Education

YMCA seeking out millennials as volunteers

YMCA millennial volunteer Arianne Barnwell 17, left, a senior at Charlotte Catholic, helps third-grader Breanna Howey 8, right, with her reading at Reid Park Elementary on April 13, 2015.
YMCA millennial volunteer Arianne Barnwell 17, left, a senior at Charlotte Catholic, helps third-grader Breanna Howey 8, right, with her reading at Reid Park Elementary on April 13, 2015. rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

The millennial generation is in demand among Charlotte developers, restauranteurs and brewmasters. Now they’re also being asked to play a bigger role in giving back to the community.

The YMCA of Greater Charlotte is launching its first targeted push this week to recruit new volunteers from the millennial ranks, roughly defined as people born between 1980 and the late 90s.

The organization will be holding an interest meeting Thursday at Draught, a popular uptown sports bar. More than 100 people had R.S.V.P.’d for the event by Tuesday afternoon.

“We’re a really cause-driven generation,” said Blair Campbell, 29, director of communications and partnerships for Charlotte’s YMCA.

They’re hoping to fill additional spots for the summer Y Readers program, which helps students at 10 elementary schools across the county work on literacy skills.

Last summer, 17 percent of the 224 Y Readers volunteers were between the ages of 21 and 30. Another 19 percent were between 31 and 40. The YMCA is looking to bring in more than 300 volunteers this summer.

YMCA leaders are hoping the limited time commitment – the program is one hour per week for six weeks – will draw in a new class of volunteers who will then become regulars. The event has been promoted especially among millennials who are already members of the Y.

Andre Collins, 26, said he thinks his peers will naturally gravitate toward volunteering.

“As recent college graduates, we feel like we’ve ‘made it,’” said Collins, who volunteers with Y Readers at Reid Park Academy on Monday afternoons. “So it’s our turn to become mentors, because we were once mentees.”

Dunn: 704-358-5235;

Twitter: @andrew_dunn

Want to go?

The YMCA volunteer recruitment event is targeting millennials, but is open to all.

When: 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 16

Where: Draught, 601 S. Cedar St.

To RSVP: Use this EventBrite page

For more information: Visit this site or YMCAcharlotte.org/yreaders

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