From the Blog
The following has been shared with permission from Joe Follman, George Washington University
Dear Mr. Dionne:
Thanks for your April 14 editorial in the Washington Post (“As American as Apple Pie”), in support of national service programs. I directed national service programs for youth in Florida for nearly 20 years, and had the pleasure of working with the remarkable and capable Wendy Spencer.
I hope you will read the rest of this letter, because something was missing in your article. What was missing is also absent—tragically—in national service. In truth, we do not have national service, because almost 60 million Americans—our youth—are not eligible to participate in it as volunteers. You may not know that the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which oversees Senior Corps and AmeriCorps, was actually created through the efforts of Sens. Kennedy and Wofford for another purpose, to provide a mechanism for K-12 youth to use service as a means of improving learning, meeting community needs, and developing an ethic of service and citizenship.
The 25th Annual National Service-Learning Conference and 26th Global Youth Service Day has come and gone but the memories will last a lifetime.
250 youth and adults advocate during a MONUMENTAL Capitol Hill Day
Cassandra Lin awes attendees at the opening plenary session.
Last week marked the 25th Annual National Service-Learning Conference®, and the second Conference I have attended. If you were there (or just following along on Twitter), you heard a lot of great sound bites. “Youth are not the leaders of tomorrow; youth are the leaders of today.” “Young people aren’t just capable of changing the world. In fact, they’re the only ones that ever have.”
And every single person meant what they said. We in the field believe in service-learning because we know it as an effective strategy to develop youth leadership. The words spoken over the course of the Conference weren't lip service, they were a belief, and it served as a stark reminder to me that I was falling short. I work at the National Youth Leadership Council®, and yes, we are a youth-serving organization, but do I utilize youth as resources every day? No.
The energy, passion, and spirit of service that drives the National Service-Learning Conference® every year has officially landed in Washington, D.C. At the Washington Marriott Wardman Park, #MONUMENTAL14 is taking shape.
At the Exhibit Hall, volunteers from UPS packed MONUMENTAL Conference materials — including the 2014 Program Guide, which will detail everything attendees need to know from workshop hours, locations, and descriptions, to schedules and speakers at the Plenary Sessions, and an Exhibitor Listing, which will help attendees navigate the Hall and learn more about what each exhibitor is presenting.