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3rd Annual You Day Celebrates Youth Empowerment and Service in Spartanburg County

3rd Annual You Day Celebrates Youth Empowerment and Service in Spartanburg County

By Staff reports on April 19, 2024

More than 200 students from schools across Spartanburg County gathered at the T.K. Gregg Community Center for a day of inspiration, empowerment and community engagement. 

The 3rd annual You Day brought together students, adolescent health groups and youth empowerment organizations to celebrate youth achievements and equip students to serve others. 

The annual event is an initiative to celebrate middle and high school teens actively involved in positive youth development programming and service learning throughout Spartanburg County school districts and local community organizations. 

The City of Spartanburg Parks and Recreation, Spartanburg Academic Movement, United Way of the Piedmont and Connect Spartanburg collaborated to host the event. 

Connect Spartanburg, an adolescent health initiative at Spartanburg Regional Foundation, supports community organizations and schools that build upon adolescent-friendly services to implement evidence-based interventions and programs. 

With a theme centered around "Service is a Superpower," You Day aims to celebrate a year of commitment and service for the teens and their facilitators. 

City of Spartanburg Mayor Jerome Rice delivered enthusiastic remarks to the teens before Julie Rogers Bascom, director of learning and leadership at the National Youth Leadership Council, spoke about the vision and direction behind service learning. 

"Community service is an activity that engages people in addressing needs in their schools and community," Bascom said to the students. "You're taking action to solve community problems, to tackle issues."  

In addition to fun and engaging activities, much of You Day this year centered around service learning-based workshops for youth to engage organizations and receive encouragement.  

Youth also participated in a tree-planting demonstration led by Trees Upstate to promote stewardship. Each group received a native tree to plant at their school or community organization, fostering a sense of environmental responsibility. 

“To improve adolescent health, we have to build resiliency in our teens,” said Keith Hill, Grant Manager at Spartanburg Regional Foundation. “Service Learning is one of many strategies to build resilience.” 

Rebekah Briggs, 17, a Boiling Springs High School student, is a Connect ambassador and part of a team that helped organize and facilitate You Day. 

"We want to recognize teens for all their work," Rebekah said. "Especially as teens and kids, a lot of people don't focus on helping others, but I think it's essential at a young age to recognize the problems in your community and do the best you can to help." 

Collaborating community organizations that assisted with You Day activities were: 

  • USC Upstate  

  • Wofford 

  • My Brothers Keeper 

  • Ruths Gleanings 

  • Hub City Roots 

  • Yogaunme 

  • Spartanburg Period Project 

  • Boy Scouts 

  • Girl Scouts 

  • Uplift Outreach  

  • Project R.E.S.T 

  • Citizen Scholars 

  • United Way of the Piedmont Youth Philanthropy Board 

For more information on Connect Spartanburg, go to