[youtube height=”355″ width=”640″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5b0iWj3MMHc&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]

First off, Happy New Year!! It’s been a very busy start to the year here in Youthlincland. At the office we’ve been checking local service hours and verifying payments. Real Life is also partnering with Juan Diego for Senior Service Week, where a group of 14 students are completing 40 hours of service at both Meadowbrook and Hser Ner Moo.
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But before we get too ahead of ourselves, we certainly need to highlight the incredibly successful first round of team meetings! There was a strong local service emphasis in each of these meetings, which were held at the Youthlinc office throughout December.

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Most teams began with local service reflections. Students wrote down reflections and experiences from their local service sites, and then shared them with other team members.

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Assistant Team Leaders and Alum Leaders then held small group activities, where leaders spoke about their main service site and shared tips on how to get the most out of it. Groups wrote their thoughts on poster boards and stuck them to the wall for the whole team to see. Many of the ideas included forming meaningful relationships, having a positive attitude, creating a consistent volunteer schedule, and being fully engaged.

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Alum Leaders presented their Local Service Outreach projects and students committed to whichever project interested them. Later, Mentors and Alum Leaders reviewed the basics of each international committee: Construction, Community Health, Cultural Exchange, Education, Business Development, and Vocational Training. Students signed up for different committees and responsibilities while in-country.

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Finally, leaders spoke about fundraising tips during the holidays. The most effective way to fundraise is to make a list of everyone you and your parents know, divide the cost of the trip by that many people, and compose a great letter or email to each person. Explain the immense local and international service commitment you are undertaking throughout the Youthlinc Service Year. Call them if they don’t respond to your email. It’s all about the follow-up! Trust us, they want to hear your sweet voice J. Check out our sample letters, donation forms and tips.

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Megan Dolle, our Community Liaison, also visited all of the teams in December to remind students to thank their sponsors. All students with Financial Aid or a Legacy Sponsorship should have thanked their sponsor before January 1st (if you haven’t yet, do it ASAP!). It is incredibly important for students to express gratitude and keep their sponsors informed during this life-changing journey.

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This Service Year, we have allocated about 170 financial awards, totaling more than $155,000! This simply would not have been possible without the generosity of our Legacy Sponsors/Sustaining Members. These investments often make the Service Year possible for the sponsored individual, and always instill a lifetime service ethic.
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We are incredibly proud of the 61 adult Mentors, 49 Alum Leaders, and 245 Students who have made such an important commitment to service this year. During our January team retreats, participants will be partaking in team building activities and group service projects. We’ll keep you updated — stories and photos to come!