The Rapides Foundation's Social Environment Initiative seeks to address social capital by supporting leadership and nonprofit development and increased community engagement. In Fall 2016, the My Civic Life program was launched.
My Civic Life is designed to achieve the following objectives:
- Provide linkages among students, schools and nonprofits for community service.
- Build leadership and 21st-century skills among high school students.
- Promote student achievement of Louisiana Department of Education Community Service Diploma Endorsement.
- Foster a commitment to being engaged in the community and make volunteerism a lifelong habit.
The program is comprised of three components:
- High school- and community-based service clubs use the Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC) model to facilitate service learning opportunities and increase soft skills.
- Leadership development opportunities.
- Online platform to connect youth with volunteer opportunities in their local communities.
To support the My Civic Life Program, The Rapides Foundation is accepting applications from nonprofits, municipalities and other community-based organizations to serve as host sites for the 2023 Youth Volunteer Summer Service Grant. Awards of up to $5,000 are available to organizations located within The Rapides Foundation's nine-parish service area. This grant opportunity is designed to provide participating partners with sufficient funds to implement the community service club component of the My Civic Life program and to integrate community service clubs into local summer programs.
YVC is a nationally recognized community service nonprofit, and The Rapides Foundation is the only YVC affiliate in Louisiana. The YVC model is designed to serve the needs of the community; to engage teams of youth in volunteer service projects that are challenging, rewarding and educational; to foster the development of 12st-century skills such as critical thinking, project planning, collaboration/teamwork and necessary soft skills; to promote a greater understanding of diversity in their community; and to inspire youth to a lifetime ethic of service. To date, more than 1,200 students in Central Louisiana high schools have completed over 18,000 community service hours through their local YVC Clubs.