This spring, Chatham-Kent youth broke the local record for volunteer hours – 1,253 youth volunteered 26,236 hours during the six week long ChangeTheWorld Ontario Youth Volunteer Challenge.

ChangeTheWorld is a call to action for youth aged 14-18 years to volunteer through a wide variety of exciting community initiatives from April 12th to May 24th, 2015. The challenge is funded by the Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade in partnership with the Ontario Volunteer Centre Network.
Led by Ambassadors of the United Way Youth Committee, Chatham-Kent youth generously donated their time to benefit their schools and community organizations.

Ashley Jackson of John McGregor Secondary School, Chair of the Youth Committee, understands the significance of the challenge – “It is important for youth to volunteer in the community to give back and make a positive change. Volunteering gives youth the opportunity to learn new skills, make new friends, and have fun while doing it.”

Youth across Chatham-Kent participated in various volunteer activities including a recreational activity day with Community Living, the “Challenges, Beliefs, and Changes”  peer led drug awareness program with Chatham-Kent Public Health as well as many community clean ups throughout the municipality.

“I would like to thank the local high schools and community partners for their support during this challenge and their continued support of United Way’s work in our All That Kids Can Be focus area” said Erica Kitchen, Youth Engagement Coordinator at United Way of Chatham-Kent. “The ambassadors were given a goal of engaging 650 youth in 3,250 volunteer hours. By mobilizing their friends, schools, and being very active on social media they were able to show Chatham-Kent how much of a difference they can make in our community.  Without the hard work and enthusiasm of our amazing Youth Ambassadors none of this would have been possible.”

Next year’s ChangeTheWorld Ontario Youth Volunteer Challenge will take place April 10th to May 23rd.