Back to Service Year


Since Youthlinc’s inception in 1999, 2,500 Youthlinc Service Year students have contributed more than 200,000 hours of local service throughout Utah. Last year, a total of 242 Youthlinc Service Year students and 67 Alum Leaders contributed 21,930 hours of local service throughout Utah. Local service is a critical element of Youthlinc’s Service Year and essential to our mission of creating lifetime humanitarians.

For most individuals serving internationally is a rare opportunity. However, each of us can serve within our own communities throughout our lives. In doing so we better understand the needs in our own communities, form meaningful relationships, and become relied-upon volunteers.

Our hope is that our students will develop a strong service ethic throughout the Youthlinc Service Year and will continue to serve locally when they return home form their international service experience.


  •  We require every single Youthlinc Service Year student to contribute 80 hours of local service, minimally 40 hours of which must be a main service site that provides hands-on service with genuinely needy individuals or communities.
  • We celebrate students who are excelling in their local service on our blog and social media.
  • At each monthly team meeting, students have the opportunity to reflect on their local service experience and share those experiences with team members.
  • We partner with over 275+ organizations and agencies in Utah and provide them with 250+ volunteers each year through the Youthlinc Utah Local Service Directory.
  • We recognize and celebrate high school and undergraduate students who excel in service through the Young Humanitarian Award, offering $13,500 in scholarship monies.
  •  We run a flagship local service program, Real Life, which provides after-school programming to teenagers with refugee or immigrant status in Utah using a peer mentorship model.


The Youthlinc Service Year commitment is 80 hours of local service, minimally 40 hours of which must be a main service site. Youthlinc Service Year students can start counting their service hours from October 15. Hours must be completed and verified by June 1. All hours must be logged and verified by a volunteer supervisor in the Youthlinc Utah Local Service Directory.


  • Hands-on service with people
  • Positive mentoring atmosphere
  • Genuine need

Hands-on service with people entails working directly with people. Students should be building meaningful relationships with those served. Volunteering in a back office or solely with animals would not count as a main service site.

Selecting a main service site that has a positive mentoring atmosphere is important so that the volunteer receives proper training, feels needed and appreciated, and is able to get his or her hours verified.

Working with genuinely needy individuals or communities is essential to internalizing community needs. We consider a genuine need as working with a low socioeconomic status population who would not receive needed services without volunteers.

We encourage students to contribute as many hours as possible at their main service site. Again, minimally 40 hours must be contributed at the selected main service site. Students can use miscellaneous service hours through service clubs, church activities, and other service events to reach the 80 hour local service requirement.


Service Year students will ask themselves three guiding questions when looking for miscellaneous service hours.

  1. Is this service helping someone who has a genuine need?
  2. Is this service improving the community in some way?
  3. Is this service creating or improving connection between me and another person or group of people?


If students can answer “yes” to these questions, the will then reflect with their Assistant Team Leaders (ATLs) to insure that miscellaneous service hours meet Youthlinc’s criteria.


We encourage Youthlinc Service Year students to utilize the Youthlinc Utah Local Service Directory when selecting their main service site to research organizations where Youthlinc alums have had a positive volunteer experience.

Assistant Team Leaders (ATLs) will mentor students through their main service site selection to ensure that it meets Youthlinc criteria.

We encourage students to create a consistent volunteer schedule in order to avoid procrastination and successfully meet local service hour deadlines on the 1st of each month.

Students who do not fully complete their local service requirements will be dismissed from the Youthlinc Service Year and will not travel internationally.

I volunteered with the same kids each time I went and got very close with some. It was incredible to watch their progress and the program is fun and uplifting. I value how each volunteer truly cared about the kids progress and the horses well being. –Hayley Bojack, 2017 Thailand Service Year Student, Courage Reins