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Pathways to Change: Linking Service to Sustainable Change

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With volunteering by youth at an all-time high in the United States, it is important to examine the continuum of civic action to ensure that we are creating pathways that allow more volunteers to facilitate more sustainable community change.  We must recognize that each level of participation plays a valuable role in meeting needs in our society and that volunteers may be involved in multiple points along the continuum at the same time.  However, the hectic pace of life, lack of infrastructure to more fully engage volunteers and a skepticism of policy-making in the US and worldwide result in the vast majority of volunteers being involved only sporadically.  If we do not focus our energies on providing infrastructure support, training and networks to facilitate the involvement of the 90 million volunteers in other parts of the continuum of civic action, we risk resigning ourselves to clean the same dirty rivers and tutor in the same underfunded schools year after year.