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Volunteering with YEDA: Shaping the Future of the Next Generation

At YEDA, our mission is to empower the youth in our communities through mentorship and development programs. As the backbone of our organization, our volunteers serve as mentors, role models, and educators who nurture the potential of every youth they connect with through our programs and events.

Nestled in the heart of Chicago's southland, YEDA stands tall as a non-profit beacon, providing a platform for our volunteers to connect with the youth. Fueled by the unwavering dedication of our extraordinary volunteers enables us to not just exist, but flourish, nurturing the leaders of tomorrow within our youth today.

Volunteering at YEDA is more than a commitment; it's a journey of growth. As our volunteers pour their hearts into fostering the well-being of our youth, they find themselves enriched with wisdom and life-changing experiences.

This beautiful interplay of giving and receiving forms the crux of our YEDA community, shaping a unique, enriching experience for both our volunteers and youth.

The Impact of Volunteering with the Youth

When adults volunteer as mentors, they initiate a ripple effect of positive influence. These relationships, whether formal or informal, catalyze personal, academic, and professional growth. Mentors provide guidance, emotional support, and valuable life skills, contributing to the holistic development of the mentee.

One profound impact of volunteering as a youth mentor is on the socio-emotional and cognitive development of young people. Interactions with mentors help them navigate life transitions, cope with stress, and develop resilience. Additionally, mentors tend to instill confidence, competence, and a sense of caring, essential for positive youth development.

Academically, mentorship significantly influences young people's aspirations and achievements. Studies have shown that mentored youth are more likely to envision attending college compared to their non-mentored peers [1].

Mentoring relationships also provide a safe space for mentees to explore their identity, particularly when mentors and mentees come from diverse backgrounds [1]. Ultimately, mentoring fosters a sense of belonging and self-worth in young people. Feeling valued, heard, and understood empowers them, enhancing self-esteem and self-confidence [2].

In essence, adult volunteers who choose to mentor our youth significantly contribute to shaping the future generation. They help young individuals become confident, competent, and compassionate individuals [3].

YEDA Volunteers Make a Difference

YEDA volunteers have a transformative impact on the lives of the youth in our programs and beyond. By providing mentorship and support, our volunteers help young people realize their potential and pursue their dreams. They foster a sense of self-belief and ambition, empowering them to overcome challenges and achieve their goals – even if they don’t realize it until many years later.

Additionally, YEDA volunteers help our youth see the importance of having a positive attitude, solid values and giving 100% effort. Through their actions and words, volunteers model respect, empathy, and kindness, teaching the youth the importance of these values in personal and societal growth. They also help the youth cultivate a sense of social responsibility, encouraging them to give back to their communities through volunteer work as they get older.

And it doesn’t end with the child, the influence YEDA volunteers have extends beyond the individual level to the families, schools, and communities, creating a ripple effect of positive change. By empowering one youth, YEDA volunteers help uplift entire communities, reinforcing the importance and value of their work.

Personal Fulfillment: The Reward of Volunteering with YEDA

As with any volunteer service, is not just about serving the community and building up the youth, it’s also about the personal growth and rich experience of the volunteer as well.

Many volunteers find that giving their time and energy enriches their lives in ways they didn't anticipate from a sense of belonging and purpose to enhanced satisfaction and empathy.

Furthermore, volunteering provides a variety of new skills, both in the program they volunteer for (be it coaching, tutoring, as a chaperone, or other) as well as in the relationships they encounter. Because of the rich diversity in the youth enrolled, they gain a deeper understanding of social issues and develop a stronger sense of compassion.

Finally, the experience of volunteering with YEDA often leads to a heightened sense of gratitude and appreciation for one's life and privileges. It provides a unique perspective on life, fostering humility, and promoting personal growth.

In fact, here’s what one of our volunteers had to say about his experience,

“Honestly, I didn’t start out with the idea that I was volunteering to “mentor” the youth, I was simply filling in where I could in order to spend more time with my children while enrolled in the program. After just a few short weeks, I could see that my involvement meant far more to these kids than just being a coach on the sidelines. They grew to trust me, confide in me, and share stories about their day, which allowed me to offer up advice when I felt they needed it or when they downright asked for it. Even though it doesn’t seem like it’s a big deal at the time, I know the talks I have with these kids makes a huge impact. And the joy I get from walking down the aisle at the local grocery store and hearing a kid call out “Coach Dre” who remembered me from 5 years ago, is immeasurable.” - Andre Hogan, YEDA volunteer since 2019

The Future of YEDA

Looking ahead, YEDA is committed to expanding its reach and deepening its impact. The organization aims to serve more youth and engage more volunteers, fostering a larger and stronger community of change-makers. It also plans to enhance its programs and services, incorporating innovative approaches to youth development and empowerment.

At the heart of YEDA's future goals and objectives is its commitment to the youth. The organization is dedicated to providing young people with the guidance, support, and opportunities they need to thrive. It is through this unwavering commitment that YEDA looks to the future, driven by the belief that every young person deserves the chance to realize their potential and achieve their dreams.

If you are interested in volunteering with YEDA, please express your interest by emailing


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