live. ”

The Care to Be Square Youth & Family Volunteer Fair is free and open to students from all DeKalb County middle and high schools. It is designed to facilitate volunteer connections and help ignite the volunteer spirit that has shaped our community. Organizers hope to provide young people and their families with myriad opportunities that will complement both their interests and schedules.

Twenty or more local organizations will be on hand to talk to youth about volunteer opportunities. Fair visitors will receive a booklet to help them navigate the fair and learn about additional opportunities. Information about community service-based scholarships will also be available. Thanks to the DeKalb Township Committee on Youth, all fair visitors can enter their name into a drawing to win an iPod touch.

“We are excited to co-host the youth and family fair again this year in conjunction with KEYS. We are pleased to offer a resource specifically tailored to young people in our community,” said Dawn Littlefield, Kishwaukee United Way executive director. “We hope students and families will join us on April 16 to learn how they can give back to others through volunteering, have fun, and learn more about the great agencies in our area, as well.”

For more information, call Mary Hess at 815-756-8501, ext. 111.

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