Local nonprofit organization invites the public to 'show up for our community' | September 9, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - September 9, 2022

Local nonprofit organization invites the public to 'show up for our community'

Youth Community Service brings National Day of Service and Remembrance back to the region

by Emily Margaretten

As part of its mission to bring communities together, the nonprofit organization Youth Community Service (YCS) is poised to launch its second annual Mid-Peninsula National Day of Service and Remembrance on Sunday, Sept. 11.

The theme of this year's National Day of Service is "showing up for our community." The event includes 25 different types of service projects that support local organizations in areas related to the environment, education, health, hunger, housing, child welfare and senior services.

Meant to accommodate all ages and abilities, as well as comfort levels with the COVID-19 pandemic, YCS is offering in-person activities at 16 locations in Palo Alto and East Palo Alto and options for at-home service projects that will support organizations in San Jose and Sunnyvale.

YCS Executive Director Mora Oommen said the nonprofit expects between 400 and 500 volunteers to participate in this year's activities, on par with the approximately 400 volunteers who showed up last year. While registration is open to everyone, spaces at sites are limited because of availability of supplies and COVID-19 precautions.

The National Day of Service is an extension of YCS's commitment to bridge communities through youth service. Oommen described one of the service activities, an environmental conservation project at Cooley Landing in East Palo Alto, as particularly illustrative of the mission of YCS. Once a chemical plant that caused major pollutants in the area, Cooley Landing was transformed into an educational center, largely through the advocacy efforts of youth. The service project highlights this history as well as the ongoing contributions of youth in environmental justice projects.

The National Day of Service will culminate in a multifaith peace picnic at King Plaza in Palo Alto, an evening celebration that is focused on peace-building and community connection.

"It's reclaiming Sept. 11 as a day to bring the community together with a positive way of remembering those who served the nation and whose lives were lost," Oommen said.

On a smaller scale, the peace picnic and service activities are meant to bridge local divisions, something that Oommen finds particularly meaningful.

"What's really neat is that it brings our two communities together as well, between Palo Alto and East Palo Alto. Even though we're across a highway, we share a lot in common," she said.

The mayors of Palo Alto and East Palo also expressed their support for the Mid-Peninsula National Day of Service and Remembrance.

"I encourage everyone to help during the National Day of Service on Sept. 11 to make a difference in our local communities," East Palo Alto Mayor Ruben Abrica said in a statement from YCS. "Volunteering together with our family, friends, coworkers and neighbors is a wonderful way to build connectedness and belonging."

Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt similarly addressed the importance of service work, with a specific mention of the role that YCS plays in fostering intergenerational connections and youth empowerment.

"Palo Alto is proud to join communities across the country to commemorate Sept. 11 by bringing together intergenerational communities for a day of service. Our community partner YCS instills a culture of service in our youth empowering them to lead the changes they want to see in the world," he said.

Oommen agreed, noting that when youth volunteer, they can see the impact of their efforts and realize they make a difference in their communities.

"No act is too small," Oommen said.

Registration for the Sept. 11 service events and community celebration can be found on the Mid-Peninsula National Day of Service website at youthcommunityservice.org/national-day-of-service.

Email Editorial Intern Emily Margaretten at [email protected]


Posted by [email protected]
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 9, 2022 at 1:51 pm

[email protected] is a registered user.

I'm so grateful to Samina Sundas and American Muslim Voice for hosting the annual beautiful Multifaith Peace Picnic Sunday evening at 6:15, with the support of Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice. The public event at Palo Alto's City Hall King Plaza features inspiring children's and youth choirs from many faith traditions. Delicious boxed dinners will be served; please note the invitation to RSVP at the link provided in the news story. The twilight event ends in candlelight with deep feelings of peace and community. A vision of Dr. King's beloved community on King Plaza. Thank you.

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