For decades, we’ve expected young Americans to graduate high school, go to college, and then get a job. Somewhere along the way, though, our institutions lost the trust of the next generation and they began to question the value of this path.
It’s time to rethink the path to success for our nation’s youth and rebuild trust along the way by prioritizing opportunities that bring people from different backgrounds together through a shared goal and common purpose.
Every young person in America should spend a year in national service.
As an AmeriCorps VISTA alum, my year of service taught me first-hand about the power of national service to launch youth on pathways to success, transform communities, and bring people together.
When I graduated college in 2008, our economy was tanking and our institutions were failing me. I was under the impression that if I worked hard and graduated from college, I could find a job and be successful. But that was far from my reality. Fortunately, I found national service, and the experience shaped my career and led me to my position today as the CEO of Service Year Alliance, a nonprofit that envisions a future where a year of national service is part of growing up in America.
More young people should have access to these life-changing opportunities that bring them closer to their communities and their fellow citizens.