Award Recognizes YSA’s Work to Connect Kids and Nature, Helps Celebrate Global Youth Service Day 2012
YSA (Youth Service America) has received a $100,000 grant from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) for its work to protect nature and inspire lifelong conservation values.
YSA will use the $100,000 grant to support and enhance youth-led service projects taking place around the world on Global Youth Service Day, April 20-22, 2012. Organized by YSA, Global Youth Service Day is the world’s largest service event, celebrating and mobilizing the millions of children and youth who improve their communities each day of the year through service. Approximately 30% of registered Global Youth Service Day projects are focused on the environment and environmental conservation.
Since 2005, YSA and Disney have collaborated to support community-based, youth-led projects, many of which are focused on environmental conservation and sustainability. In addition to other programs and collaborations, YSA administers Disney Friends for Change Grants—$1,000 grants and project support available to young change-makers to help them make lasting, positive change in the world. To date, Friends for Change Grants have funded 195 environmental projects impacting 524,532 community members worldwide. The most recent crop of Friends for Change grantees will spring into action this weekend as part of Global Youth Service Day.
The award was presented on Friday, April 13, 2012, during the Disney Kids and Nature Celebration, a three-day event held at Walt Disney World Resort which recognizes the importance of connecting kids to nature and the organizations leading this effort. YSA president and CEO Steven A. Culbertson was on hand to accept the award on behalf of YSA, as well as 16-year-old Eric Babb of Highland, Utah, who was selected to represent the organization for his work to educate and engage the public to solve the problem of invasive species.
“Many thanks to Disney for sharing in the vision that, through community service, young people can change the world,” said Mr. Culbertson. “We recognize that issues around the environment are major ‘sparks’ that ignite a ‘passion for action’ in young people. By collaborating with YSA and by supporting YSA’s work to connect kids to nature, Disney brings visibility and sustainability to youth service and the environment, advancing both movements in ways that only Disney can.”
The grant to YSA is one of five $100,000 awards that was announced. To date, DWCF has invested almost $20 million to support conservation programs in more than half the countries in the world.
“At Disney, kids and conservation are important to who we are as a company,” said Dr. Beth Stevens, senior vice president of Corporate Citizenship, Environment & Conservation at Disney. “We have great confidence that YSA will continue this commitment into the future. We know that the experiences they are helping to create for kids in nature are critical to inspiring the next generation of conservation leaders.”