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IDB supports Global Youth Service Day promoting youth participation in development

The Inter-American Development Bank today urged the youth of Latin America and the Caribbean to participate in the Second Global Youth Service Day April 21 by supporting community needs through volunteer work.

"There are few investments as effective as providing young people the opportunity to give back to their communities through voluntary service," said IDB President Enrique V. Iglesias.

"I encourage all people and groups to take advantage of Global Youth Service Day to highlight the power of partnership between young people and adults, and between youth organizations and the public and private sectors to create healthy youth and healthy communities," Iglesias said.

The Bank is holding a reception at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., today at 5.30pm, sponsored jointly with Youth Service America and the Global Youth Service Day International Coordinating Committee, to foster youth participation in the development process.

Three out of five of the 500 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean are younger than age 30 and will live during a time of social, economic, technological, and political changes that will affect them profoundly.

Such changes and the growth in the number of young people will have far-reaching implications for governments, economies, communities, and the environment. The future of the region has never been so heavily dependent on a single generation.

Recognizing the special role young people should play in the grand project of building a region of stable democracies, sustainable economies and societies based on equity, the Bank created the Youth Development and Outreach Program in 1995 to respond more effectively to the needs of young people in the region and promote their participation and leadership in the development process.

The IDB program emphasizes youth participation and leadership, entrepreneurial development, technology and community service.

The program establishes alliances with the public and private sectors, nongovernmental organizations and youth themselves in order to create a space for the voices and actions of young people in the development process.

For the year 2001 commemorations, the IDB coordinated outreach actions through its 8,000- member youth network. It disseminated information and engaged youth in 23 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to be a part of the Global Youth Service Day. The program sought official support and participation from IDB member countries and helped finance a volunteer youth service training manual in three languages: Spanish, Portuguese and Guaraní.

The IDB Youth Development and Outreach Program is managed by the Special Programs Section in the Office of External Relations.

Millions of Youth Volunteer Worldwide

From Canada to Argentina, and from the Dominican Republic to the United States, more than three million youth from 100 countries around the world planned service projects and celebratory events for the 2nd Annual Global Youth Service Day, April 21, 2001. The largest youth service event in the world, the event highlights youth’s year-round contributions to enhancing their communities through voluntary service.

Global Youth Service Day 2001 is an official event of the United Nation’s International Year of Volunteers 2001. In a letter of support, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan stated: "The United Nations can never succeed alone. Volunteers are some of our most valued partners, and Global Youth Service Day celebrates the efforts of the youngest of them". 

Youth Service America, the Global Youth Action Network, along with a consortium of 25 international organizations and 100 national lead agencies, are helping to organize worldwide celebrations this year.

"Global Youth Service Day is an important means of increasing public awareness and support for youth service programs," said Steve Culbertson, president of Youth Service America.

"In the United States, this event has been a catalyst for helping youth service groups highlight their year-round efforts and mobilize a new generation of young leaders."

"We also know from research that young people involved in volunteer service do better in school, and are more likely to vote, volunteer and become philanthropists as adults. Likewise, young volunteers are 50 percent less likely to get involved in drug and alcohol abuse, and teen delinquency. Youth service is one of the most effective youth development methodologies."

Global Youth Service Day activities are sponsored in part by the Better World Fund, AOL Time Warner, the One World Online Charitable Foundation, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Global Partnership for Youth Development, an initiative of the World Bank and the International Youth Foundation.

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