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Reflecting on 2017

Posted By NYLC, Sunday, April 7, 2019

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

2017 was a year filled with contention in our government, communities, streets, and schools. We saw mass destruction when three monster hurricanes ravaged Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands within a four-week span and when a lone shooter rained gunfire down upon concert-goers in Las Vegas, Nevada.

2017 was also a year that inspired action and global change. The #MeToo movement encouraged people everywhere to stand up against harassment and injustice, while students across the nation protested everything from race to the President’s decision on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. It was a year when many young people found their voices and the courage to stand up for something they believed in. It was a year when people, both young and old, worked side-by-side to make positive contributions to the world.

At NYLC in 2017, we strove to meet our mission by growing our programs and services that develop young people as civically informed and engaged global citizens. Over the course of the year, we provided support to 15,600 people directly, impacting an estimated 550,000 youth indirectly, reaching an audience of more than three million people across the country and around the world.

Over the course of the year, we worked to instill the skills and knowledge needed so that all young people can make positive contributions to their communities and to the world. We trained teachers and out-of-school time practitioners on how to engage differently with young people, and we trained young people to be active change-makers in their communities. Our Youth Advisory Council directly engaged more than 71,000 young people through Youth4Education, a program that inspires young people to take action on issues of education equity.

We know that doing what is right is not always easy, but it is what is needed. Service-learning is not easy, but when implemented with quality it provides students with the opportunity to develop their moral character and a life-long commitment to serve. It connects communities to classrooms, and challenges students to act on issues that matter to them. It meets academic content standards and it develops civically informed and engaged global citizens. Service-learning helps students do what is right, step out of their comfort zones, and make deep-rooted changes in themselves. It also allows them to change the world.

We hope that 2017 ignited your passion to make positive change and to support young people in becoming active life-long citizens. We are excited to work with you in 2018 to Serve. Learn. Change the world.™

Tags:  civic education  National Youth Leadership Council  service-learning  youth development 

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Why Attend, Developing Young Leaders at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum Minneapolis?

Posted By NYLC, Tuesday, March 26, 2019

(This article was originally posted on August 15th, 2018 on nylc.org.)


By Fatumo Mohamed, NYLC intern

The Nobel Peace Prize Forum is one the most enlightening experiences that both teens and adults can partake in. Every year, young leaders gather to learn about changing the world from the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. By learning about the laureates, they take inspiration and create their own service learning project. The Nobel Peace Prize Forum is the culmination of work done by both the young leaders and the laureates themselves. It celebrates peace and hope for a better world for everyone.


Events at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum are incredible to witness. From art events, to presenters, etc. The Nobel Peace Prize Forum has it all. A few examples include Cienańos, and Rocky Peter Ajoku.  The artists that attend the forum all have a message to bring about world building and change. Through their unique styles the artists teach us about changing the world while having fun. Art events at the forum are a vastly all different while sticking to one theme. From graphic paintings of tragedy to workshops that help you construct a structure based on your emotions, the forum will surely have a workshop that certainly challenge your way of viewing the world.

Themes in the Nobel Peace Prize forum are all about change while focusing on a different aspect of change every year. In 2017, the theme was “Dialogue Across Divided Nations”. The theme of 2016 was “Globalizing Compassion”. Theme of 2015 was “Inclusive and Sustainable Peacemaking and Peace Building”. All of these themes have one thing in common, trying to change the world into a better place. Dialogue Across Divided Nations was about coming together from opposite sides and talking things out. Globalizing Compassion was the importance of how we need to stop being so numb to injustices because it affects us all. Finally, the last theme about peace building teaches us the importance of trying to solve problems through non-violent methods.

People who have changed the world have come and will continue to come to teach us the importance of changing our world for the better. Kailash Satyarthi has been the face against child labor and slavery since the 1980’s. Sanam Naraghi- Anderlini is a co-founder of the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN). President Jimmy Carter earned his Peace Prize in 2002 for his work in resolving international conflicts peaceful. At the Nobel Peace Prize Forum you get the unique opportunity to meet these people and learn from their hard work.

From interpretive dance to spoken word, The Peace Prize Forum has it all. The Forum’s theme of continual change is something we all must learn in order for this world to be better. This Forum opens a fire in young leaders and old leaders alike to inspire even more change. Now that you know what the Forum is and the different aspects, I hope to see you from Sept. 14-15 at NYLC’s Developing Young Leaders at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum Minneapolis.

Learn more and register today!

Tags:  civic education  Nobel Peace Prize  service-learning  youth leadership  youth leadership development 

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New Publication Advances Civic Education through Service-Learning

Posted By NYLC, Tuesday, March 26, 2019

(This article was originally posted on December 7th, 2017 on nylc.org.)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (December 7, 2017) —The National Youth Leadership Council is pleased to announce the release of Service-Learning by Design by Dr. Sue Root. This publication will help educators not only teach core subject areas, but prepare students to be civically informed and engaged citizens – ensuring an excellent education for all our children.

Service-learning, as a teaching strategy, involves young people in engaging learning activities while preparing them to be life-long members of a democratic society. This method of teaching and learning requires teachers to intentionally design a curriculum that meets desired results in academic, civic, and social emotional outcomes.

“For students to grow into civically informed and engaged citizens they must have the opportunity to work outside the classroom. Service-learning connects community and classroom, inspiring students to make positive contributions to the world,” said Amy Meuers, National Youth Leadership Council CEO. “This publication will inspire new ideas, strengthen the practice of service-learning, and help students become responsible citizens.”

To purchase your copy of Service-Learning by Designvisit NYLC’s online store. The book is available in both digital and print formats. To learn more about the National Youth Leadership Council and service-learning, visit our site.

Praise for Service-Learning by Design:

  • “I’m very excited to see this important new resource, which will help move the whole field of service-learning into a new phase, with more consistent and powerful outcomes for students, their communities, and the whole democracy. It’s a user-friendly resource for educators, based on the best research.” -Peter Levine, Associate Dean for Research, Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life
  • “Very interesting and really helpful concrete examples of the points in your argument for an alternative model. This seems to move the service-learning and core standards discussions a big step forward.” -Constance Flanagan, Bascom Professor in Women, Family and Community, School of Human Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • “Service-Learning by Design is fantastic! It offers a clear, step by step approach to working through intricacies of service-learning…something the field has sorely needed. This work is going to help practitioners in innumerable ways and it will surely be one of the seminal pieces that we’ll all point to years from now.– Andrew Furco, Associate Vice President for Public Engagement, Professor, Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, University of Minnesota

Tags:  civic education  featured  service-learning  service-learning resources 

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Service-Learning in Civic Education = SLICE

Posted By NYLC, Thursday, May 10, 2018
Updated: Saturday, August 4, 2018

Service-learning as a teaching method for civic education is such a natural fit that some see the two terms as redundant. Democracies depend on voters with civic knowledge of history and government, and academic skills such as the ability to investigate, analyze, and deliberate about public issues. These skills, as well as the ability to work with others, grow through service-learning experiences.

So, with funding from United Parcel Service, NYLC has identified state-level service-learning coordinators in North Carolina and Georgia to work with K-12 teachers statewide who will develop, implement, and refine their own approaches to service-learning as a teaching method for civic engagement in a pilot program known as “SLICE.”

“We are excited to pilot the SLICE program in both Georgia and North Carolina,” said NYLC CEO Amy Meuers. “The program is designed to support educators and school leaders in engaging their students as active citizens while also developing the academic and 21st Century skills they need to succeed in college and career. The funding from UPS ensures that we can continue to support educators to successfully implement service-learning in classrooms.”

Through SLICE trainings mid-summer, teachers will learn NYLC’s backwards planning approach to developing units of study, rooted in the work of Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. As educators implement and refine those units this fall, they will receive ongoing technical assistance from the two state-level service-learning coordinators who have  deep experiences in service-learning.

Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 3.58.39 PMJustyn Knox, a former middle school social studies teacher and instructional facilitator in Raleigh, N.C., will lead that state’s SLICE program. With a background in both project-based learning and character education, she currently consults with the state’s Department of Instruction, running student leadership institutes, “un-conferences” on service-learning, the state’s “Schools of Character” initiative, and coordinating professional development initiatives such as SLICE.

Through SLICE, she will identify 15 teachers interested in developing service-learning and civic education units of study, for implementation and refinement this fall.

“I hope to build a cadre of teachers across the state who are experts, so that they can be the experts to teach others,” says Knox, who notes that pockets of service-learning in North Carolina are very strong.

She sees service-learning as addressing the “whole child” so SLICE fits well with the state’s emphasis character development, through which service-learning receives funding. “Students understand their value, their ability to give back — even those who don’t feel as if they have a voice,” she says. “Service-learning … also is important for what students learn as they give back.”

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Her colleague, Joe Feinberg, is an associate professor at Georgia State University and member of the National Council for the Social Studies Board of Directors, who will similarly recruit and support 15 teachers from across Georgia. A devotee of not only civic education and service-learning, but also simulation games, he taught high school civics, geography, economics, and history prior to his work in higher education with pre-service teachers and graduate students.

He sees the integration of civic education and service-learning as natural and says that “Service-learning makes you a more engaged citizen.”

For Feinberg and his Honors College students, this means digging into issues of homelessness in the neighborhoods of Georgia State, in downtown Atlanta. While other professors may advise their students not to interact with those who are experiencing homelessness, Feinberg asks for the opposite. “Students talk about how powerful and positive these experiences are for them.”

In particular, he is excited about the service-learning tie to backwards planning. “I’ve seen many schools and teachers go this way,” says Feinberg, “That NYLC is utilizing a current and strong approach to instruction tied to service-learning is a win-win.”

K-12 Teachers are welcome to either of the two FREE one-day trainings hosted by NYLC and designed to help educators integrate service-learning in civic engagement. Participants will learn how to plan and implement service-learning projects using the backwards planning approach, and the five-step inquiry-based “IPARD” cycle (investigation, planning and preparation, action, reflection, and demonstration of learning).

North Carolina SLICE Training
WHEN: Wed., July 11, 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; Register by July 3, 2018.
WHERE: Knightdale High School of Collaborative Design, Knightdale, NC
North Carolina teachers can apply for $500 to support their integration of service-learning in civic education instruction this fall. *Bring your device (laptop, iPad or tablet) to plan your service-learning inquiry project. Contact Justyn.Knox@dpi.nc.gov with questions.

Georgia SLICE Training
WHEN: Mon., July 9, 2018, 9:30 – 4:00 p.m.; Register by July 2, 2018.
WHERE: Central Georgia Technical College in Warner Robins in Building W (Sonny Watson Health Sciences Building) Room 113 Quads A/C, 80 Cohen Walker Drive, Warner Robins, Ga., 31088.
Georgia teachers are eligible to apply for a $500 stipend to support their integration of service-learning in civic education instruction this fall. *Bring your device (laptop, iPad or tablet) to plan your service-learning inquiry project. Contact jfeinberg@gsu.edu with questions.

Tags:  character education  civic education  featured  Georgia  higher education  North carolina  Schools of Character  service-learning  summer training 

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