Youth volunteerism increases 248% in eight cities

Volunteerism among Israeli children and teens is on the rise, according to statistics released Sunday by the City Youth Volunteers program. The numbers, released a day before International Volunteer Day, show a 248% increase in volunteering among youth in the eight cities first involved in the program, which include Dimona, Nazareth and towns near Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Nearly 15,000 youth now volunteer in those places, up from 4,600 before the program's creation three years ago. Funded by the Education Ministry, the Joint Distribution Committee and the Israeli Center for Youth Volunteerism, City Youth Volunteers was designed to encourage service work by young people "for themselves and for their communities," with volunteers expected to perform between two and 10 hours of service work each week.