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Teams Named to Project Ignition: Leading Change in Teen Driving Behavior

Posted By NYLC, Sunday, April 7, 2019

(This article was originally posted on October 26th, 2018 on nylc.org.)

Sixteen teams have been selected from throughout the United States as a leader in teen driver safety by Project Ignition— a service-learning teen driver safety program in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and coordinated by the National Youth Leadership Council®

Each team will receive a $1,000 grant to implement a safe driving program that engages their peers, family, and the larger community in safe driving practices like buckling up. Carmen Devita of Central Coast of California Camp Fireshares an important aspect of how Project Ignition works, “As one person, you can’t do much. If we all unite for a cause, we can do so much more.”

NYLC believes that youth leadership is a critical component to effectively changing teen driving behaviors and saving lives. “Students are in the best position to address issues of driver safety,” said Amy Meuers, NYLC CEO. “Through Project Ignition, these young people are saving the lives of their peers, their families, and their community members because they are in the best position to influence behaviors and decision-making at critical moments—especially before they operate a moving vehicle. We champion the leadership that youth have to make a positive impact on the world.”

In addition, two teams will receive funding to participate in the 30th Annual National Service-Learning Conference®, hosted by NYLC on April 15 – 16, 2019 in Philadelphia, P.A., where they will have the opportunity to showcase their work to other students, educators, and thought leaders in the education field. The sixteen 2018-2019 Project Ignition teams are:

  1. Making Dreams Come True, Valley of Rainbows, Waianae, Hawaii
  2. Success Academy, Bloomington, Minnesota
  3. Camp Fire Patuxent Area, Bowie, Maryland
  4. Gillespie High School, Gillespie, Illinois
  5. Scully Serves, Seattle, Washington
  6. Jackson Indepent School, Jackson, Kentucky
  7. Clifton Central High School, Clifton, Illinois
  8. Global Girls, Inc., Chicago Illinois
  9. Belton High School, Belton, Missouri
  10. Camp Fire Sunshine, Lakeland, Florida
  11. Ridgemont FFA , Mt. Victory, Ohio
  12. New Castle Area School District, New Castle, Pennsylvania
  13. Camp Fire Central Coast of California, Pismo Beach, California
  14. Camp fire C New Jersey, Trenton, New Jersey
  15. Clarksville High School, Clarksville, Tennessee
  16. District 191, Saint Paul, Minnesota

There is still time for your school or after-school organization to join us in taking action on Global Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being by tacking safe-driving behaviors in your community.  Learn more about Project Ignition and how your team can become part of Project Ignition Nation!

Tags:  featured  Global Goal 3  peer-to-peer education  safe driving  service-learning  teen driver safety  teen driver safety week 

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Service-Learning October Digest 2018

Posted By NYLC, Sunday, April 7, 2019

(This article was originally posted on October 10, 2018 on nylc.org.)

Fall is here and school is back in session. That means service-learning is off and running in classrooms and afterschool programs across the world. Check out some of the great happenings from the past month. Got a program you want to share? Send us an email at nylcweb@nylc.org!

Service Learning Day part of larger focus

On Sept. 18, Ellsworth High School had its annual “Day of Service” event in which students and staff are involved in various service learning activities around the community and in the middle school and elementary school classrooms. This has traditionally been a senior activity but was expanded to include all students this year.

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Service learning success

Sixth graders drop donation boxes around town

If you’ve been shopping in Big Sky this month, you may have noticed colorful donation receptacles popping up around town. If you haven’t, take a closer look—the donation containers were created by Ms. Kayte Cole’s sixth grade homeroom students as a way for them to learn about local nonprofits and the unique satisfaction that comes from giving back to the community.

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Teacher launches her ‘dream’ class where ninth grade students learn through service

This semester, the teacher behind the first service-learning, public high school class in North Carolina is launching a new course for ninth grade students.

Teaching lessons in the classroom and out in the broader world, service learning allows students to use academic knowledge and skills to fix a community problem.

“It’s been my dream to have this program for the last three years,” said Elizabeth Felts, the teacher and creator of the course at New Hanover High School in Wilmington. “To actually see our freshmen be so excited at 14, 15 years old about serving their community is pretty thrilling to me.”

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4-H Junior Homemakers kick off

The Bell County 4-H Junior Homemakers recently met to kick off the 2018-2019 club year. They enjoyed a painting lesson with FCS Agent Rebecca Miller and learned the 4-H Pledge and all about being a 4-H Club member with 4-H Agent Brandy Calvert. Guest Speaker John Day discussed service-learning opportunities with Community Care Outreach Ministries (CCOM). The 4-Hers plan to take his advice “if you see a need, fill a need.” They will complete two service projects this year.

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Tags:  4-H  day of service  service-learning  youth development 

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Cultural Immersion: A Reflection

Posted By NYLC, Sunday, April 7, 2019

(This article was originally posted on October 1st, 2018 on nylc.org.)

It’s 4:30am,

I feel so alive that I don’t feel tired anymore,

All I hear is birds chirping,

The cool breeze hits my body and sends chills through my veins,

Goosebumps make the hairs on my arm stand tall,

I prostrate to my lord,

Crying,

Prostrating longer than I’m supposed to,

This moment does not feel real,

This mosque is heaven on earth and I don’t want to leave…

Every day for the rest of my life can be spent in …

…. Turkey,

A place where you can feel the love and peace in the air,

A place where the water current is never stationary,

80 million people with smiles on their faces,

Welcoming all people from different nationalities and races,

A place your taste buds have never tasted,

Where the love is Cherished and never wasted,

The call for prayer is loud and clear,

music to my soul.

First off, I want to thank everyone that made this trip possible for me and for the youth that joined. I am forever thankful to the good-hearted people that took the time, effort and money to put this into play. I would have never known about the other side of the globe that was so beautiful and worth every second of my time if it wasn’t for this trip. It has really empowered me as a Muslim American and I had a great time and the people that came with me knew I had a great time. I tried to soak in as much knowledge as possible and enjoy my time as much as possible too. I really do believe that trips like this with youth can improve relations between Turkey and the United States. You won’t find anything but love in Turkey and I say that because people there will go out of their way to have a conversation with you or even help you out when they do not know you.

Before I went on this trip I studied a bit about Turkey’s economics, its culture, and their way of life.  I found it quite intriguing but reading about a country is not the same as visiting. I was mind blown about their culture and how similar it was to Middle Eastern cultures I was familiar with, I am Palestinian.  I experienced many different artifacts and I loved how the Turks preserved their rich and valuable history. With everything going on in the world right now and the fact that their dollar is being attacked by neighboring Muslim countries, they still remain calm and find a lot of hope in building a Muslim nation in a secular country. I can tell the people of Turkey love their history because throughout every conversation I had with a Turkmen they made sure to stir in some history into the conversation. They name their children after sultans, and influential Islamic leaders that shaped Turkey.

I got the chance to visit many mosques that empowered me as a Muslim adult. To see how vast and big these mosques were and how there were so many of them everywhere really inspired me. Many sultans and powerful Islamic leaders lived, prayed, and taught in these lands and for that reason, as a Muslim American, I feel the need to carry the responsibility of Islam on my shoulders. These sultans and leaders had the power and authority to build huge mosques with four to six minarets shows me how very powerful and influential they were in their times. Something you would not see in the United States.


I believe that by coming on this trip and seeing, feeling, and hearing everything that I did was a great accomplishment. I had the opportunity to experience many things students my age have not experienced. I was able to do things they could not imagine, like praying in huge and beautiful mosques. These mosques had calligraphy from the Ottoman times on their ceilings and walls, it was so powerful. I was able to eat delicious food and really dive into Muslim and Turkish culture.

This trip has shaped my plans for the future. I am currently a business student at Century College, studying International Trade, specifically import and export. This trip has given me new insights on where I can start my career and what countries I could be dealing with in the trade industry. I learned things like what I can and can’t bring to America, what’s profitable and what’s not, and what can help both economies because that’s what trade is for. I definitely believe the trip has opened more doors for me, it was a great learning experience for both my career and my life.

This trip has inspired me to become an active Muslim and has strengthened my faith. I learned that throughout all the secularism that you’re around you should still be the person you want to be.  I want to be the Muslim and I want to be proud of who I am. I want to always strive to be the best person I can be and not worry so much about others’ opinions.  I need to just do the right thing. To take on this weight and knowledge as I return to Minnesota is my responsibility. I hope I can grab the attention of the Muslim community as this is also my responsibility. We Muslims need to unite and help each other hand in hand to raise awareness of who we really are and what it means to be a Muslim. We might have our careers, jobs, and life pressures but must also pay attention to how we use our resources, knowledge and careers to strengthen our community.

Tags:  events  reflection  youth leadership 

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Reflections on Justice in Action

Posted By NYLC, Sunday, April 7, 2019

(This article was originally posted on April 16th, 2018 on nylc.org.)

by Ananya Singh, NYLC Youth Advisory Council Member

I’ve been involved with NYLC by serving on their Youth Advisory Council (YAC), a team of servant leaders (pictured above) from across the country that advises NYLC on its programming and brings valuable youth perspectives to the organization’s work.

Over the past two years, I’ve gotten so many incredible opportunities through NYLC, including: 

  • co-developing and co-facilitating educator trainings
  • working on a marketing + outreach committee
  • being on staff at the national youth leadership training

  • Most recently, I attended the 26th annual National Service-Learning Conference, JUSTICE IN ACTION, hosted by NYLC in St. Paul, Minnesota. I was highly involved in many different aspects of it. I am so excited to share my reflections on this amazing experience.

    Educator Institute

     Before the actual conference, I got to spend two days with a group of teachers and administrators, co-facilitating a training about service-learning with NYLC staff. I got to share my perspectives as a young person, and I learned so much about what it takes to be a teacher, and how much goes into the planning!


    It was hard (but rewarding!) work, for both the attendees and the facilitators. It was cool to see how everyone planned to bring high quality service-learning into their own schools and class- rooms.

    The group included educators from California, Alaska, and even the U.K. There were so many awesome conversations and new connections being made! It was so cool to be there!

    Plenary Speech

     Definitely one of my highlights of the conference was that I got the chance to speak on the plenary stage, in front of the everyone. It was certainly nerve wracking, but I actually enjoyed it! I talked about my experience with education, what education equity means to me, and my vision for a world with education. I spent so much time in the previous month fleshing out all the different ideas and possibilities, but I was making edits and revising up until the day before! I decided to mostly speak from the heart, but I kept up with the general structure I had planned. I felt really good after I finally finished, and I received so many amazing responses from everyone afterwards, it was amazing! I’m really glad that I took the opportunity, and I hope my public speaking will only get better from here!

    Youth Room

    Another role I took on at the conference was being the chair of the Youth Room committee, which meant I got to coordinate a speed-networking event and a dance party. We went with a jungle theme, and I picked out some decorations and (in my opinion) some great food options, including a pretty sweet candy bar and some healthy options! We also got our hands on a giant Connect Four, and giant Jenga, which were awesome. It was so fun to just bring people together and have a good time with my fellow YAC members. It was also great experience with event planning, and I learned more about decision making, delegating, and reaching out for help when I needed it.

    Day of Service

    Something that makes the National Service-Learning really special is that after the workshops and sessions are over, we have a day of service to go into the community and bring our discussions about service into action! My site for the day of service was the Twin Cities YMCA Equity Innovation Lab. It’s a newly designed center and we got to tour around and see the building. It was so well designed, from the architecture to the workspace layouts, to the furniture choice. I got the chance to really get into conversations with people as we worked on our service project, which was writing cards for the YMCA’s international partners. We learned all about how the YMCA actually has very different perceptions across the world; it’s not necessarily the gym and swim centers that we think about. It’s hostels and community support, and so many different things! Making the cards was perfectly up my alley, but I think the most important part of the day of service was the new friends and getting inspiration from the space!

    In Summary

    I got to do even more, over the course of the whole conference. I presented a workshop with tips to get involved in your community with politics, which went well! I helped staff the registration desk and talked to lots of new people from across the world, even from Singapore and Taiwan! I had conversations with different sponsors and exhibitors and was thoroughly impressed by how many great things are going on in the service field!

    I attended several workshops and sessions and got lots of new ideas about service-learning and education. One of my absolute favorites was the Gathering of Elders, which was a two-hour session where elders shared wisdom they had gathered through their experiences with life. Their stories were so raw and authentic and impactful, yet still uplifting. I also heard some really awesome speeches during the plenary stage sessions.

    Some of the best moments were also just hanging out with the rest of the YAC, and there’s always so much I learn from spending time with them! We got to see downtown St. Paul, which was a nice area set right by the Mississippi River.

    Overall, it was a crazy, busy, exhausting week, but an extremely inspiring, truly awesome experience that I am so grateful for!

    Tags:  community action  day of service  educator institute  justice in action  service-learning 

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    Talking Turkey

    Posted By NYLC, Sunday, April 7, 2019

    (This article was originally posted on April 4th, 2018 on nylc.org.)

    By: Amy Meuers, NYLC CEO

    I had the honor to speak at the Japanese Conference on Philanthropic Education on Saturday, March 17 at Komazawa University, Tokyo. Japan has placed great emphasis on peace education ever since WWII including the incorporation of it in their 9th grade civics classes and in their constitution under Article 9. My participation in the conference was to share how service-learning is a way for students to be active participants in their own education. My desire was to show that when students discover the positive impact they can have in the world – that is when the real learning occurs.

    At NYLC, we envision a world where all young people become civically informed and engaged global citizens by participating in service-learning as part of their educational experience. We work with educators (both in the classroom or after school), students, community leaders, and businesses to incorporate peace, justice, and sustainability into the fabric of all education systems by asking students to be of service to their community as part of their educational experience –to learn, lead, and grow through service-learning.

    Successful service-learning projects are tied to specific learning objectives, and many of the best are tied to numerous areas of study. For example, when seventh- and eighth-graders studied the historical significance of a local river, they developed projects to build nature trails, tested water samples, documented contamination of the local habitat, and restored historical sites. Their teachers connected those activities to studies in earth science, mathematics, language arts, physical education, music, visual arts, and social studies. These connections not only deepened the impact projects had on learning, but also provided the young people with a broader understanding of how different subjects are interrelated. Service-learning helps students make connections to learning outside the classroom. It is hands-on learning but most importantly, it connects to community and empowers each student to lead change.

    The 20th century educator, John Dewey is the founding father of service-learning. It is based on his central tenets of experience and democracy. He wanted to see students experience education. He said, “When the school introduces and trains each child of society into membership within such a little community, saturating him with the spirit of service, and providing him with instruments of effective self-direction, we shall have the deepest and best guarantee of a larger society which is worthy, lovely and harmonious.” Dewey wasn’t the only educator who felt this way. Progressive activist Jane Addams, Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, and Mahatma Gandhi all envisioned education rooted in community and democratic principles.

     It (education) “either functions as an instrument that is used to facilitate the integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes ‘the practice of freedom,’ the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” -Paulo Freire

    Transforming the world –powerful stuff. Service-learning encourages students to not only dream of a better future but to create it. It is democracy in action.

    As an organization, NYLC has been a champion, a resource, and a contributor to the field of service-learning whether in the United States or in countries around the world. We see ALL young people as active contributors to society, and schools a place where students can act as resources, be active in the learning process, not passive. A place where they produce or contribute to the world, not just a place where they consume. We want all young people to see themselves as someone who can give, lead, and learn. We know that all young people, no matter their background, their abilities, can be leaders through service-learning. It was an honor to bring the tenants of service-learning to Japan and share the tools and resources that have been developed with the educators and students who are passionate about creating a better world for us all.

    Tags:  Japan  service-learning  youth development  youth leadership 

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    Service-Learning in Japan

    Posted By NYLC, Sunday, April 7, 2019

    (This article was originally posted on April 4th, 2018 on nylc.org.)

    By: Amy Meuers, NYLC CEO

    I had the honor to speak at the Japanese Conference on Philanthropic Education on Saturday, March 17 at Komazawa University, Tokyo. Japan has placed great emphasis on peace education ever since WWII including the incorporation of it in their 9th grade civics classes and in their constitution under Article 9. My participation in the conference was to share how service-learning is a way for students to be active participants in their own education. My desire was to show that when students discover the positive impact they can have in the world – that is when the real learning occurs.

    At NYLC, we envision a world where all young people become civically informed and engaged global citizens by participating in service-learning as part of their educational experience. We work with educators (both in the classroom or after school), students, community leaders, and businesses to incorporate peace, justice, and sustainability into the fabric of all education systems by asking students to be of service to their community as part of their educational experience –to learn, lead, and grow through service-learning.

    Successful service-learning projects are tied to specific learning objectives, and many of the best are tied to numerous areas of study. For example, when seventh- and eighth-graders studied the historical significance of a local river, they developed projects to build nature trails, tested water samples, documented contamination of the local habitat, and restored historical sites. Their teachers connected those activities to studies in earth science, mathematics, language arts, physical education, music, visual arts, and social studies. These connections not only deepened the impact projects had on learning, but also provided the young people with a broader understanding of how different subjects are interrelated. Service-learning helps students make connections to learning outside the classroom. It is hands-on learning but most importantly, it connects to community and empowers each student to lead change.

    The 20th century educator, John Dewey is the founding father of service-learning. It is based on his central tenets of experience and democracy. He wanted to see students experience education. He said, “When the school introduces and trains each child of society into membership within such a little community, saturating him with the spirit of service, and providing him with instruments of effective self-direction, we shall have the deepest and best guarantee of a larger society which is worthy, lovely and harmonious.” Dewey wasn’t the only educator who felt this way. Progressive activist Jane Addams, Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, and Mahatma Gandhi all envisioned education rooted in community and democratic principles.

     It (education) “either functions as an instrument that is used to facilitate the integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes ‘the practice of freedom,’ the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” -Paulo Freire

    Transforming the world –powerful stuff. Service-learning encourages students to not only dream of a better future but to create it. It is democracy in action.

    As an organization, NYLC has been a champion, a resource, and a contributor to the field of service-learning whether in the United States or in countries around the world. We see ALL young people as active contributors to society, and schools a place where students can act as resources, be active in the learning process, not passive. A place where they produce or contribute to the world, not just a place where they consume. We want all young people to see themselves as someone who can give, lead, and learn. We know that all young people, no matter their background, their abilities, can be leaders through service-learning. It was an honor to bring the tenants of service-learning to Japan and share the tools and resources that have been developed with the educators and students who are passionate about creating a better world for us all.

    Tags:  Japan  service-learning  youth development  youth leadership 

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    Justice in Action Hits the Streets

    Posted By NYLC, Sunday, April 7, 2019

    (This article was originally posted on March 29, 2018 on nylc.org.)

    Thanks to all of you who joined us in balmy St. Paul for the 29th Annual National Service-Learning Conference March 11-13! We’ve been awash in reflections as we hear the news you’re making putting justice into action, planning for change, advocating — in short, making history.

    Thanks both to participants and to the amazing volunteers, partners, and sponsors who supported #SLC18. You all make this possible!

    More than 500 people of all ages and geographies gathered to share stories, scheme, and learn the latest. The conference was a packed three days of powerful speakers, innovative sessions, and meaningful service — kick-started by a two-day Educators’ Institute at the nearby Science Museum.

    So, let’s reflect.

    Day 1 (Sun.) We have yet to hear of one daylight savings time mishap, despite the conference beginning on Sunday, concurrent with the time change. Service-learners are prepared! New to the conference this year were sessions first, plenary midday.

    At the plenary, youth in action took center stage, with 13-year-old Caleb Chung of Colorado explaining the inspiration behind his marathons to raise funding for access to potable water; Merrit Jones urging us to “amplify, accelerate, and aggregate” the impact of our work; Nicodemus Madehdou explaining his innovative tech start-up JumpButton Studio that has a public purpose; and ever-young Barry Guillot — a teacher from New Orleans — describing the latest chapter of his Wetlands Watchers Park. All this, capped off by a youth panel with moderators Ricky Yoo, a member of NTLC’s Youth Advisory Council and NYLC’s Professional Development Director Elizabeth Koenig.


    More sessions followed, featuring a Gathering of Elders with McClellan Hall of the National Indian Youth Leadership Project moderating, and including educators Josie Johnson, Daniel Abebe, Jim Kielsmeier, Abdisalam Adams, Rose Chu, and Ramon Pastrono sharing their wisdom teachings.


    Day 2 (Mon.) By the second day, workshop sessions were in full swing, including panel discussions that featured peace-building and social and emotional learning’s role in service-learning.




    We feasted midday while celebrating the 2018 Service-Learning Award-Winners: Alec Dickson award-winner professor Barb Witteman; an illustrious crowd of young people from Utah who developed a STEM curriculum called “The Incredible Machine”; Katrina Weimholt of Northwestern University’s Center for Civic Engagement; and Nan Peterson of the Blake School.




    Day 3 (Tues.) Fresh off the dance floor of the Youth Room Mon., evening, participants boarded buses for the Day of Service, heading out to the YMCA’s new Equity Innovation Center, the Arc Minnesota sites that support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families; and the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Education and Visitor Center. Service-learners discovered, sorted, labeled, photographed, and created across the metro area, linking their actions and contributions to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.




    Here’s to 2030, when we aim to have conquered all 17 goal areas!

    That was so much fun, let’s do it again next year!

    Save April 10-13, 2019
    for the 30th Annual National Service-Learning Conference
    in Washington, D.C.
    (We promise real spring there!)

    Tags:  awards  civic engagement  elders  service-learning  Sustainable Development Goals  youth leadership 

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    Service-Learning March Digest 2018

    Posted By NYLC, Sunday, April 7, 2019

    (This article was originally posted on March 27th, 2018 on nylc.org.)

    Thanks to all of you who joined us in St. Paul March 11-13 for the “Justice in Action” National Service-Learning Conference! We have been buzzing since, with news about all the ways you are making impacts in your communities — most recently with March for Our Lives. Check out a conference participant’s experiences in the local march in St. Paul. We are excited to work with you on connecting these actions to ongoing advocacy.

    Meanwhile, in news from around the country:

    • The April 15 deadline for the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes award of $10,000 is looming! The prize celebrates “inspiring, public-spirited young people from diverse backgrounds all across North America.” Each year, the recognition goes to 25 inspiring young people, ages 8-18, who have “made a significant positive difference to people and the environment.”
    • Global Youth Service Day is just around the corner, April 20-22! Our partners at Youth Service America are documenting service-learning experiences around the globe, linking actions to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Register your project to see your own role in affecting change!
    • Our friends in North Carolina are sponsoring a series of service-learning “UN-conferences” in mid-April. As they describe the event, “An unconference is a conference without predefined topics. The theme will be service-learning, but actual topics will be generated during the conference. This format creates space for peer-to-peer learning, collaboration and creativity.” Join them April 16 in Asheville; April 17 in Raleigh; and April 18 in Wilmington.
    • In Ionia, Michigan, the Ionia County Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee is awarding grants to organizations that benefit young people in the region. Their YAC is composed of high school students, and every two years, they conduct a needs assessment to identify funding priorities. Successful grantees utilize “service-learning” to address teen driver safety; academic motivation; the achievement gap; substance abuse; depression; literacy; bullying; and/or hunger. The maximum award available per grant is $1,000.
    • In New Jersey, Partners for Health “fosters collaboration among nonprofits so that together they can increase positive health outcomes in the communities they serve.” In a significant collaborative effort last year, Montclair Community Farms distributed 1,200 pounds of affordable produce to local residents with lower and fixed incomes. They engaged more than 500 participants in service-learning projects, and provided educational experiences to 350 children, while addressing community food access goals by launching a greenhouse program.
    • Finally, check out this great article ““What Service-Learning and Global Goals Taught Us About Promoting the Greater Good” about the impact of last year’s National Service-Learning Conference on Bettie Weaver Elementary School in Chesterfield, Va. Connections to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are reinvigorating their commitment to project-based and personalized service-learning. As authors Lara Ivey and Lindsay Mottley say, this commitment promises to bring their school “from good to great, and from compliant to engaged.”

    Tags:  civic engagement  funding  grants  march for our lives  monthly digest  service-learning  Sustainable Development Goals 

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    Service-Learning and Protest

    Posted By NYLC, Sunday, April 7, 2019

    (This article was originally posted on March 23th, 2018 on nylc.org.)

    by Maddy Wegner, NYLC Director of Engagement

    Are you prepared (the “P” in service-learning’s IPARD cycle) to March for Our Lives tomorrow Sat., March 24 — to put some justice into action?

    At NYLC, we have been in a post-conference reflection zone, thinking back to the inspirations of March 11-13, when many of you gathered at the National Service-Learning Conference in St. Paul, Minn. As keynoter Merritt Jones, the Executive Director of Student Voice said, now is the time to “amplify, aggregate, and accelerate!”

    We know that many of you were returning to school walk-outs the day after the conference (Mar. 14), and are now preparing for the march on Saturday, in Washington, D.C. and sister cities around the globe.

    This seminal moment in American history is a perfect time to apply what you know as service-learners. Let’s see how the IPARD cycle fits.

    • “I”: Investigate the issue – The march itself can be an opportunity to more deeply investigate how gun control and school safety issues are framed in your own communities. Are students ready to survey participants in the march? Could they document the signage? Maybe they want to interview marchers about their  next steps, and create a podcast? They might also want to read the recent coverage of the Parkland shooting in Time and/or New York Magazine, or investigate one of many movements initiated by young people. Check out this five-minute video on the 1963 Children’s March for civil rights in Birmingham, Alabama, for example.
    • “P” Plan next steps, based on what students have learned in the investigation phase. NYLC offers an action plan that helps this stage of learning. As the Parkland students planned, they even reflected (an ongoing part of the service-learning process) on what words to use as they deal with the media.
    • “A” – This is where action can and should be determined by the students themselves. The Parkland students, for example, developed a five-part agenda: 1) Congress should lift funding limits on CDC research into gun violence; 2) records of gun sales should be digitized, so they can be better tracked; 3) universal background checks should be enacted; 4) the sale of high-capacity magazines should be limited; 5) as should the sale of all assault weapons. Any one of these issues could be the basis for ongoing advocacy.
    • “R” – Reflect, using the “What? So what? Now what?” questions to spark thinking. This allows you to discuss how actions of substance, which result in change, aren’t one-time events. They require sustained attention, and ongoing refinements to initial actions.
    • “D” Demonstrate what has been learned. Students can upload their actions to the Student Voice Network national map to start to see the aggregated impact of related actions across the country.

    As NYLC’s founder Jim Kielsmeier reminds us, while the Parkland students are powerful in their ability to inspire others, “They are not unusual.” The legions of service-learners ready to put justice into action attest to that.

    Let us hear how you and your students mobilize this weekend! We are with you!

    Tags:  civic action  civic engagement  march for our lives  service-learning  student protest 

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    Students Take the Lead Where Adults Have Failed

    Posted By NYLC, Sunday, April 7, 2019

    (This article was originally posted on February 19th, 2018 on nylc.org.)

    by Amy Meuers, NYLC CEO

    The horrific events of last week in Parkland, Florida have inspired young people across the nation to stand up and take action on gun violence in their schools. On President’s Day, young people lay like corpses outside the White House to demonstrate how quickly a shooter can take a life and thousands more plan to walk out on March 24 for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. across every time zone to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.

    Young people across our nation are standing together to address an issue that adults have swept under the rug for years — gun control. They have found their voice, their passion, and are taking action and we adults – educators, parents, administrators, politicians – must come together to not only listen, but to act. According to Everytown, so far in 2018 there have been seven firearm attacks in schools across America and there have been 18 school shootings – discharge of a firearm during school hours. No matter how you cut the numbers, our schools are not safe.

    The National Youth Leadership Council was founded on the mission to create a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world with young people, their schools, and their communities through service-learning. We believe in the power of young people and support them in taking action on issues that affect them and the world. We recognize youth as partners in decision-making. When given the opportunity to lead, youth understand their rights and obligation to act in the benefit of the public good. From young people who are affected by issues, to adult allies who work with them, we actively build shared leadership that creates space for each person to take ownership and affect change.

    We stand with the students of Parkland and those across the nation who have decided enough is enough. Our students deserve a safe place to learn, grow, and lead. The time to act is now.

    (photo by Lori Shaull, http://bit.ly/2sNYQiD)The demonstration was organized by Teens For Gun Reform, an organization created by students in the Washington D.C. area, in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

    Tags:  youth leadership  youth voice 

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