Mission and History

Youth Service California workshops are lively, interactive and thought provoking. Participants rave about the value of receiving clear, practical information and the support of experienced service learning practitioners.

     - Cathy Berger Kaye, National Service Learning Consultant

Youth Service California’s (YSCal) mission is to make service a part of every young person’s life in California. It was founded on the belief that youth service positively impacts a young person’s academic and civic potential and strengthens the community. YSCal is committed to fostering the growth and effectiveness of youth service and service learning programs in California and provides information and other resources to policymakers, community-based organizations, press and educators.

YSCal began as a grass-roots effort founded by people who believed service could have a tremendous impact on the healthy development of young people. These forward-thinking "founders" formed a steering committee for youth service, bringing together key stakeholders in California to promote youth service and service learning.

For the first three years (1990 — 1993), the group operated out of a small office within the Constitutional Rights Foundation in Los Angeles and then at Stanford University, under Megan Swezey’s dynamic leadership.

In 1995, the group celebrated two major milestones: it incorporated as a 501(C)3 organization and hired an executive director. Under the leadership of a committed board of directors, YSCal continued to unite different groups throughout California, influence policy on youth service, and promote new innovations in service learning.

Almost 13 years later, YSCal is larger and stronger than ever! Not only has its affiliate membership tripled in three years (350+ members and growing), its board consists of youth service pioneers — including founding members of YSCal, its first executive director, and newer members -- who continue to lead the organization to greater heights and achievements.

Now based in Oakland, YSCal has six staff members and a new executive director, Debbie Genzer.





Youth Service California - 663 13th St. Oakland, CA 94612 - phone (510) 302-0550 - fax (510) 302-0551 - info@yscal.org