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Service-Learning May Digest 2019

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 30, 2019

Summer’s almost here, and students were busy this spring with service-learning in classrooms and afterschool programs. Check out some of the great happenings from the past month. Got a program you want to share? Send us an email at!

Ridgefield Academy's Grade 7 and Prospector Theater: The Importance of Making a Difference
Service Learning is an integral part of the curriculum at Ridgefield Academy and builds character development. It teaches students to be thankful for what they have, to empathize with others and to develop a sense of civic responsibility. This results in students being able to see different perspectives. Additionally, they develop confidence and a sense of empowerment, as they discover they can have a lasting impact on others.
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Better World Day: Grass Valley Charter School Students ‘get smart, do good’
Grass Valley Charter School celebrated Better World Day in early May, with the other EL Education schools in their network nationwide.
EL Education (formerly known as Expeditionary Learning) is a network of schools committed to service learning and character education. Grass Valley Charter showcases service learning projects on Better World Day, and throughout the year. Here are a sampling of teaching kids to “get smart, do good,” as EL Education likes to say….
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Turner Elementary to Host Learning Fair
Each year Turner Elementary School has a year-long, whole-school Service Learning project. This year the students focused on Heifer International, an organization that works to end world hunger and poverty. They kicked off the year by reading “Give A Goat” by Jan West Schrock, a picture book which features a grade five class that raises money to purchase a goat to help a family in need through Heifer International.
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Around Town: St. Paul Seventh-Graders Work Hard, Learn in Park Visit
The seventh-graders of St. Paul Catholic Church in North Canton have a long standing partnership with the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. For more than 15 years, they travel to the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Camp for hands-on, multi-day learning experiences.
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Tags:  civic engagement  monthly digest  service-learning 

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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 February Digest 2018

Posted By NYLC, Sunday, April 7, 2019

(This article was originally posted on February 19th, 2018 on

Happy leap month — minus the extra day. We hope you’re counting down the very few days ’til we’ll see you in St. Paul for the National Service-Learning Conference, March 11-13. It’s less than three weeks away, so get your service-learning swag packed!

Meanwhile, good news abounds in service-learning, even in the dead of winter.

NYLC’s board member and treasurer, Kevin Michael Days, has been appointed George Washington University’s community relations director. As he said in an article in the campus newspaper, the GW Hatchet, “The community is a rich resource of individuals. There is a lot untapped opportunity there to have relationships both authentic and positive.”

Teen driver safety Project Ignition sites also continue to make the news. Check out the work in central Illinois of the Danville High School Future Problem-Solvers group, who are addressing teen driver safety issues with a virtual reality simulator designed to mimic distracted driving.

In Wisconsin, federal 21st Century Community Learning Center sites are incorporating service-learning into after-school programming, knowing that often academic gains result. The Puma Scholars program in Madison, for example, is involving students in their academic enrichment program in making beds, blankets and toys for animals at the local humane society.

Closer to home, strands of service are working together. Conservation Corps Minnesota will  provide hands-on environmental stewardship and service-learning opportunities for young adults in the northwest suburbs in Minneapolis through a county parks department, getting them engaged in conservation, involved in the community, and knowledgeable about possible future employment in parks and conservation.

Please plan to join us to share more stories like these next month, at the National Service-Learning Conference in St. Paul — and come early for the Educators’ Institute!

Tags:  events  monthly digest  Project Ignition  service-learning 

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Service-Learning January Digest 2018

Posted By NYLC, Sunday, April 7, 2019

(This article was originally posted on January 5th, 2018 on

Happy New Year! While the cold may be settling in all over the country, the service-learning community is keeping warm with all of their projects. Here are some great programs that we’ve heard about over the past month:

• Since 2011, Weaver and Concerned Citizens of Aiken/Atlanta Now (WeCCAAN) has organized intergenerational service-learning trips for 34 youths and 20 adults. Participants are given the opportunity to visit new cities in the U.S. where they volunteer and learn about culture, community, and each other. >>Full Article
• Dr. Edina Haslauer, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin – Platteville, is teaching an Ethnic and Gender Equity in Education course which aims to promote a better understanding of cultural diversity in the next generation of teachers. Students learn about how cultural differences create the biases seen in society today, and apply this newfound knowledge to their volunteer work with local after-school programs or new immigrants in the community. >>Full Article
• The Builders Club at Roland-Story Middle School in Roland, Iowa collected toys for their “Blessings for Blank” community service project. The toys were given to children who had to celebrate the holidays at Blank Hospital. Students at Roland-Story Middle School develop leadership skills by running the Builders Club and organizing and participating in service projects in the community. >>Full Article

Did we miss something? Have you or someone you know embarked on a service-learning/civic engagement project that warrants exposure? Drop us a line at

Tags:  monthly digest  service-learning 

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Service-Learning April Digest

Posted By NYLC, Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Updated: Saturday, August 4, 2018

While educators and students wrap up school year service-learning projects across the country, NYLC staff hit the road this past month, traveling to service-learning hot spots as far flung as Japan and Turkey. Read about these staffer’s discoveries of Japan’s historic emphasis on peace education since WWII, and Turkey’s interests in supporting Somali-Americans in Minnesota.

April brings not only rainfall (or record snows if you live in Minnesota), but also:

  • Recently, the Child Development Center at Davidson County Community College in Lexington, N.C. raised nearly $3,000 through a  “Trike-A-Thon.” Forty-five childcare and preschool students circled a track on the sidewalk of the playground as parents and teachers cheered. The event teaches childcare and preschool students tricycle and riding safety while raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Proceeds benefit research and treatment for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
  • In Seattle, Wash., the Youth Ambassadors Program, sponsored by the Gates Foundation Discovery Center, is a year-long service learning program for high school students designed to educate, engage, and empower youth. Jahil Kirby, a high school junior, is learning about the music industry, and sharing his passions with others through the 2018 Teen Action Fair. He is also involved in a program called The Residency, which focuses on youth development through hip hop.
  • In Dallas Township, Pa., Misericordia University math education students celebrated “Math Day” with middle school student by mixing math and music with dance,  instructing their third grade charges to “Put the triangle in … take the triangle out” of the circle during a round of Hokey Pokey designed to help them differentiate between and count the sides of triangles, squares, and rectangles. Math Day is a service project for the Math Club, and the service-learning component of the Intro to Early Childhood Education and Math Methods I – courses teacher education majors take.
  • In Orlando, Fla., college student Clayton Kruse has been awarded the Actuality Media Documentary Outreach Scholarship to study the art and practice of filmmaking while producing a short documentary on a change-maker “making a sustainable impact on chronic social or environmental problems.” The film that secured him the scholarship was about the quiet ending of a recycling program at his college, Walla Walla University. Actuality Media is a service-learning organization that takes students and young professionals abroad to create short documentaries on changemakers in developing communities around the world. Find out more at
  • In northern Kentucky, elementary students have created a traveling wall that honors fallen veterans. Fifth-graders at Kelly Elementary in Burlington, Ky., have been  documenting local heroes, interviewing family members, and writing biographies. Community partners included a master carpenter, the local VFW, the American Legion, and a county-level grant. “It’s really worth it because we’re bringing back the memories of their loved ones,” said student Alexis.

Tags:  documentary filmmaking  math education  monthly digest  service-learning  veterans  youth ambassadors 

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