When young people are actively involved community service projects, they are contributing to the strength of their community while also building the strength of their character.  Through quality service experiences, youth can develop important skills such as critical thinking, a sense of civic responsibility, and an increased sense of self efficacy that will be useful to them throughout their college and work lives. The sense that they can, and should, participate in their communities creates a strong foundation for their future civic engagement.



The Benefits of Youth Volunteering



  • Increased self motivation and improved academic success
  • Opportunity to discover new skills, talents and interests
  • Hands-on experience builds greater self esteem
  • An inside look at how organizations operate
  • Critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork development
  • Take a look at the “real” working world
  • Networks to future opportunities and professional references



  • Volunteering isn’t just about personal career development, it’s about;
  • Working with others to accomplish greater things
  • Improving lives of people in the community



It’s estimated that more than 15 million youth between the ages of  12 - 18 actively participate in volunteer service. (www.nationalservice.gov)




Community Service/ Volunteerism


When young people are involved in community service, it strengthens their sense of civic responsibility and helps them achieve educational, developmental and social goals.


For a list of youth volunteer links and resources click here.


Service Learning


Service-learning actively engages students in meaningful and relevant service activities as part of the academic curriculum. Service-learning projects work best when they:

  • Fit the ages and developmental abilities of the students
  • Include interesting and engaging service activities
  • Explore the context of the underlying societal issues the service addresses
  • Address needs that are important to the community being served



The Bergen Volunteer Center works with young people to develop leadership skills in community service and civic engagement.  Check out our two opportunities to provide teens with the tools and resources to make a difference – Ready, Set, Serve and Teen LEADS.

Ready Set Serve


Ready Set Serve (RSS) is a unique training program designed to help prepare the next generation for leadership roles in their communities.  Through a state-of-the-art curriculum that includes both classroom instruction and experiential training, RSS teaches middle- and high-school-age youth a broad array of leadership skills applicable to community service.  The ultimate purpose of RSS is to help create stronger communities - and a stronger nation - by igniting in young people the ability and the desire to make meaningful, lifelong contributions to their communities.




Teen LEADS is a leadership program for high school students to learn about local government and public policy. Students analyze community issues and develop new approaches to problem solving. The program is designed to get students excited about public policy and how their community is governed. At the completion of the program, students will have developed the tools needed to affect change in their community and transform lives.

College LEADS


College LEADS is a leadership program for college students to learn about local government and public policy. Students analyze community issues and develop new approaches to problem solving. The program is designed to get students excited about community engagement and public policy. The students take a deep look into a compelling community issue.  They look at the many facets of the issues figuring out where their generation can take a stand and make some impact toward resolve.


Contact Us


Bergen Volunteer Center

64 Passaic Street

Hackensack, NJ 07601




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