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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

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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Announcing 2018 Service-Learning Award Winners

Posted By NYLC, Sunday, April 7, 2019

(This article was originally posted on January 29th, 2018 on

NYLC staff have been pouring over heartfelt stories of service-learning greatness in a quest to name the 2018 Service-Learning Award recipients. The stories of insight, persistence, listening closely to community members, and pulling together to address local and global needs make us feel that all the nominees are worthy of these awards — and more.

So, (drumroll) here are the 2018 award-winners. For her long-term commitment to pre-service teachers at Concordia College and her ability to involve all ages in addressing critical needs while integrating a plethora of academic skills, the Alec Dickson Servant Leader award goes to education professor Barb Witteman. Though Witteman says, “Change can begin with one person,” she clearly believes in involving far more.

Katrina Weimholt, Assistant Director of the Center for Civic Engagement, has had a similar long-term dedication to helping service-learning grow through civic engagement at Northwestern University, after founding the Civic Education Project more than 20 years ago. Colleague Simeon Bodsky of Johns Hopkins University says that her work illustrates that “intellectual rigor can and should underpin service as mutually reinforcing activities,” for which she will receive the Service-Learning Practitioner Award.

And, for their innovation and persistence in launching not only a new STEM curriculum, but also a training for teachers and teens with limited engineering experience, the Youth Leadership for Service-Learning Excellence Award goes to a group of students led by Cassandra Ivie and Hala Louvier from Entheos Academy in Kearns, Utah. Their curriculum features chemical, mechanical, civil, electrical and software engineering approaches and culminates in a project that uses these approaches to build an “incredible” Rube Goldberg-like machine.

NYLC would like to thank UPS for their support of the National Service-Learning Awards. Join us to hear more about their stories at Justice in Action, the 2018 National Service-Learning Conference March 11-13 in St. Paul, Minn.

Tags:  awards  Center for Civic Engagement  Concordia College  Entheos Academy  service-learning  UPS 

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NYLC Honors Young Leader with Evan Dalgaard Leadership Award

Posted By NYLC, Friday, March 22, 2019

(This article was originally posted on April 1st, 2015 on

At More Powerful Together, the 26th Annual National Service-Learning Conference®, the National Youth Leadership Council will be awarding the inaugural Evan Dalgaard Leadership Award, a recognition forged in the memory of former Youth Advisory Council Member Evan Dalgaard, who was tragically lost in a car crash in April of 2008. This award is given to young, passionate leaders committed to social justice and equality, endeavors Evan strove to address with spirit and integrity.

“Change the world one step at a time, but leave big footprints behind” is an idea that Evan devoted himself to. The Evan Dalgaard Leadership Award honors that devotion.

On Friday, April 10, at the Awards Luncheon and Plenary, Carolina Sosa will be presented the Evan Dalgaard Leadership Award. Carolina hails from Centreville, Virginia, and is a senior at Westfield High School. In an effort to address the educational inequity Carolina recognized within her community, she started her own Scholar Society, a mentoring program for low-income and minority students that supported their short- and long-term goals for college and beyond.

“Challenging myself to be a leader has not only blessed me with so many opportunities, but has changed myself for the better. I have committed myself to helping others find the joys of leadership. I am a servant-leader,” said Sosa.

NYLC is thrilled to present the Evan Dalgaard Leadership award to Carolina Sosa, along with all the other National Service-Learning Award Winners at #MPT15.

Tags:  awards  events  National Service-Learning Conference  National Youth Leadership Council  youth leadership 

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