(updated July 10, 2021)
As of March 18, 2021, The Giving Spirit Youth Council will serve as the newest committee of The Giving Spirit, under the tutelage and mentorship of the Director of Education and Community Awareness. This Youth Council will be composed of youth leaders, committed to service, invested in the alleviation of poverty in Los Angeles, and devoted to the mission of The Giving Spirit to play a role in this humanitarian crisis. These young leaders represent a community of Angelenos - their neighborhoods, their families, their respective schools, and their peer groups - that have a genuine passion for service and embody principles that transcends boundaries of LA.
A defining characteristic of the Council members is displaying leadership and taking initiative in everyday life. We must take action to educate our peers on why homelessness is an important issue and engage our school communities in positive impact. Social justice throughout our communities, cities, and country is of the utmost importance to our group. The focus of the Youth Council is greater than just homelessness; we are choosing to include areas such as mental health, substance abuse, race and gender discrimation, and economic struggles as well because we believe that these issues often intersect with homelessness and play a key role in understanding the bigger picture of systemic inequality.
Our goal is to raise more awareness within our family units and peer groups as to why they too should get involved. We believe that taking responsibility within our own communities for inequitable conditions is very important, and one of our core values is empathy –– empathy for those living in our city and empathy for those who are not prospering and require assistance. The more we openly discuss relevant issues and work to educate others about our cause, the more others will want to be involved and want to be a part of the change we lead. What we do now will impact our future and, though many may not know where to start, the Youth Council can lead by action. We must understand what it means to take responsibility for the people around us. We are all residents of LA, this country, and this world and, whether we live in a house, apartment, hotel, car, or on the street, we are all connected by our humanity.
This Youth Council represents a pivotal change in The Giving Spirit. Never before has the organization had young leaders to look to and consult with on ideas and problem solving. In addition, we connect TGS to a whole new population of our peers who will be excited to join us and participate in community service. The Council includes a unique perspective of the younger generation and future spearheaders of social impact initiatives.
There are five schools represented in the Youth Council at this time: Brentwood, Loyala, Windward, Shalhevit and Milken. Each member will be creating a club at their school to have a permanent position in their school. These clubs will be used to educate schools and utilize student members for volunteer events, contributing to a generation of more service oriented youth who are knowledgeable about current events and issues related to them.
Each representative can count on the following benefits from active participation on this exclusive Youth Council:
- Open lines of communication with, and regular mentorship/supervision from The Giving Spirit leadership
- Team-building experience working with peers from different schools on common goals
- Access to a collaborative forum, sharing best practices and strategies to bring back to respective schools
- Professional development workshops incorporated in select meetings
- Invaluable insight to the inner-workings of a local social-service organization
- Opportunity to be a critical voice in developing actionable strategy for an organization making an impact on thousands of lives across Los Angeles
- Community service hours for participation during meetings and The Giving Spirit events
The Giving Spirit Youth Council will, of its own accord or concensus:
- Set a regular meeting schedule and commit to attending meetings. If an issue occurs and a member must miss a day, they will notify a director as soon as possible with the reason for their absence and with the expectation that they will make up work.
- Create an agenda for meetings and remain attentive during agenda items
- Create a succession plan for their school clubs and their membership in the Youth Council
- Continuously contribute short-term and long-term strategy and communication ideas to Giving Spirit leadership