CANTON, OH (July 19, 2011) – The Canton Jaycees, a service organization that provides volunteer opportunities for young people, has announced the disbanding of their organization. This decision stems from a reduction in membership over the past few years. In an effort to engage more young people to do more good in the community, the past members of the Canton Jaycees will now collaborate with ystark!, Stark County’s young professional initiative, in order to bring service opportunities to 1,600 ystark! members. “This is a win-win. By joining forces, we are now able to offer exciting service opportunities to our members, and more young professionals will now be actively volunteering in Stark County,” said ystark! director Aimee Belden. “With the expertise and leadership that the past members of the Canton Jaycees bring to the table, we will be able to help even more people in our community through a wide variety of projects.” Together, ystark! and the past members of the Canton Jaycees will focus on local volunteerism efforts. They will coordinate an annual backpack donation drive and have already worked this year to establish a community garden for use by clients at the Alliance for Children and Families along with a homeless shelter in Alliance. The group will also be participating in the United Way Day of Caring.

“This new collaboration with ystark! is a natural partnership as both of our groups were reaching out to the same demographic in different ways,” explained Derek Gordon, former president of the Canton Jaycees. “As disappointing as it was to see the Jaycees’ legacy come to an end, this new partnership is really a vehicle for us to expand our mission of helping the community and helping others. ystark! offers the past members of our organization a greater pool of resources and we are able to offer ystark! a proven method for engaging young people in serving their community.” The final Canton Jaycees Distinguished Service Award will also be given out later this summer during a special event on Aug. 31. “There is no doubt of the incredible influence the Canton Jaycees and its members have had on our Stark County community over the past 75 years,” commented Gordon. “I’m confident that under this new affiliation, young professionals in Stark County will continue to make an even greater positive impact on those in need.” To learn more about ystark! and to join for free, visit More information about service and volunteerism opportunities will be announced soon. About the Canton Jaycees Started as part of a national organization for young community and business leaders, the Canton Junior Chamber of Commerce was organized in 1934. Among its accomplishments, the Canton Jaycees can be credited with a local war bond drive during World War II, helping lead the construction for City Hall in 1957, establishing the original Canton Palace Theatre Association in 1979 and even helping to organize and run the fundraising committee to refurbish Fawcett Stadium in 1981. About ystark! ystark!, a department of the Canton Regional Chamber, works to attract, retain and engage young professionals in Stark County. Founded in 2007, ystark! strives to be the collective voice of involved young professionals, and works to enhance how YPs live, work and play.