This article originally appeared at NNOMY.org.
One of the best things counter recruitment activists can do is to offer concrete career, life and education alternatives to what the military offers. People enlist for a variety of reasons such as: money for college, job training/skills, direction in life, discipline, to be part of a team, travel, to serve their country, to get out of trouble with the law, physical training, even citizenship. It is important to keep all of these in mind when talking to young people.
Also keep in mind that young people may have hidden motivations such as wanting simply to be more respected. Some may need to escape a difficult home environment or abusive relationship or deal with other problems in their life. Young people do not always share these deeper reasons for wanting to enlist, so listen closely. Stock answers about education and job opportunities may not be helpful in such a case, but they may help a young person to think of other ways to get out of a bad situation.
Also see our Alternatives by State Section by clicking on the Map Below to download a PDF Brochure by State.
Some non-military options for youth listed alphabetically:
Click on a link below to get you started
|AmeriCorps | AmeriCorps engages more than 80,000 Americans in intensive service each year at nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country. AmeriCorps programs do more than move communities forward; they serve their members by creating jobs.||City Year Corps | You can make a difference. In schools. In classrooms. In neighborhoods. City Year corps members serve full-time at one of 24 locations across the United States as tutors and mentors, running after-school programs and leading youth leadership programs.|
|Earth Corps environmental service is a uniquely effective way to build community. When people put their hands into the dirt together and see their efforts transform a threatened area into a more vibrant landscape, they forge a special bond, empowering themselves and their community.
||Global Peace Youth Corps is the youth arm of the international GPF movement. GPYC strives to positively impact the youth culture by bringing together young leaders of all faiths, cultures, nationalities, and interests under a common vision and universal principles.|
|Green Job Corps | CaliforniaVolunteers brings together a statewide network of local volunteer connector agencies and online volunteer connector tools to provide support and help recruit volunteers for our state’s nonprofits and public agencies.||National Conservation Corps are comprehensive youth development programs that provide their participants with job training, academic programming, leadership skills, and additional support through a strategy of service that improves communities and the environment.|
|Peace Corps is working in emerging and essential areas such as information technology and business development. Peace Corps Volunteers continue to help countless individuals who want to build a better life for themselves, their children, and their communities.||Public Allies advances new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits, and civic participation. Since 1992, we have been developing a new generation of diverse leaders and promoting innovative leadership practices that meet the demands of changing times.|
|ServiceNation | is working towards the day when a year in a national service program like AmeriCorps is a common expectation for Americans, and when national service is universally accepted as a strategy for putting people to work, tackling pressing social challenges and uniting Americans in common purpose.||Student Conservation Association is where tens of thousands of green professionals, from park superintendents to urban planners, can trace their start. This is where college and high school students connect with nature, render hands-on service, gain new skills and perspectives, and launch a lifetime of stewardship.|
|United We Serve Corporation for national and Community Service, President Obama’s nationwide service initiative. This initiative aims to both expand the impact of existing organizations by engaging new volunteers in their work and encourage volunteers to develop their own “do-it-yourself” projects.||Youth Conservation Corps | National parks are in disrepair. Historic buildings are crumbling, native species are losing the fight to invasive species, trails are disappearing. We need you! Get paid to accomplish needed conservation work on public lands.|
|Art activism, both directly within movements and in the surrounding culture, has been a key element of social protest. At this Link you can explore a list assembled of some general resources on the topic that give a sampling of the vast field and wide array of materials available online and in libraries. In addition to these resources, there are numerous sites and works of art activism cited in the various individual movement pages.||Cultural & Art Activism has emerged, mainly among urban youth, as a counter-cultural movement of the arts. Identifying itself with social movement themes, counter-militarism, racial and sexual discrimination for example, but focused on addressing these social problems through cultural expression, this type of activism has become a gathering community that did not historically identify with the mainstream arts or social movements.|
|A New Way Forward is a public platform and volunteer structural-reform thinking group to transform politics and the economy for the public good. We are dedicated to structural change in the political economy.||Communities for a Better Environment | Building community power to achieve environmental justice takes shared strategies and resources. Creating alliances to build a strong movement is our core strategy.
|Community Organizing attempts to bring together theory and practice, and academics and organizers, to advance the craft of community organizing. Wisconsin based.
||Grassroots Job Source/Orion Magazine operates a Grassroots Jobsource for those looking for emplyment opportunities out of the mainstream or want a green career.|
|International Youth Climate Movement | Youths involved in global climate change activism & the UNFCCC negotiation process use online media as their key communication and organisation tool.
||Non-profit work/Idealist.org | You know you want to do something good, but have no idea where or how to start. You have an idea for a project, but need some supporters before taking the leap.|
Open Space Institute is a Citizen Action Program has provided a home for a broad range of environmental projects started by concerned citizens who want to make their world a better place. New York State
|Outward Bound Adventures provide meaningful nature-based education that promotes positive self-development, environmental responsibility, and outdoor career exposure for urban youth.|
|Student Conservation Association (SCA) is America’s conservation corps. Our members protect and restore national parks, marine sanctuaries, cultural landmarks and community green spaces in all 50 states.||Teens 4 Good/Philadelphia is a youth-led entrepreneurial farm that transforms vacant lots into urban gardens/farms, access to healthy food for communities, creating meaningful jobs for at-risk youth.|
|The Los Angeles Community Garden Council operates 70 community gardens in Los Angles County, serving 3,900 families. Community gardens are vibrant, cooperative organizations that build neighborhood self-reliance.||The Youth Environmental Stewardship or “YES” Program was launched to develop a cadre of youth stewards and community based workforce to steward nature in resource challenged communities.|
|Internship.com search is the world’s largest internship marketplace bringing students, employers and higher education institutions together in one centralized location.
||Job training programs Search The Department of Labor’s ETA funds job training programs to improve the employment prospects of adults, youth, and dislocated workers.|
|Teens for Hire | If you are a teen 14 to 19 looking for a full-time, part-time, summer, seasonal, volunteer or vocational job, Join Now and create your membership profile.||On CareerOneStop you can search for jobs, explore careers. develop your resume and it is sponsored by the U. S. Department of Labor,Employment and Training Administration.|
|The Center for Green Schools support undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds in pursuing studies and careers in fields related to sustainability by offering their mentees networking opportunities and career building experiences.||The National Mentoring Partnership helps children by delivering resources to mentoring programs nationwide and promoting quality for mentoring through standards, cutting-edge research and state of the art tools.|
|Alternatives to the Military/AFSC/Documents/National “It’s My Life” (national guide to be used anywhere in the U.S.) details alternative options to military service that still satisfy a taste for adventure and commitment to high ideals.||Alternatives to Military Service/Michigan a military alternatives page that came out if MediaMouse.org that was a leftist blog and news website covering Grand Rapids, Michigan. No longer an active group.|
|Alternative Ways to Meet Your Goals Without Joining The Military a military alternatives page by the New York American Civil Liberties Union. Note: This page is in the process of being updated. Please excuse broken links.
Enlistment Alternatives – Very well researched links to military enlistment alternatives by Rogue Valley Peace Veterans of Oregon. Categories include:
Self Assesment, Apprenticeships, Start Your Own Business, International Volunteer Work/Internship Exchanges, & much more
|Safe Passage Network’s Alternatives to the Military – Before you consider enlistment, it is important to know of the other options available for you. Alternative Ways to Meet Your Goals Without Joining The Military||Non-military Opportunities/Project YANO/San Diego A military alternative document selection. All are formatted for printing and one document covers the issue of careers in social change.|
|Project Great Futures/Los Angeles works to provide Southern California youth with information about alternatives to military enlistment. We look for and promote programs and services which support, affirm, and encourage young people to fulfill their dreams.||Youth Activists – Youth Allies Alternatives Page/New York City Get A Life…Alternative Ways to Meet Your Goals Without Joining The Military. A page from the YAYA Network in New York City that focuses on youth activism and educational options for youth at risk.|
|Youth career alternatives: counter recruitment / Chico Peace & Justice Center is committed to helping young people find options beside the military for their future. For that reason our counter recruitment group has made this list of scholarships you can apply to online, as well as places you can find more.|
|union apprenticeship is an excellent career choice if you like to work with your hands; are willing to serve an apprenticeship for up to five years, depending on the trade you select.||Campaign for College Opportunity is to ensure that the next generation of California students has the chance to attend college and succeed in order to keep our workforce strong.
|CSUMentor is a website designed to help students and their families learn about the California State University (CSU) system. The CSU is comprised of 23 excellent campuses.||EdFund is the United States’ second largest provider of student loan guarantee services under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).|
|Families in Schools involve parents and communities in their children’s education to achieve lifelong student success.Families In Schools envisions a public education system where students have all the opportunities and resources necessary to succeed in school and in life.||Foundation for Second Chances, Inc
offers hands-on education, mentoring, health awareness and community service to maximize the potential of youth including a quality education, nutritious food and exercise, and a safe and nurturing environment.
|Public Service Careers The field of public service encompasses professionals in organizations that prevent and fight crime, prepare for emergencies, and respond to accidents and natural and human-caused disasters. In addition to promoting and ensuring the overall well being of the general public, public service careers are also known for step-by-step advancement and promotion opportunities, employment stability, and strong employee benefits.||Public Heath Careers Online The following guide leverages expert interviews, information and resources to better understand the various educational options needed to enter, advance and succeed in the field. Public health involves medical care provided within a community and outside a hospital setting. Public health can have global repercussions and refer to efforts to prevent epidemics and improve the health of entire nations.|
|College & Universities Search is an educational search site by the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, and the National Center for Education Statistics.
||Trade schools Search | The RWM Vocational School database provides a database of Private Postsecondary Vocational Schools in 50 states. It is organized first by state, then by Training Occupation.|
|College Affordability Guide | The goal of the CAG site is to provide information that will help prospective students find and complete degrees that might actually move their careers forward and with schools that provide the most affordable costs in achieving that degree.|
|Apply for Grants/U.S. Government Grants Application Site | Federal Student Aid, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the largest provider of student financial aid in the nation. At the office of Federal Student Aid, our 1,200 employees provide more than $150 billion in federal grants, loans, and work-study funds each year to more than 15 million students for college or career school.||Federal Government Pell Grant | A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. The maximum Pell grant for the 2011-12 award year (July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012) is $5,550.The amount depends on your financial need, costs to attend school, status as a full-time or part-time student, and plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.
|Federal Work Study Program | provides funds for part-time employment to help needy students to finance the costs of postsecondary education. Students can receive FWS funds at approximately 3,400 participating postsecondary institutions. Hourly wages must not be less than the federal minimum wage.||Start HERE|
|SallieMae College Answer Scholarship Search is the nation’s No. 1 financial services company specializing in education. Celebrating 40 years of making a difference, Sallie Mae continues to turn education dreams into reality for American families, today serving 25 million customers. With products and services including college savings plans,||Scholarships categorized by race and ethnicity|National database of scholarships with this section focusing on grants available to specific ethnicities. Additional information includes search by category. Also lists of student loan application sources, nursing training and funding resources and a top school list.|
|Scholarships for Average from every walk of life are available. Such scholarship opportunities for average students are changing the face of college campuses which are no longer reserved just for the straight-laced academic.
||Scholarships for First Generation Access to higher education is an important measure of progress, so families that are sending their first members to college are given special consideration in the form of First in Family Scholarships.
|Scholarship Search Secrets E Book (PDF)||Student Scholarship Search database is considered the largest and most comprehensive source for finding scholarships online and is 100% free for students to use.|
|Sports Search is an online sports and live events job match-making engine that connects 2.2 million applicants with the right jobs and 750+ employers with the right candidates, 93% of the time in the last year.
||Volunteer Coaching Sports Abroad | Through well-established relationships with local teams, clubs, and carefully structured sports placements, we are able to assist volunteers regardless of coaching experience.
|Appalachian Trail Conference, USA | Over 6000 volunteers contribute more than 200,000 hours each year keeping the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) available for all to use. Volunteers are active in all aspects of Trail work, from basic maintenance to major projects such as building bridges and shelters and building new sections of the A.T.||Conservation Volunteers, Australia and New Zealand recruits volunteers from Australia, New Zealand and around the world to join important environmental and wildlife conservation projects. If you’d like to make a difference, please join us. We’d love your help.|
|Help Exchange, Worldwide is an online listing of host organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers hostels and even sailing boats who invite volunteer helpers to stay with them short-term in exchange for food and accommodation.||Habitat for Humanity/U.S./International
Be part of the solution, volunteers mobilized by Habitat for Humanity have participated primarily in construction activities. Today volunteers, while always taking action related to the theme of housing, provide much more.
|Kibbutz Volunteer, Israel | Basically there are more jobs to do on a kibbutz than there are people to do them. You will not understand what a good time can be had unless you try it.||Peace Corps, Worldwide | Watch Peace Corps’ film short, Be a Volunteer, and learn about the unique experience and benefits of service. Be part of our mission to promote world peace and friendship.|
|Pueblo Inglés, Spain | We are always looking for professional, dedicated and above all enthusiastic individuals for different positions to work in a multicultural environment.||Trip Leader for HF Holidays, Europe |
Volunteer as a walking holiday leader and experience, enthusiasm and common love of the great outdoors for our walking holidays.
|Sea Turtle Conservancy | Experience sustainable travel with a splash of conservation by participating in STC’s Eco-Volunteer Adventure in Costa Rica. This fun and educational opportunity blends research with an exotic location to get you involved in protecting endangered sea turtles.
||Sea Turtle Restoration Project | To protect and restore endangered sea turtles and marine biodiversity worldwide in ways that incorporate the ecological needs of marine species and the economic needs of local communities, both of which share our common marine environment.
|StudyAbroad | Search our directory of study abroad programs, find scholarships, follow study abroad student bloggers or use our student guide to help you prepare for your study abroad adventure.||Sudan Volunteer Programme, Sudan
is a London based charity dedicated to sending graduates and under-graduates to Sudan to teach English at schools, colleges and Universities.
|The United Nations Volunteers (UNV), Worldwideprogramme is the UN organization that contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide.||WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms)link people who want to volunteer on organic farms to learn about organic lifestyles.|
|AVSO-Association of Voluntary Service Organizationsrepresents all civil society organisations that run local, national or international voluntary service projects at the European level.||California Volunteers is the state office that manages programs and initiatives aimed at increasing the number of Californians engaged in service and volunteering.
|Council on International Education Exchange | With the CIEE High School Abroad programs, U.S. high school students take classes with native students and live with a native host family, which will challenge you to push your own boundaries and immerse yourself in another language and culture.||EVS – the European Voluntary Service | This database contains information on all the organisations that are accredited for EVS. It also informs if the organisation offers possibilities for young people with fewer oppportunities.|
|Global Crossroads Since 2003, more than 10,000 world-travelers/volunteers have participated in Global Crossroad’s Volunteer Abroad, Mini-Ventures, Adventure Travel, Seasonal Escapes, and to Teach Abroad.||Global Volunteers | Travel That Feeds the Soul® Join a volunteer vacation abroad or a USA volunteer program for one to three weeks. Life-affirming service programs for families, groups and individuals.|
|Independent Volunteers website is a resource to connect travelers to groups involved in environmental / humanitarian projects.||Public Allies‘ mission is to advance new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation.
|United Nations Online Volunteer Program service connects volunteers with organizations working for sustainable human development. Volunteers contribute their skills online to help organizations address development challenges.
||United Nations Volunteers promotes volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide. Volunteerism can transform the pace and nature of development, and it benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer.|
|Volunteer Abroad – Cross-Cultural Solutions operates a volunteer programs around the world in partnership with sustainable community initiatives, bringing people together to work side-by-side while sharing perspectives and fostering cultural understanding.|
Youth Solidarity Organizations
|World Youth Alliance/United Nations is a global coalition of young people committed to promoting the dignity of the person and building solidarity among youth from developed and developing nations. We train young people to work at the regional and international levels to impact policy and culture. Through this lived experience of the dignity of the person, young people are able to affirm life at all levels of society.||Tear Down the Walls National Gathering in Tucson, AZ, Nov. 1-3 will bring multiple movements to strategize and network together on how to build a more unified, powerful movement for transformational change in the US. We are working to tear down: Wall Street, the US border and Israeli apartheid walls, prison walls, the Pentagon militarism walls, oppression by race, gender, ethnicity, and personal identity.|
You can research non-military options for youth in your area and create a brochure that describes each one and provides contact information as well. If you do, please forward the link to NNOMY at admin+at+nnomy+dot+org so we can refer to it when we develop a more expanded resource on Alternatives by region.
We also have compiled a collection that lists state-by-state what many opportunities are available complete with contact information. CLICK HERE to explore this resource.
Some other ideas include:
- Host job/career fairs
- Create and sustain scholarship funds for youth who are considering the military
- Create and/or support after school programs
- Ask local businesses and organizations if they are willing to support youth resisting the military by providing internships, job training, jobs, scholarships, mentorships, etc.
- Host college information sessions (bring college pamphlets, FAFSA forms, students, college reps, class schedules, applications, etc.)
- Host informational sessions on AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, City Year, etc.
- Lobby/petition your local government to increase financial aid, institute more job training programs, support job opportunities for young people, get a trade school
- Alternatives: Materials and Links
- Finding Alternatives (in development)
- Creating Alternative Materials (in development)
- Career Fairs (in development)
- For Guidance Counselors (in development)
- For Parents
- Building Allies (i.e. How To Engage Community Groups Fighting For More Alternatives) (in development)
- Find A Group