Through the Jr. Angels Program at the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, high school students will be mentored through engaging in youth-led disaster philanthropy and community service - empowering them to positively impact their communities, which are recovering from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
In the wake of devastation from two back-to-back Category 5 Hurricanes in September 2017, the challenges facing the U.S. Virgin Islands are complex and multifaceted. Youth in particular have had their lives disrupted, with many attending only 1/2 days of school because of damaged schools sharing facilities. Young people are left feeling largely dis-empowered and disenfranchised in the recovery process, as there are few formal opportunities for their involvement.
The Jr. Angels program at CFVI coordinates volunteer opportunities for local high school students to provide community service at local nonprofit agencies. Since the hurricanes, we have also added a youth philanthropy component, so that the students have the opportunity to learn about disaster philanthropy and to directly have a voice and play a role in funding projects to benefit their communities. Jr. Angels also received mentoring, so the program promotes overall youth development.
Long-term effects of this program are threefold: impact on the youth from learning the value of services and philanthropy; impact on the organizations who are assigned a youth volunteer; and impact on the communities in the form of projects/programs funded through the youth philanthropy grant-making.