By giving youth the skills necessary to implement community service projects in their local communities, they will provide the platform needed to promote greater civic engagement in Turkey and Armenia. During the Volunteer Initiative in Turkey and Armenia program, participants will engage in community service activities, interact with American youth volunteers, and participate in a workshop where they will design their own community service projects to be implemented in Turkey and Armenia.
Currently volunteerism provokes various reactions from individuals in both Armenia & Turkey. According to the United Nations Development Program 2.5% of all Turkish citizens and 0.8% of all Armenians were involved in volunteerism in 2012, in comparison to the 64.5 million people (26.8%) in the United States. Creating a structured volunteer system and promoting individuals to "give back" encourages civic participation, increases morale, empowers individuals, and promotes social cohesion.
The Volunteer Initiative in Turkey and Armenia program will help address this issue by informing and educating youth to the importance of civic engagement and community service initiatives. By exposing them to training, community service activities, and volunteerism in the United States, the participants will embark on the first steps in creating a volunteer network that goes beyond communities and borders, through the design and implementation of their own community service initiatives.
The participants will be required to design and implement service activities within their communities in Turkey & Armenia, respectively. In order to successfully implement their program ideas they must reach out and recruit 8-10 individuals minimum to take part in giving back to the community. As a result, a network of informed volunteers will be formed throughout the countries. The program aims to reach at least 100 young individuals during the first implementation phase, with hope for growth.