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Virtual Sessions

Unmask Your Potential, The Virtual Experience

Join an online community of service-learners for the 31st annual National Service-Learning Conference, Unmask Your Potential. The virtual experience includes sessions, exhibitors, and service projects.
Scroll down to learn more about all the conference has to offer! 


REGISTERED CONFERENCE ATTENDEES: If you registered for the National Service-Learning Conference, you received an email on Tuesday April 14th from Amy Meuers with the login link and instructions. The Conference is full, but sessions are being recorded. When they are ready, an announcement will be posted here as well as in The Leader. To secure a place on the waitlist, please email



Come for one session or stay for them all. Your registration link will work for the full two days so join whenever you want and stay for as long as you want!

T1 - The Power of Service-Learning

Thursday, April 16, 8:30 - 9:30AM CST

Amy Meuers, NYLC CEO

An informed citizenry is the foundation of a democratic society. With service-learning, students become informed citizens by researching community needs, identifying projects, connecting with experts who can teach them sustainable strategies and applying their academic skills to real world needs. Service-learning answers the question "Why do I need to know this?" with students as the drivers of their goals. Amy Meuers will lead us through an exploration of this powerful teaching and learning approach that meets not only academic and social and emotional needs of students, but also the needs of our communities and world.

About the presenter:

As the CEO of the National Youth Leadership Council, Amy brings more than a decade of service-learning experience to the organization. Her passion and commitment to young people is evident through her leadership of the National Service-Learning Conference for the past 15 years, her commentary through articles and blog posts, as well as her own volunteer activities. She holds a master's degree in organizational leadership from Regis University, Colorado, a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Globe University, and an Executive Leadership Certificate from Arizona State University Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation in partnership with the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the National Human Services Assembly. She is committed to transforming community into classroom and inspiring all young people to Serve. Learn. Change the world.®


T2 - Exploring Change: One Student's Journey

Thursday, April 16, 10:00 - 11:00AM CST

Ekansh Tambe*

Join keynote presenter Ekansh Tambe to learn how he used his love of photography to educate others about the 1,900 miles of US-Mexican land border. Hear his retelling of the inspiring and heartbreaking stories of border agents, residents, and immigrants. Be inspired to share your own talents to make a positive change in the world.

About the presenter:

Tambe resides in Dallas with his parents, younger sister, and dog (Ricky). He loves reading, traveling, meeting new people, playing ping pong with his sister, and competing in local tennis tournaments. Science is his favorite subject and he is intrigued by dominance and recessiveness in genetics. He loves photography and has a collection of over ten thousand photos shot along the various borders he has visited, thanks to the mentoring and assistance from his parents. He is actively engaged in public speaking, educating citizens on borders and photography.

T3 - Making Your Ideas a Reality: Funding, Planning, and Executing your Service Learning Plan

Thursday, April 16, 11:30 - 12:30PM CST

Jonathan Baynham, The Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation

Have you ever had a great service learning idea but did not know where to start? During this session, we will discuss how to lay down the groundwork for a service learning project at your K-12 school. We will answer questions such as: “How do I find funding for this project? How do I convince my school to be on board? How do I incorporate service learning in my lesson plans? How do I find and reach out to a non-profit organization?” Tune in to learn and share about service learning implementation best practices for K-12 schools from start to finish.


About the presenter:

Jonathan Baynham is the program administrator for the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation. He helps manage all education programs developed by the foundation, which includes a robust service learning program. As administrator, Jonathan leads professional development workshops about implementing and funding service learning plans to K-12 schools throughout Louisiana and Mississippi. Before working at the Brown Foundation, he was a teacher and service learning program manager at Ursuline Academy, New Orleans for six years. Jonathan holds a bachelor of arts from Spring Hill College and a Master’s of Theology Studies from Vanderbilt University. He currently lives in New Orleans with his wife Chrissy and daughter Caroline.

T4 - Introduction to Service-Learning

Thursday, April 16, 1:00 - 2:00PM CST

Julie Rogers Bascom and Bella Sullivan*, NYLC

Discover how service-learning can help you meet your academic goals, improve classroom culture, and ignite student passion for their own education. This foundational session will provide you with an overview of the service-learning process including the student centered stage called IPARD (investigation, preparation & planning, action, reflection, and demonstration). Learn how to connect student outcomes to action to ensure a quality service-learning experience. Leave with resources and tools to improve your practice.

About the presenters:

Julie Rogers Bascom the Director of Training & Leadership Development at the National Youth Leadership Council. She has been supporting youth workers, teachers, and young people to use service-learning as a strategy to solve problems in their communities for more than 17 years. She sits on the board of directors for the League of Women Voters and Doing Good Together.

Bella Sullivan is a member of NYLC's Youth Advisory Council. She also works on the youth leadership team Lead United with the United Way to address social injustices in her community, and is on the leadership team of honor societies at her school. She believes that you are never too young to accomplish great things.

T5 - The Power of International Service-Learning: Enhancing Global Citizenship & Civic Engagement

Thursday, April 16, 2:30 - 3:30PM CST

Molly Alden-Rabenau, Costa Rica Explorations

Have you ever thought of offering an international service-learning opportunity to students at your school or organization? Learn how international service experiences inspire and empower middle school and high school students to become responsible global leaders through cross-cultural immersion and meaningful community service projects. Get started designing a safe and strategic educational program that meets your school's curriculum standards and students' needs. Discover which steps are needed to get the program approved by your administration.

About the presenter:

Molly Alden-Rabenau graduated with a BA in Psychology and minors in Spanish and Latin American Studies from Miami University, worked as a youth crisis counselor, and earned a MS in Education from Boston College as a Donovan Scholar. Molly taught for 10 years within the classroom. In 2006, she founded and currently administers Costa Rica Explorations, an international cross-cultural, service-learning program that hosts middle and high school students in the town of Turrialba, Costa Rica.

T6 - Mindful Thought: Creative Reflection in Curriculum

Thursday, April 16, 4:00 - 5:00PM CST

Beth Nickle, Study Alternative High School

Reflection is critical to the success of any service-learning experience. Join us as we explore creative reflection activities which can be applied to a variety of curriculum areas. We will provide over 60 student and teacher led activities as we engage in mindful thought and create new ways to think about service-learning experiences.

About the presenter:

Beth Nickle has been a service-learning practitioner for 27 years. Service-learning is part of her teaching methodology in art, life skills, drama, reading and other English Language Arts classes. She has given presentations on reflection at the local, state and national level

F1 - Reaching Your Greatest Potential from the Inside Out

Friday, April 17, 8:30 - 9:30AM CST

Tara Luckie, Mukilteo, WA

Are you having a hard time unmasking your full potential? Do you want to feel more joy and have more success in life but having a hard time knowing where to look? If you are saying yes to those questions, this is the session for you. We will explore everyday steps you can take that will lead to lasting joy, better alignment, and the confidence to know you are on the right track to achieve your greatest potential.

About the presenter:

Tara has worked in the nonprofit sector as an executive director for the last 10 years. She holds a Masters in education and nonprofit leadership and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. Tara is passionate about education, leadership, and finding joy in every day living. She has recently moved out of the city to start a farm and event business.

F2 - Education Equity: Leading the Way

Friday, April 17, 10:00 - 11:00AM CST

Youth Advisory Council, NYLC

Tiveeda Stovall, Campus Compact for Virginia

Donte Curtis, Catch Your Dream Consulting

Youth4Ed is tackling education equity in the K-12 realm, because this educational experience is the most fundamental in student growth and has the least interest and resources in becoming more equitable. The Lead Activist model is focused around student voice and initiative, and this workshop seeks to educate and empower them. Yet, educators and administrators are equally necessary in creating change, and they too can contribute and learn from our workshop so that they can support their students.

About the presenters:

The Youth Advisory Council is a team of servant-leaders recognized for their dedication to youth leadership, service-learning, diversity, and educational achievement for all. The YAC advises NYLC on its programming and brings valuable youth perspectives to the organization’s work. They work across the United States, demonstrating how young people can contribute today.

Tiveeda has developed curricula and served as a Graduate School instructor at Stevenson University with courses in the Community-Based Education and Learning program. Between 2002 and 2016, she taught a plethora of subjects in various capacities at the University of San Diego. She earned her Ed.D. at Johns Hopkins University in the School of Education and earned her Master’s in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley. In 2016, she co-authored an article on "Service-Learning and The Future of America and Education.”

Donte Curtis is the owner of Catch Your Dream Consulting where he mentors, inspires, and trains individuals and teams, nationwide, on leadership development,racial equity, entrepreneurship, making effective change and supports them to excel in their dreams and create positive change. With over 10 years of facilitation and speaking experience, Donte is adapt to fostering the collective wisdom in the room and creates space to make sure everyone voice is heard. Probably one of the most energetic people you will ever meet, Donte lives a life that is dedicated to leadership, social justice and liberation.

F3 - Youth Power in 2020 Elections: How to Make Your Voice Heard

Friday, April 17, 11:30 - 12:30PM CST

Mike Minks, Youth Service America

Voting is important, but isn’t the only way to make your voice heard during elections. Your elected representatives still work for you, even if you can’t vote for them. Get and share ideas for how you can register, educate, and get out the vote; advocate for progress on the issues you care about; and increase youth voice and leadership in public decision-making between now and Election Day as part of YSA’s ServiceVote 2020 campaign.

F4 - Climbing the Ladder to Meaningful Youth-Adult Partnerships

Friday, April 17, 1:00 - 2:00PM CST

Maddy Wegner & Carmen Lopez Villamil*, NYLC

This interactive workshop proposes Roger Hart's Ladder of Participation as an evaluation and planning tool for youth workers and educators. The Ladder of Participation details levels of youth involvement in classrooms and youth programs, from the lowest level of Manipulation to the highest level of Youth Initiated Shared Decisions with Adults. Participants in this workshop will use Hart’s Ladder to assess the role of youth voice in their current programs and classrooms. All participants will leave with a copy of the Hart’s Ladder tool, as well as tangible action steps towards creating more meaningful youth adult partnerships in their work.

About the presenters:

Maddy Wegner was NYLC’s Director of Communications for more than a decade, developing resources for service-learning practitioners that bring research to practice. She is the recipient of the Stellar Service- Learning Award and an “Outstanding Contributions to Service-Learning Award” from the Minnesota Department of Education. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, she received her teacher training through the University of California, Berkeley’s Bay Area Writing Project, and earned an M.S.J. from Northwestern University.

Carmen is a sophomore at Beacon in New York City. She has lived in the same house in Brooklyn for her entire life, and loves the city for its striking diversity. She is excited to address the intersection between racial inequality and the American education and food systems while serving on the YAC.

F5 - Tackling Controversial Topics

Friday, April 17, 2:30 - 3:30PM CST

Linsey Crowninshield-Ryan, Civic Education Project - Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

As educators, we sometimes avoid addressing sensitive or controversial issues in the classroom. This session will demonstrate ways to create and maintain a brave space for critical dialogue and introduce facilitation techniques to address difficult topics with diverse groups. Participants will practice their skills on real-life scenarios, and discover concrete strategies and activities to use in their classrooms.

About the presenter:

Linsey has over 15 years of experience as an educator, having held roles in student affairs administration, leadership development and service-learning at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, IL and through her current work with the Civic Education Project since 2013. She has facilitated over 20 experiential learning adventures with Habitat for Humanity and worked with Free the Children to design a residential high school for girls in Kenya. Linsey holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology & education from Ripon College and a master’s degree in human services administration and nonprofit management from Spertus College.

F6 - The Future of Service-Learning

Friday, April 17, 4:00 - 5:00PM CST

Dr. Jill A. Rough, Director of Research and Analysis, National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service

Tom Kilgannon, Commissioner, National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service

The National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service is the first entity in American history charged with conducting a comprehensive and holistic review of all forms of service to the nation. The Commission will release its final report on March 25, 2020. During this session, participants will gain a detailed understanding of the Commission’s recommendations, with a special focus on those related to service-learning and education.

About the presenter:

Dr. Jill A. Rough currently serves as the Director of Research and Analysis for the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service. She has nearly 25 years of national security and defense related research and experience, with recent focus on civil-military relations, civic engagement, and military manpower issues. She is an actively drilling Navy Reserve officer and a graduate of both the Naval War College and Joint Forces Staff College. Dr. Rough holds a doctorate from George Mason University, a master’s degree from The George Washington University, and a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Naval Academy.

Mr. Kilgannon is a Commissioner on the National Commission on Military, National and Public service, and 11 member bipartisan Commission charged with comprehensively and holistically reviewing the Selective Service System and all forms of service – military, national, and public. Tom is also the President of Freedom Alliance, a charitable organization that honors and supports America’s Armed Forces and advocates for a strong national defense.



Xperitas is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to promoting global citizenship through authentic immersion experiences that inspire personal connections with diverse individuals and communities worldwide. Learn more at

National Youth Leadership Council

For more than 35 years, the National Youth Leadership Council has transformed classrooms, empowered teachers, and captivated students by leading the way in providing high-quality, dynamic service-learning content to school districts, classrooms, after-school programs, and everything in between.  Our programs and services develop young leaders, support educators, and advance the field of service-learning. Learn more at

NetWork Volunteers

NetWork Volunteers create customized service-learning trips for students and youth groups of all ages. Our service trips are year-round and we manage all the logistics to provide a full turn-key experience.  Learn more at 

Pack Alliance Company

Pack Alliance Company engages travelers to find where culture, empathy and worldly experiences meet to share their future. International and Domestic Educational-Service-Learning Program. We are offering a 15% discount to student conference registrants on 2021 service-learning trips. Contact Crystal Bernal at to redeem. Learn more at

Rotary International

Rotary believes in developing the next generation of leaders. Our programs help younger leaders build leadership skills, expand education, and learn the value of service. Learn more at 

Service-Learning Network

Join the online community to access resources that support students in applying classroom knowledge and skills to solving real-world problems through service-learning. Network and share how you are creating civically informed and engaged citizens! Learn more at

Youth Service America (YSA)

YSA supports a global culture of engaged children and youth committed to a lifetime of meaningful service, learning, and leadership. With half the world's population under 25, YSA's mission is t help all young people find their voice, take action, and make an impact on vital community issues. Learn more at


Service Projects

Celebrate Global Youth Service Day by participating in the Unmask Your Potential Virtual Service Projects!

Lost Art of Love Letters

Nikki Leali, 8th grader and founder of Crescent City Reading Buddies (a book club that partners middle school readers with younger children to encourage a love of reading) will lead us in the first ever virtual service project for the 2020 National Service-Learning Conference. Help us “pay it forward” by sending Love Letters of Encouragement to students in our 2021 host city.


Please join me as we create and send Love Letters of Encouragement to first grade students in the Greater New Orleans area. Just like all of us students, their school year ended abruptly this year. Your words of encouragement for them to continue their love of reading and learning during this difficult time will mean so much to each one of these kids.” – Nikki Leali


Project instructions:

  • Gather paper or notecards, an envelope that fits the letter, a larger outside envelope, postage, and any art supplies you wish to use.
  • Create your Love Letters according to the instructions- an art component is encouraged!
  • If you wish, post a photo on Instragram, #SLC20.
  • Put the letter in an UNSEALED envelope and put a stamp(s) on it so that it can be sent to the student. Do not address or seal the envelope.
  • Place inside a larger envelope. Address the outer envelope to: SLC Love Letters Project, 1414 Louisiana Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70115, and mail. Be sure to use sufficient postage for the size and weight.
  • Love Letters will be held for several days and sanitized before being sent on to students. However, if you or anyone in your household has a suspected or known case of COVID-19, we ask that you do this project at a later time.
Little Free Library Project

The service project to paint and decorate Little Free Libraries is on hold until the 2021 Conference in New Orleans. However, you can still participate.

Elementary and middle school students (grades 1–8) in Greater New Orleans were invited to enter an essay contest to win a Little Free Library. They were challenged to: “Tell us how a Little Free Library in your neighborhood will strengthen community and impact change. Let us know why you would be the best Little Free Library steward.”

Please read the finalists’ entries and vote for your top choice.  Two fully assembled libraries will be awarded. Many thanks to Nikki Leali for facilitating the project, and the LA Sprout Foundation for donating the libraries.

In addition, participants will also have the option to be entered into a drawing for a fully assembled Little Free Library of their own. One winner will be drawn at random to receive a library shipped to their home school or youth community group! 

Check your 4/14 pre-conference email for the link and vote by 4 p.m. on Friday, April 17th. Winners announced during the final Conference session.


Happy Birthday, Now VOTE!

Everyone loves celebrating a birthday! Now, you can combine creativity and civic responsibility through Happy Birthday, Now VOTE! by making original birthday letters and messages about the importance of voting, everyone can influence a generation of new voters.

Get started!

1.   Think of 3 reasons why voting matters to you.

2.   Make an online birthday letter or  message  telling a high school student why they should register to vote. Be creative!

3.  Include this website on your card/letter:

4.  Send your card to

NYLC has partnered with the national-award-winning Minneapolis Student Election Judge program who recruits and trains 400 high school students to work as part of the team running polling places on Election Day. Experienced student election judges are eligible to serve as Elections Ambassadors, providing voter education in their school and community.

Through this partnership, your letters and messages will be sent to graduating high school seniors.

5. Share your Happy Birthday - Now Vote! messages and letters with #HBDNowVote.

6.   Ask the recipient to also post at #HBDNowVote

Happy Birthday-Now VOTE!  was created by Cathryn Berger Kaye, CBK Associates, with the Educators Consortium for Service Learning. For teacher resources, email . To read how the program started, read Cathy’s blog at .