Getting things done for Michigan!
YouthWork is a unique program designed to develop young people and their communities by completing critical projects for nonprofits and government agencies in northern and central Michigan. We all benefit from YouthWork!
Our members receive hands-on experience and tackle local and global challenges while they earn a living stipend, scholarships, and 21st century job skills.
Our project partners receive quality services, save valuable resources, and get critical projects completed by trained YouthWork crews.
Our local businesses benefit from a more skilled and prepared workforce – employees our local economy needs to thrive!
Our communities (that’s you!) enjoy new and improved trails and boardwalks, cleaner rivers, lakes, and shorelines, and hundreds of thousands of newly planted trees and native plants.
Since inception in summer 2018, 175+ YouthWork AmeriCorps members have provided more than 52,000 hours of community services for 150+ partners at 200+ project sites contributing to:
HOW IT WORKS
YouthWork crews are made up of 2-6 youth (limited to 3 members during COVID-19) and are supervised by a qualified, adult Crew Leader. YouthWork crews serve their local community, with most projects completed within 50 miles of their home whenever possible.
YouthWork has developed strict new safety protocol and operational procedures related to COVID-19. We are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our members, staff, and communities. If you want to learn more about our protocol, please contact us. We’re happy to answer questions and address concerns.
YouthWork crews GET THINGS DONE for our local communities - from planting trees, building boardwalks, or removing invasive species, to wildlife conservation, preserving historic buildings, trail development, and more.
YouthWork activities intentionally reduce negative impacts on our environment while instilling in youth an appreciation for conservation and the outdoors.
ALL ARE WELCOME AT YOUTHWORK! At the heart of YouthWork is an inclusive culture where our diverse members are met with respect and kindness. As a mission-driven program, YouthWork proudly accepts and deliberately recruits members from varying backgrounds, with varying talents and capabilities, and face barriers to employment. We employ caring, skilled, and dedicated staff who support our members as they work towards their individual goals.
YouthWork understands that our members come to us at different places – some may be experienced and ready to act as a leader on their crew while others have never had a job and still need help keeping a schedule, developing a routine, and being a reliable team member. It is our members that we serve, who in turn serve their communities as AmeriCorps members.
With limited budgets and capacity, Michigan nonprofits and government agencies are often forced to delay important conservation and service projects. YouthWork allows for the completion of these projects at a reduced cost, saving valuable resources and enhancing community spaces for all to enjoy. Studies show that programs like YouthWork can reduce project expenses by up to 50%.
YouthWork has significant experience completing conservation and skilled trades projects. YouthWork’s 150+ partners are continuously pleased with the quality of our work and 100% of YouthWork partners say they would hire YouthWork again.
Members are assigned to crews and crews are assigned to projects based on the skills, location, and needs of our partners. We bring the tools, equipment, and labor to GET THINGS DONE for you! Some projects are completed in a day or less, while others take weeks or months.
YouthWork’s financial partners are vital to the program’s success. YouthWork is partially supported by a federal AmeriCorps grant and the remaining program costs are covered by fees-for-services we collect from project partners who hire YouthWork to complete various projects at a fair, discounted rate.
More grants and donations means more savings for our project partners and communities. Grants and donations received by YouthWork reduce or eliminate the fees charged for projects and, thus, reduces or eliminates the direct cost to our project partners and communities. This means your investment not only supports YouthWork and our vulnerable members, but our community partners as well.
Completing projects at a free or reduced rate also allows YouthWork to build our reputation and engage new partners that can afford to pay fees-for-services and eventually will. This helps the program grow sustainably and strengthens the YouthWork model.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT YOUTHWORK
“We are very appreciative for the enthusiastic boots-on-the-ground crews from YouthWork – these young people are providing critical labor to help meet our goal of planting 100,000 native trees under CRA’s Wild Roots initiative, and at the same me picking up professional skills we might tap in the future!”
- Amy Beyer, Director, Conservation Resource Alliance
“I wanted to send a huge THANK YOU to the YouthWork crew that was out this fall for all their hard work. The staff here were very impressed by the work ethic demonstrated by both crews while they were here and we have nothing but great things to say about Erin who was a fantastic leader. We truly appreciate all the extra help with the monumental task we undertake each fall cleaning up leaves, sticks, and other debris from the park grounds to prepare for next season.”
- Ben Dietrich, Unit Supervisor, Mitchell State Park, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
“Through the efforts of YouthWork, Keweenaw National Historical Park has made strides engaging young people from our own community on preservation maintenance projects for Keweenaw Heritage Sites. Work involves repairs to historic structures, improvements to historic landscapes; and care of museum collections. These place-based projects and educational experiences give high school students the chance to contribute in a meaningful way by interacting with site volunteers of all ages. YouthWork's collaboration builds trust and understanding across generations and provides participants with the opportunity to develop leadership skills, confidence, and a sense of accomplishment and civic pride. I love YouthWork!”
John Rosemurgy, Historical Architect, Keewenaw National Historic Park, National Park Service
“We have worked with YouthWork on trail-building and maintenance projects at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore for several years (Kettles Trail and Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail). YouthWork crews have been hard-working, disciplined, and friendly. They have worked well with National Park staff and our volunteers, resulting in seamless and effective teamwork between the three groups. We plan to have them back again.”
Kerry Kelly, President, Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes
“YouthWork teams have supported our State Park operations at a number of locations in a multitude of ways including, but not limited to, grounds upkeep, trail clearing and building picnic tables. We have found value in working with YouthWork crews and look forward to continuing and growing our partnership.”
Kasey Ann Mahony, Cadillac District Supervisor, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
“The opportunity to hire YouthWork on resource management and recreational improvement projects along the Boardman River and in our area public parklands presents a great opportunity to not only get work done at a fair labor rate but also instill a sense of pride and stewardship in our youth.”
Steve Largent, Conservation Team Coordinator, Grand Traverse Conservation District
National Park Service | US Forest Service| Michigan Department of Natural Resources | US Fish and Wildlife Service | Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy | Little Traverse Bay Conservancy | Leelanau Conservancy | HeadWaters Land Conservancy | Upper Manistee River Association | Bay Area Recycling for Charities | Grass River Natural Area | Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes | Inland Seas | Oryana Natural Foods Co-Op | Conservation Resource Alliance | Benzie Area Christian Neighbors | Grow Benzie | Goodwill | Watershed Center Grand Traverse | Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians | Reining Liberty Ranch | Peace Ranch | The Optimist Club | Antrim Conservation District |Benzie Conservation District | Grand Traverse Conservation District | Leelanau Conservation District | Newaygo Conservation District | Mason-Lake Conservation District | Wexford Conservation District | Bay Area Recycling for Charities | Fox Island Lighthouse Association | Emmet County Parks and Recreation | Newaygo County Parks & Recreation | Grand Traverse County Parks & Recreation | Leelanau County Parks & Recreation | Bingham Townhip Parks & Recreation | Traverse City Parks & Recreation | Ludington State Park | Mitchell State Park | Habitat for Humanity Wexford-Osceola | Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse | Cherryland Humane Society | Friends of the Jordan River | EarthWorks | HistoriCorps | Camp Petosega | Hiawatha National Forest | Huron-Manistee National Forest | Shiawassee National Wildlife Reserve | Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore | Keewenaw National Historic Park | Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
SOME OF OUR PROJECT PARTNERS
NATIONAL PROJECT OF THE YEAR
YouthWork Conservation Corps is one of four programs nationwide and the ONLY program in Michigan to be awarded the 2020 Project of the Year from The Corps Network in recognition of their unique partnership with Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District (TBAISD).
The Corps Network, the national association of Service and Conservation Corps, presents this prestigious award on an annual basis to Corps that have undertaken especially influential or innovative initiatives.
Want to learn more about becoming a member, referring youth to the program, or just have a general question about the program?
Amanda Elliott, YouthWork AmeriCorps Director, (231) 946-8975 ext. 1139
Want to hire YouthWork or partner on a project, invest in the program, or learn more about YouthWork’s capabilities?
Bill Watson, YouthWork Director,
(231) 946-8975 ext. 1143
OR, fill out the form to the right.