New Structured Volunteering Program Helps Young Volunteers
3 April 2012 at 11:16 am
Young Australians who want to volunteer overseas and at home can now take part in a new structured volunteering program that can lead to placements in Australia and the Asia Pacific.
School leavers who traditionally take a ‘gap year’ can now be involved in a ‘start year’ – a new approach to structured volunteering by youth organisation, Foundation for Young Australians (FYA).
Launched last month in Sydney, the Young People Without Borders movement says the program offers young people aged 13-20 a structured pathway into volunteering and global citizenship.
A spokesperson for FYA said that the structured volunteering ‘start year’ program commences in Year 8, with hopeful students accumulating credits in the areas of fundraising, volunteering and awareness-raising over five years.
Upon completion of their schooling, students can take an extended volunteering placement in Australia or the Asia Pacific, facilitated by FYA.
The first group of participants – branded the ‘Trailblazers’ were celebrated at the launch at the Sydney Opera House and will embark on their Start Year in China, India and Vietnam.
FYA says the structured volunteering program is the ultimate journey of discovery for young people to get amongst it and give back to the world.
FYA’s chief executive, Jan Owen, said that the program is expected to involve hundreds of thousands of young Australians in the next few years.
“This is a major development in the way Australia’s young people transition into the ‘University of Life’ beyond school,” Owen said.
“Young People Without Borders asks teenagers to think beyond their borders, to learn about global issues and to start volunteering or campaigning in their local community. By the end of Year 12 they are ready for a ‘Start Year’.”
Trailblazer, Mairead McKenzie-McHarg, said: “I’m so glad I applied for YPWBs without even leaving the country yet this has changed my life so much.”
“Everyone who's involved is epic,” she said. “My adventure is going to be so much better because of these people.”
FYA said that the Young People Without Borders launch featured some of Australia’s most influential young change-makers including:
- Marita Cheng, Young Australian of the Year
- Benson Saulo, 2011 Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations and Director of FYA's National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy
- Liz Cambage, Australian Opals basketballer
- Tim Kenworthy, Founder of Useful
Jan Owen said that Young People Without Borders was a new rite of passage that will transform a generation and embed real contribution into the DNA of all young Australians.
FYA said that a number of the Trailblazers have already commenced their volunteering adventures. You can follow their blogs from the field here.
The next cohort of Trailblazers are due to leave in August 2012.