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Engaging Youth in Volunteerism: HYVC builds the capacity of community partners in Halton

By: Joudie Al Baghdadi, HYI Volunteer

December 13, 2021

On Wednesday November 24, 2021, Heather Johnson, the director of Volunteer Halton, hosted an event, Engaging Youth in Volunteerism featuring the volunteering groups: The Halton Youth Voices Council and Halton Youth Initiative. This online event created a space in which the members of the council shared their knowledge and experience with many organizations and community partners on how to create successful and engaging youth teams.

Members of the HYI and Halton Youth Voices Council presenting to Volunteer Halton

The Halton Youth Voices Council shared The 3 Rs, which is a framework that youth volunteers from Halton Youth Initiative had come up with that organizations can use in order to increase youth engagement. The 3 Rs were Recruit, Recognize, and Retain, and all were made into three separate videos that were shared with the organizations throughout the event.

The first R, Recruit, provided insight on how to better gain youth volunteers’ interest in the organization. HYI volunteers showcased examples of successful Instagram accounts and social media posts as well as possible websites that could attract the attention of the youth. The key factor that HYVC shared which makes youth want to join certain organizations was the ability to make a difference in their community, which is also a factor that organizations can use to promote their activities when looking for volunteers. HYVC also shared helpful tips and tricks on how to create eye-catching posts and websites and how to truly attract young people in the community into wanting to volunteer with their organization.

The second R, Recognize, discusses how organizations can recognize youth volunteers for their amazing work. One popular idea mentioned was receiving a recognition letter to add to their resumes. Three consistent topics were mentioned and were categorized into three groups that are dedicated to celebrating the recognition and contribution of volunteers. These three groups were the following: Volunteer Youth Awards, acknowledgment for resumes through reference letters, and finally leadership opportunities. Everyone needs motivation to continue to work and having these three motivators can help youth volunteers feel like they are appreciated, acknowledged for their hard work, and are given different opportunities.

The third, and final R, Retain, which focuses on how to provide a comfortable space that allows volunteers to share their ideas and opinions. Some of the ideas brought up were as follows: Bringing youth out of their comfort zones, allowing them to have new experiences, opportunities to gain and enhance skills, working with new people, and making sure that the work being done leaves a positive impact on the community.

The event ended with an open Q and A which allowed for organizations to note down any more information that the youth were able to share. The members shared their own experiences working as volunteers and were able to provide open and honest feedback to the organizations that attended. Overall, this event was very successful as not only will organizations know how to better create and engage youth volunteer groups, but HYVC and said organizations were able to create better community connections.

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