On October 6-7 higher education leaders across Virginia convened at Averett University for the Governor’s Summit on Advancing Engagement in the Commonwealth. The summit was hosted by Averett University and the Virginia Department of Social Services in collaboration with the Governor’s Advisory Board on Service and Volunteerism, VA Engage network, and Service Year Alliance.
The idea of a service year is not new — with programs, big and small, making a tremendous impact in local communities for many years. Young people participating in service years have walked away with essential skills, a new sense of perspective, and a feeling of civic responsibility. At Service Year Alliance, we envision a day where these experiences are a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans.
In order to make that day a reality, this idea needs a fresh, bold approach. An approach that’s bold, adventurous, optimistic, and inclusive. One that truly represents an experience that’s transformative on three levels — for participants, our communities, and our society.
Today, three organizations — ServiceNation, the Franklin Project, and the Service Year Exchange — officially announced their merger, forming Service Year Alliance, an organization aiming to make a year of paid, full-time service — a service year — a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans. Service Year Alliance’s vision is simple but ambitious: every year, one million young Americans engage in a service year, solving important problems while transforming their own lives.
As we launch our new, merged organization we thought it would be helpful to give some details about how Service Year Alliance came to be and our strategic direction. For those who want to get into the weeds a bit, this post is for you.