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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

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

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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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Posted By NYLC, Tuesday, March 26, 2019

(This article was originally posted on March 27, 2018 on

“Love. Not hate. We want to graduate!”

We are students. We want change!”

“Tell me what democracy looks like? THIS is what democracy looks like!”

 Among those chanting these demands in St. Paul, Minn. this past Saturday, during the March for Our Lives, was eighth-grader Lindsey, along with two friends and approximately 20,000 others. She had just participated in “Justice in Action” — the National Service-Learning Conference — in St. Paul 10 days earlier. Below, she reflects on the march with questions her mother posed.

 Q: Tell us about the event you attended. 

A: It was a march against gun violence. . . Students and parents got together to protest gun violence and then heard some people talk about the how we can fix the gun violence in this country.

Q: What did you notice? What stood out for you?

A: There was a vibe there of kindness. We were all there to support the same cause.

How did it feel to be there?

Just being there made me feel like I was part of something amazing that I can tell my grandkids that I took part in and be proud of. I knew I was helping make a difference in our history.

Why did you go? Why was this important to you?

I went to this march because I don’t want to worry everyday if I’m going to be shot or if I come home and find out that my best friend is dead. I shouldn’t have to worry about that. No parent should have to worry about that, or lose their kid due to something that could be so simply fixed.

What did you learn? How are you changed by taking part in this event?

It was truly amazing seeing all those people there. I learned that together people can really make a difference. Going to this [march] has made me want to participate more to make sure that every other kid feels safe in school including me.

What will you do now? What are your next steps?

I would for sure go to another one in the future. I also plan to do the school walkout in April. I am ready for something to change.

As Lindsey’s mother said in her reflection on the event:Amongst so many memorable moments and displays of authentic youth leadership, something that stood out for me was one of the student speakers who closed with a quote from Angela Davis: ‘I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.’ While the fight for stronger gun laws will likely be a marathon rather than a sprint, I have no doubt that young people have the focus and persistence to see this through.”

Tags:  civic engagement  march for our lives  protest  reflection  service-learning  youth leadership  youth voice 

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Service-Learning May/June Digest

Posted By NYLC, Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Updated: Saturday, August 4, 2018

Happy official summer, everyone!

In news from Minn., NYLC is in the midst of a two-week Global Studies Institute teacher training in partnership with the University of Minnesota, focused on “Taking Action: Acting Locally, Linking Globally.” Following an exciting week of backwards planning for service-learning “by design”, teachers are now hard at work, developing their own curricular units. Stay tuned for a series of topically-specific unit plans uploaded to the Generator School Network!

In other service-learning news, we’re sharing a dual-month digest given all that’s been underway with the close of the school year.

  • We celebrate high school student Daisy Leonard, who served on a peace-building panel at the National Service-Learning Conference this spring. A member of youthrive’s youth cabinet, Daisy wrote an essay on peace that was selected as the winner of a recent Peacestock competition, and will be featured in a celebration at in Red Wing, Minn. on July 14. Daisy has all the traits we aspire to as peace-builders: curiosity, empathy, and action-orientation! Way to go Daisy!


  • March for our Lives started a two-month summer tour June 15, The Road to Change. Having begun in Chicago, they are making more than 50 stops across the country to get young people educated, registered, and motivated to vote. They’ll also hold a separate Florida tour with more than 25 stops, visiting every congressional district. For more information, text CHANGE to 977-79.


  • In Hawaii, hundreds of Conservation Corps internships are underway  that teach about culture and community. The seven-week summer program runs June – July, and is designed for youths ages 17 and up. Those who complete the program earn a $1,222 scholarship, plus $500 for volunteering, and an AmeriCorps educational award. A program of the nonprofit organization Kupu, the Corps is a chance for youths to get involved in service-learning focused on conservation, renewable energy, agriculture, and sustainability.


  • In southern New Jersey, the Margate JCC’s Early Childhood Education Center hosted an annual Trike-A-Thon for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The Trike-A-Thon is a service-learning program for daycare centers and preschools that teaches young children trike and riding-toy safety. In addition to raising money, students participated in various stations including an area to wash their bikes, a “gas” station, and a space to learn more about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.


  • At the K-12 International School of Beijing, China, service-learning is fueling global citizenship. As their website attests, they believe that “If respect, integrity, and global-mindedness are muscles to be developed … service learning opportunities provide the rigorous exercise routine in which to do so.” The school’s 21st century learning model integrates academic excellence with social and emotional learning and experiential learning. Students can choose to be involved in a range of options, from Roots and Shoots in the elementary grades to Habitat for Humanity projects in the later grades.

Keep up the good work over the summer, folks! We are always excited to read about afterschool applications of service-learning!

Tags:  China  featured  Florida  global education  Hawaii  march for our lives  minnesota  New Jersey  service-learning 

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