Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Service-Learning and Dropout Prevention: True Prevention Starts Early

By Marty Duckenfield~National Dropout Prevention Center

It is heartening to those of us involved for decades in dropout prevention to see our colleagues at all levels of education acknowledge the connection between service-learning and keeping kids in school. Most of the focus of the recent flurry of reports has been on the secondary level, whether middle or high school, with dropout summits and reports about kids saying why they left school….and that service-learning is a wonderful way to re-engage these young people in school and in developing their plans for a positive future.

What I want to bring to readers' attention today, however, is that real dropout prevention starts much earlier, and the research that the National Dropout Prevention Center conducted with Communities In Schools in 2007 bears this out. Risk Factors and Exemplary Programs, found at this URL, and the risk factors that relate to dropout can be found in the Executive Summary.

The key points from the research are:

• Dropping out of school is related to a variety of factors.

• There is no single risk factor that can be used to accurately predict who is at risk of dropping out.

• The accuracy of dropout predictions increases when combinations of multiple risk factors are considered.

• Dropouts are not a homogeneous group. Many subgroups of students can be identified based on when risk factors emerge, the combinations of risk factors experienced, and how the factors influence them.

• Students who drop out often cite factors across multiple domains and there are complex interactions among risk factors.

• Dropping out of school is often the result of a long process of disengagement that may begin before a child enters school.

• Dropping out is often described as a process, not an event, with factors building and compounding over time.

Service-learning has long been promoted by the NDPC as a vehicle for school reform, and this report supports that approach. Dropping out is not just caused by academic failure although so much of the focus of No Child Left Behind and its legacy has not acknowledged that fact.

True dropout prevention, therefore, should be focused on multiple causes and should begin in the earliest years. If students and their families are engaged with the school through school and community service-learning projects; if children are excited about coming to school with the applied learning and experiential education afforded by service-learning; if attendance is up because of that excitement; and if children are learning to work and share together via these real-life experiences; well, then, perhaps the issues that tend to surface more dramatically at the middle and high school levels—leading to dropout—will disappear.

I would love to hear from elementary teachers who have seen how service-learning has helped them connect with children who might be perceived as at risk of dropping out someday; how service-learning has neutralized some of the risk factors that are often beyond our control; and how children are developing the traits of resilience which are fostered by service-learning—traits that will enable them to overcome the odds and attain success in school and in life.

These would be great stories, and sharing these might broaden the perspective of those educators who are seeing the connection between service-learning and dropout prevention—that they may now turn some of the spotlight onto the elementary grades. The trend seems to be that there is less service-learning at the elementary level, and this is terrible news. I hope that you will share some of these stories with the readers of this blog and perhaps begin to stop that unfortunate trend.

(Original article posted at

Young Adults Fueled Spike In Volunteers- Reflective of Earlier Service-Learning Experiences

By Mark Hrywna- Non Profit Times

Led by teens and young adults accounting for almost half the increase, about a million more people volunteered last year, according to an annual report on volunteering in the United States. Nonprofits also expect to continue their increased use of volunteers this year.

The Corporation for National and Community Service's (CNCS) Volunteering in America reports that 37 percent of nonprofits increased the number of volunteers they used between September and March and 48 percent expect to continue to increase their use in the coming year.

The report estimates that 61.8 million Americans volunteered last year, about a million more than the previous year, and more than a quarter of the U.S. population. Volunteers are persons age 16 or older who serve through or with an organization without pay at any point during a 12-month period from September one year to September the next year.

Of the one million additional volunteers in 2008, about 441,000 were between the ages of 16 and 24, up from 7.8 million to 8.24 million and boosting their volunteering rate from 20.88 percent to 21.9 percent.

Overall, the nation's volunteering rate was about 26.4 percent, led once again last year by the Midwest, 30.2 percent, and specifically Utah, 43.5 percent. California accounted for the largest number of volunteers in the U.S., with a total 7.1 million; about 12 percent of the nation's total. More than a third of volunteers did so through faith-based organizations.

A historic drop in donations to charity last year would seem to indicate that people are giving their time if not their financial resources, said Alan Solomont, chairman of the board of CNCS. "Traditional volunteering remained relatively stable, but what we call informal volunteering, neighbors coming together to solve a community's problems…suggests an emerging trend, one we're trying to foster," he said.

The report indicated an increase in "neighborhood engagement levels" of 31 percent (the number of people who worked with neighbors to fix a community problem) and a 17-percent spike in the number of people who attended community meetings. Volunteer rates were extremely high after Sept. 11, 2001, but neighborhood engagement has spiked this year after the corporation began tracking it three years ago.

Online applications to AmeriCorps have seen an increase from 46,000 to 146,000 during the same eight-month period a year ago, Solomont said. "This generation wants to be part of something bigger than themselves," he said.

Despite enormous spikes in applications to volunteer programs like AmeriCorps, the one million more volunteers represent an overall increase of only about 1.6 percent. The report, however, suggests that volunteer rates could have dropped given the circumstances. "Previous research indicates that a concurrent decrease in volunteering rates could occur during a time of economic recession, especially when there are decreases in home ownership and increases in unemployment rates," according to the report.

Employment and home ownership are among the predictors of whether someone volunteers, according to Robert Grimm, director of the Office and Research and Policy Development at CNCS. Often people think volunteering is about time, he said, but volunteering is something people make time for rather than having extra time to serve the community.

"We're seeing some dramatic volunteer increases in areas experiencing the brunt of economic challenges, perhaps indicating a 'compassion boom,'" Grimm said, in places hit hard by the recession, like Phoenix, Las Vegas, and New Jersey.

The president's call for public service has helped, as it has in the past when presidents have urged Americans to serve, Solomont said, adding that people who lost their jobs may volunteer because they want to be helpful or are looking to develop new skills or new careers.

The boost in interest might be a result of the weak job market, but the younger generation also is more interested in service than other generations, Solomont said. Volunteering rates among young adults dropped off significantly after the 1970s, he said, but current youngsters grew up in schools that were more likely to have service learning programs than in the past, starting young people "on a path of community service much earlier than before. Young people serving is reflective of their earlier service learning experience."

The corporation's report can be used as a tool for anyone who works with volunteers to develop effective strategies for recruiting and using volunteers, said Melody Barnes, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. "While [the report] doesn't reflect volunteer trends during our administration, it does contain a lot of information" about how to expand opportunities and solve problems, she said.

Solomont hopes mayors and governors around the nation will examine the study and employ strategies for using volunteers to help solve local problems. "We need to make service a way of life for all Americans," he said.

The nearly 62 million volunteers contributed about 8 billion hours of service worth $162 billion, based on the $20.25 value of a volunteer hour as estimated by Independent Sector. Volunteers are also more likely to donate to a charity, with 78 percent donating $25 or more, compared to 39 percent of non-volunteers.

The report was compiled by CNCS with the help of the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, surveying 100,000 people at a very high response rate, according to Grimm.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Teen Voice 2009- The Untapped Strength of 15 Year Olds

"What happens at age 15 has a lot to say about teens' success

in school and beyond. Based on a national study of 1,817

fifteen-year-olds, Teen Voice 2009: The Untapped Strengths of

15-Year-Olds offers a unique, positive look into the lives of

today's teens. It explores three interlocking concepts: "sparks,"

"teen voice," and "relationships and opportunities." When these

strengths work together, they have tremendous potential to set

or keep 15-year-olds on a positive course in the midst of this

critical time in life."


For more, read this report by the Best Buy Foundation and Search Institute:



FW: Education Week at United We Serve

Last week President Obama's United We Serve initiative kicked off a series of issue weeks that will shine the spotlight on Americans who are joining with their neighbors to tackle tough challenges through volunteer service. The first highlight was on Community Renewal (, and from July 27-31 the focus will be on Education.

Be sure to check out these stories of how volunteers and service-learners around the country are making a difference in their communities around the topic of education.


Learn and Serve America's National Service-Learning Clearinghouse wants to support your participation in the United We Serve initiative, so we've compiled a list of resources to help you leverage the power of service-learning to meet these important community needs:


So, are you involved in literacy programs? Dropout prevention? College access? Has service-learning benefited education in your community? Make the case for how service-learning be a powerful tool! Share your story at and .



Heather Martin, MISt


Learn and Serve America's National Service-Learning Clearinghouse

America's Resource for Service-Learning Information

Toll-free 866-245-7378, ext. 140

Fax 831-430-9471



Visit and join the NSLC Facebook Fan page at:

Can service-learning help solve the current crisis? Discuss: Service-Learning = Solutions Blog

Serve America Act Implementation Update

Dear National Service Colleagues,


It has been a busy summer at the Corporation.  We have been working hard to distribute 2009 grant funds, finish distributing Recovery Act awards, and plan the implementation of the Serve America Act, among other things.  What follows is an update on the Serve America Act implementation – both what has happened since the Bill signing, and what you can expect in the next several months.


Following our public input sessions, our first priority in the implementation of the Serve America Act has been to determine which provisions can automatically go into effect on October 1, 2009, which require only additional guidance or policy, and which cannot take effect without a formal rulemaking process. These determinations have an impact on the FY 2010 application deadlines, and on the timing and content of the Notices of Federal Funding Opportunity (NOFO) and application instructions for our grant competitions.


We have also focused on evaluating the impact of the Act on the Corporation's systems, staffing, and training.  From that, we have developed a tentative timeline for grants (below) that will ultimately provide the framework for next year's operations.  As of now, the timeline includes all programs proposed for funding in the President's Budget or the House passed 2010 budget.  You may notice that we are not proposing major changes to the calendar from previous years.  Any additional programs included through the Senate Appropriation's process and the final Labor-HHS appropriations Act will be added at the appropriate time.  And the final timeline will reflect the funding ultimately passed by Congress. 



Tentative Application Due Dates

National Direct and Indian Tribes Planning

Mid October

Summer of Service

Early December

Social Innovation Fund

Early January

AmeriCorps State and National

Late January

LSA Higher Education and School-based Tribes & Territories

Mid March

Volunteer Generation Fund

Late March

LSA Innovation in Community-Based Service-Learning and Research

Early May

RSVP Projects

Early April


Early April


Rule Making

The first rulemaking will be an interim final rule that simply aligns our regulations with those Serve America Act provisions that immediately affect grantees as of October 1, 2009, when the new law goes into effect.  A second more substantive rulemaking will take place in the fall to implement high-priority provisions in the Act that require a full notice-and-comment process- for example, changes to the National Service Trust.  Subsequent rulemakings to implement new programs and carry out other requirements in the Act will follow.  Note that the notice-and-comment rulemaking process includes plenty of opportunity for your input.

Pilot Projects

For several of the Serve America Act initiatives, we have decided to implement pilot programs in the FY 2010 grant competition. The results of these pilot programs will inform rulemaking, and how we will implement these provisions of the Act going forward. In addition, this process will help us roll out a more robust system in 2011 for all AmeriCorps programs and, potentially Senior Corps and Foster Grandparents.


The following provisions of the Act will be piloted in the 2010 competition:


  1. The Act describes five service corps (Education, Healthy Futures, Clean Energy, Veterans, and Opportunity) and requires us to prioritize at least two each year. Those FY 2010 programs that address indicators in any of the five corps will be given priority for funding in FY 2010.


  1. The Act requires us to develop common performance measures and identify specific indicators. With input from grantees and other stakeholders, we will develop common performance measures for the five priority areas. Applicants proposing programming in the priority areas will be encouraged to adopt the common performance measures and will receive special consideration for doing so.


  1. The Act authorizes fixed amount grants and specifies that in FY 2010 they may only be used for AmeriCorps programs that engage only full-time members (excluding EAP). We anticipate expanding fixed amount grants to part-time AmeriCorps and, potentially Senior Corps and Foster Grandparents, in FY 2011.


  1. In addition, in FY 2010 we will be implementing the merged state competitive and national direct AmeriCorps grant competition.

Trust Policy Updates

First, please continue to remind AmeriCorps State and National members and programs that the increased Education Award will only be available for those positions funded with 2010 appropriated funds.

Second, we have had a lot of input regarding the Serve America Act provision that allows individuals to earn up to the aggregate value of two full-time education awards.  We are in the process of determining how to effectively implement the increased flexibility in the number of terms of service that an individual can serve, and anticipate this issue to be among the first policy issues we address through rulemaking in the fall.  Until we complete the rulemaking process, the current limit of two education awards will remain in effect.

Third, please be sure that VISTAS who are over 55, understand that the VISTA Education Award is not transferrable per the statute, but that they may choose the cash stipend in lieu of the education award.  For more information, please refer to our FAQs section on the Serve America Act Homepage of our website.

Other New Initiatives

Finally, we are beginning to plan the RSVP competition, Social Innovation Fund, Volunteer Generation Fund, Summer of Service, and merged Competitive and National Direct AmeriCorps grants competitions based on the public input that we have received to date.  While everyone will continue to have opportunities to provide input, we will be working over the next several weeks with the Senior Corps Associations, the Association of State Commissions, Voices for National Service, and Service Learning United to gather their input.

We will keep you informed as we continue to move forward.  Thank you for your continued commitment to National Service and to the successful implementation of the Serve America Act.

In Service,

Nicola Goren

Acting CEO

Corporation for National and Community Service


Focus on service-learning at NMSA's 36th Annual Conference, Indianapolis, IN. Nov 5-7

How can you give your students a voice in developing and directing projects?

How can you connect community needs with curriculum?

How can you implement effective service-learning on a budget?

How can you engage businesses in your service-learning projects?

These questions will be answered, and other critical service-learning topics will be discussed in NMSA's incredible service-learning strand, featuring Cathryn Berger-Kaye and Jim Kielsmeier.

Learn more about NMSA's 36th Annual Conference and our powerful service-learning offerings at

National Middle School Association
4151 Executive Parkway, Suite 300
Westerville, OH 43081

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Anthropologist co-edits book on service learning


KALAMAZOO--A Western Michigan University anthropologist has co-edited a book that showcases the mutual contributions of archaeology and community service learning.

Dr. Michael S. Nassaney, WMU professor of anthropology, co-edited "Archaeology and Community Service Learning" with Mary Ann Levine, associate professor of anthropology at Franklin & Marshall College. The work was co-published in June by the University Press of Florida and Society for Historical Archaeology.

"The service-learning approach in archaeology is a relatively new way of teaching and practicing the discipline," the editors say. "It arose partly in response to changes in the field that have made archaeology increasingly public. Service-learning brings students into closer contact with the public so they can benefit from the wider audiences that share an interest in archaeology."

The 250-page book examines how the discipline can successfully incorporate community service learning, or CSL, to broaden and enhance learning opportunities for students, promote civic engagement and embrace community partnerships. In discussing specific examples from work in historical archaeology, researchers contributing chapters to the monograph highlight the achievements and challenges that archaeologists as well as their students face in the classroom and the field when collaborating with a variety of community partners.

The chapters, including one written by Nassaney, reinforce the editors' contention that CSL can contribute to what they contend is a needed reform in the way U.S. academics teach archaeology, which has long emphasized a practical, field-based approach to training new scholars.

Both Nassaney and Levine actively integrate such service learning into their research, and view it as a natural outgrowth of developments in archaeology that have been happening since the 1970s. In fact, Nassaney directs the Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project as well as WMU's annual Archaeological Field School, which in 2002 led to the discovery of fort near Niles, Mich.

Fort St. Joseph, located in a strategic setting along the St. Joseph River, was one of the most important 18th-century outposts in the entire Western Great Lakes region. With much more of the site to be surveyed and excavated, this settlement on the edge of the French empire has become the location for the University's annual Archaeological Field School.

This year's field school will include weeklong sessions from July 13-17 for middle school students, July 20-24 for educators and July 27-31 for other interested adults. An August 1-2 public open house also is scheduled at the site.

The school's work is being done under the auspices of the Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project in partnership with the Fort St. Joseph Museum, Support the Fort Inc. and the city of Niles. From the beginning, area students, teachers and residents have joined with WMU researchers and students to investigate and interpret the thousands of archaeological artifacts that have been uncovered at the site.

Nassaney, who came to WMU in 1992, focuses his research on archaeological theory and method, political economy, ethnohistory, colonialism, regional analysis, material analysis and critical theory.

In addition to his University and Fort St. Joseph duties, he serves as secretary for the Society for Historical Archaeology, one of the world's largest scholarly groups of archaeologists; edits a University Press of Florida book series called "The American Experience in Archaeological Perspective"; and edits Le Journal, the quarterly publication of the Center for French Colonial Studies.

"Archaeology and Community Service Learning" is available at University Press of Florida online as well as from booksellers such as and

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400,

United We Serve Education Week!

United We Serve Education Week begins on Monday, July 27. This is a great opportunity for people across the country to learn about the important work you do, and to understand how critical service-learning is to strengthening our communities and creating a culture of civic engagement in this country.


A few ideas for Education Week and for throughout the summer:


·        Put the United We Serve logo/link on your website.

·        If you're recruiting volunteers, post opportunities to

·        Issue local and/or national press releases describing how what you do fits with the President's call to service, especially if you have an activity running during Education Week or later this summer, or if you can announce your plans for the fall. See sample media docs here and additional messaging points below.

·        Consider writing – or having one of your youth write – an op-ed describing the power of what you do and submit to local and national papers. Find a sample op-ed here.   

·        Submit stories (especially from youth) for the blog at to make sure service-learning is represented throughout the summer.

·        Begin planning for how you might use September 11, a new National Day of Service and Remembrance, to kick off your fall efforts.


If you do issue any United We Serve-related press releases, send emails to listservs, submit op-eds, etc, please also forward them to Phil Martin, Education Outreach Coordinator for United We Serve, at


This email also includes Education Week-specific language you may use in any way you choose, and a list of upcoming issue-focused weeks.


Thanks for all you're doing out there.


Elson Nash, Acting Director

Learn and Serve America

Corporation for National and Community Service



In the face of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, United We Serve seeks to harness the energy and ingenuity of Americans to renew their communities.  Throughout the summer, United We Serve will highlight the key challenges facing our nation and the ways that volunteers are providing solutions.  During Education Week, July 27 – August 2, United We Serve will focus on the countless Americans who strengthen communities by rolling up their sleeves to read with a child, volunteer at a library, or organize a book drive, among other education-related service activities.

United We Serve is President Obama's call to service challenging all Americans to engage in sustained, meaningful community service.  United We Serve initially runs from June 22 through a new National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11, but will grow into a sustained, collaborative and focused effort to promote service as a way of life for all Americans.  United We Serve is led by the Corporation for National and Community Service. For more information, visit

  • July 27 Education Week
  • Aug 03 Energy & Environment Week
  • Aug 10 Health Week
  • Aug 24 Safety & Security Week
  • Aug 31 Interfaith Service Week
  • Sep 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance



Friday, July 17, 2009

United We Serve: Build the Movement

United We Serve -


Thanks to you, United We Serve is off to a strong start. But we need your continued help reaching out to prospective volunteers in your communities in order to help President Obama grow this service movement. 

We have delivered the message that service is not simply a nice thing to do, rather it is critical to restoring America's promise. The First Lady has echoed the President's call to service. Entertainers and musicians are lending their star-power to the cause. The sports community is promoting United We Serve through public service announcements airing in media markets nationwide. Click here to watch the Major League Baseball video featured during the All Star Baseball Game this week.

These high-profile spokespeople are exciting, but we need your help reaching volunteers where they live, work and worship. Here are some simple ways to spread the word:

Engage your friends and colleagues:

Engage your community by using United We Serve media tools to invite local TV stations, newspapers and other bulletins to cover your activities, draw attention to the pressing community needs you are addressing, and help you recruit new volunteers. Download our media tools from the newsroom at and:

In addition, we encourage you to spread the word about United We Serve:

  • Submit an op-ed or a letter to the editor to your local newspaper about the importance of service
  • Plan a press conference for your organization to highlight an ongoing service activity and tie it to the President's call to service
  • Send a press release to local media outlets sharing the story of a volunteer or highlighting the impact of your organization
  • Record a public service announcement for your local radio station

Also, you are invited to join our public affairs team on a conference call to discuss press strategy and ask questions. Please RSVP to And join us:

Tuesday, July 21 at 2PM
Call in number: 800-369-2157
Passcode: 4794964

We appreciate your help as we work to spread the word about your service and this national initiative to all of America's communities. Meanwhile, check out our new "stories of service blog" at and test the new and improved search function to sort through over 250,000 volunteer opportunities.

In Service,

United We Serve Summer Team
Corporation for National and Community Service



Ordering Service-Learning Brochures

Learn and Serve America's National Service-Learning Clearinghouse distributes the majority of brochures and all items related to the Bring Learning to Life service-learning promotional campaign:


Other materials are available here:  by selecting Learn and Serve America materials.


If you have any difficulty in ordering the items you need, please don't hesitate to contact me directly,


Liberty Smith



Liberty Smith, Ph.D.

Program Manager

Learn and Serve America's National Service-Learning Clearinghouse

America's Resource for Service-Learning Information

Toll-free 866-245-7378, ext. 139

Fax 831-430-9471


Looking for Youth Impacted by Service or Service-Learning

Dear Service-Learning Colleagues:

Here's an opportunity to spotlight a young person whose life has been impacted by service-learning.

Shirley Sagawa is working on a new book about the impact of service.
She's looking for an example or two of a young person who was lost but
began serving through an organized program (in or out of school), found
purpose, and turned his/her life around academically or otherwise.

The young person can be any background. Current age is not important,
but would be good if youth was around middle school age when they were
introduced to service. We can change the names if privacy is desired.

She's not necessarily looking for your typical award winners who are
often huge go-getters. She's trying to illustrate the power of service to change the lives of young people who aren't superstars.

She needs names as soon as possible. You can email me directly at


Nelda Brown
Executive Director
National Service-Learning Partnership

August 22 workshop explores Civic Education through Constitution Day activities


Taking Liberties

A Celebration of America’s Constitutional Freedoms

Constitution Day in Your School and Classroom


Saturday, August 22, 2009 - 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

San Joaquin County Office of Education, 2707 Transworld Drive, Stockton, CA

K-12 Teachers and Administrators are invited


No Fee Required

Morning Refreshments and Lunch Provided

$100 stipend is available for teachers who attend the conference and

send evidence of implementing a Constitution Day activity in their classroom.


Keynote – Stephen R. Routh – CSU Stanislaus

“Drawing the Constitutional Line: Free Speech and Its Limits”



On Thursday, September 17, 2009, schools throughout America will celebrate our nation’s commitment to freedom at the official Constitution and Citizenship Day Celebration in compliance with a 2005 federal law.


This conference will inspire educators about the importance of celebrating the oldest constitution in the world and the ideals and structures it has set for our nation to govern for the common good while protecting individual freedom. In addition to the session handouts, all participants will receive a CD of resources for implementing Constitution Day celebrations in their own schools.


Questions contact Connie Schaffer 209-468-9082 or


Register online at:



Veray Wickham

Community Involvement Coordinator/Regional Service Learning Lead

San Joaquin County Office of Education

(209) 468-9021


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Position Announcement: Youth Service Calfifornia: Program Director

Youth Service California 
Title: Program Director
Reports to: Deputy Director
Work Hours: Full time; occasional evening and weekend work required.
Classification:  Exempt

Organizational Background:
Youth Service California's mission is "Making service a meaningful part of every young person's life." We envision young people transforming themselves and their communities, civically, educationally, spiritually and emotionally through service.  In order to achieve this vision, we look for the multiplier effect when choosing our work:  we work with teachers who then have an effect on hundreds of students each, with organizations that interact with hundreds or thousands of young people, with regional, statewide, national and international groups.  We focus our work in areas where we have the greatest opportunity to engage youth in making a real difference and improvement in their lives and communities.

We achieve this work through a variety of programs, including:

Yes We Can:  Youth Serving California, which brings together young people from community- and faith-based organizations, and K-12 schools to use service-learning as a way to tackle issues of concern to them in neighborhoods across California. 

Cesar E. Chavez Afterschool Service Clubs bring service-learning to Title I middle schools around the state.

CATALYST Youth Service Ambassadors, trains and utilizes high school youth in promoting and advocating for high quality service-learning and youth development.

The Regional Service-Learning Leads Network, a group of adult service-learning leaders who provide training, support, and program development in service-learning across the state.

Annual California Service-Learning Leadership Institute, offering engaging professional development for service-learning practitioners, and advances the best thinking and practice in the field. 

We also promote our work though a cadre of publications and fee-for-service training modules.  In general, we provide leadership and resources to California for service-learning and high quality youth service.

Position Summary:

As head of the Program Team, the Program Director is responsible for program development, implementation and evaluation of all current & upcoming programs, fee-for-service work, and publications. The Yes We Can: Youth Serving California initiative is the newest YSCal program and will be a major focus of the Program Director's efforts.  The Program Director is key figure in the YSCal operating structure and will provides leadership and advice to the overall organization. 

Essential Knowledge:

The Program Director should know how to design, implement, manage, evaluate, and adapt a variety of program plans.  His/her academic and experiential background should demonstrate awareness of broad social issues, the role and importance of service, and effective program management techniques.

Essential Skills:

The Program Director must have the ability to lead others, especially by his/her own example, and work comfortably in a team setting.  S/he must be able to write curricula, facilitate workshops and trainings. The Program Director must be able to think creatively and envision new approaches. S/he needs the ability to implement effective evaluation strategies and adapt YSCal programs based on the results. 

Essential Attitudes:

The Program Director must be a creative, responsible, proactive, and effective member of the YSCal team.  S/he should be community-focused and constantly strive to create stronger bonds with our partners and reach out to new individuals and groups to implement YSCal's vision.  Above all, the Program Director needs to embody the belief that being of service to others is one of the key paths to discovering our real selves and to creating real change in the world.

Essential Functions: 

The Program Director will fulfill two essential functions: 

1)  Director of Yes We Can: Youth Serving California. The Program Director will oversee the continuing evolution, implementation and evaluation of this signature YSCal program.

2)  Director of YSCal Programs:  The Program Director oversees all the operations of all YSCal programs, ensuring they are fully integrated into one another. S/he is also responsible for monitoring compliance with all contractual agreements. Along with the Executive and Deputy Director, s/he takes the lead role in envisioning and concreting the ways in which we can more fully fulfill our mission to make service a meaningful part of every young person's life.

Specific Qualifications

• Three-to-five years experience in hands-on program management.
• Exceptional leadership, organizational, interpersonal, and troubleshooting skills.
• Proven ability to meet multiple deadlines, balance numerous projects, and work in a team context as well as independently.
• Understanding of financial management, budgeting, and administrative systems.
• Working knowledge of Macintosh computers and MS Office software.
• Strong writing skills.
• Proven commitment to youth, with a specific focus on youth service and/or service-learning.
• Commitment to multiculturalism, social responsibility, and progressive change. 

Start date: September 1, 2009

Salary: DOE

Benefits: Full medical, dental and vision (staff member only, not dependents)

Please email cover letter and resume by July 27, 2009 to:

Youth Service California has a strong commitment to equal opportunity in employment. We seek a diversified staff that closely represents the demographics of the state of California

Monday, July 13, 2009

July 2009 NYLC Leader

The monthly newsletter of the National Youth Leadership Council

July 9, 2009
Volume VI, Issue 6

Upcoming Events/Deadlines

Call Now to Fund the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. The House and Senate are taking action on the appropriations for the funding of the Corporation for National and Community Service, including Learn and Serve America. Starting this week and continuing for at least the next month, Congress will be debating funding levels. Your voice needs to be heard.

» Learn more about how to take action.

National Urban Service-Learning Institute. Join us for this annual two-day event that focuses on applying the principles of service-learning in urban environments. Regular Institute registration must be postmarked July 15, 2009.

» Learn more about the National Urban Service-Learning Institute.

Alec Dickson Servant Leader Award Nominate someone for the Alec Dickson Servant Leader Award. Nomination package must be received by 4:00 p.m., Monday, August 14, 2009.

» Learn more about the Alec Dickson Servant Leader Award.

NYLC Partners with Obama Service-Learning Elementary

After more than a year of researching, planning, and piloting service-learning school-wide, the Saint Paul School Board made it official on May 19, 2009 — Webster Magnet Elementary changed its name to Barack and Michelle Obama Service-Learning Elementary. To help strengthen and expand the school's new vision, Obama Service-Learning Elementary and NYLC have established a strong and wide-ranging partnership. 

» Learn more about the partnership.

NYLC Welcomes Youth Fellows

NYLC is excited to welcome a cohort of Fellows this summer. These young people are working on various aspects of NYLC including the National Youth Leadership Training, the G. Bernard Gill Legacy Project, the National Urban Service-Learning Institute, and the Barack and Michelle Obama Service-Learning Elementary summer leadership program in St. Paul, Minn.

» Learn more about the Fellows.

Making the Case for Service-Learning

NYLC, along with eight other service-learning organizations, recently submitted a letter to the Corporation for National and Community Service following the listening tour on the new Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.

» Learn more about making the case for academic service-learning.

© 2009 National Youth Leadership Council ®

1667 Snelling Ave North, Suite D300, Saint Paul, MN 55108
Phone (651) 631-3672 Fax (651) 631-2955

Friday, July 10, 2009

Help ensure that service-learning is accessable to all students: Recruiting People with Disabilities

The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act contains many references to the active participation of individuals with disabilities as service members and volunteers including:

1. outreach to agencies and organizations serving veterans and individuals with disabilities, and other institutions or organizations from which participants can be recruited and;

2. collaborate with organizations with demonstrated expertise in supporting and accommodating individuals with disabilities, including institutions of higher education, to identify and implement methods of recruitment to increase the number of participants who are individuals with disabilities in the programs receiving assistance under the national service laws

Many national disability organizations embrace and promote national service and volunteering as valued options for their constituents with disabilities and serve as excellent venues for recruitment efforts. The Association on Higher Education and Disability ( ); the Association on University Centers on Disability ( and ); the National Down Syndrome Congress ( ); and National Council on Independent Living ( ) each have state member organizations and affiliates which can be identified through the national websites provided above.

Feel free to contact NSIP to assist with efforts to recruit individuals with disabilities. We are happy to help you connect to specific state and local disability organizations.

Best to you,

Paula Sotnik, Director

National Service Inclusion Project

888-491-0326 (toll-free voice and TTY)

The National Service Inclusion Project (NSIP) is a training and technical assistance provider on disability inclusion, under a cooperative agreement (#08TAHMA001) from Corporation for National and Community Service. NSIP partners with the Association on University Centers on Disability, National Council on Independent Living, Association on Higher Education and Disability and National Down Syndrome Congress to build connections between disability organizations and all CNCS grantees, including national directs, to increase the participation of people with disabilities in national service.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Planning to Plant- Garden/nutrition grants

Planning to Plant
  July 6, 2009  

"More things grow in the garden than the gardener sows." - Spanish proverb

Set aside a few minutes now to plan a gardening project in 2010 and apply for a 2009 Healthy Sprouts Award.

These awards offered through the National Gardening Association support youth garden programs that teach about nutrition and the issue of hunger in the United States.

Your 2010 gardening project must include at least 15 children and youth between the ages of 3 and 18. The selection of winners is based on the demonstrated relationship between the garden program and nutrition and hunger issues in the United States.

Awards will be presented to 20 organizations. Each program will receive gift certificates toward the purchase of gardening materials from sponsor Gardner's Supply Company. The top five will each receive a certificate valued at $500; 15 more will each receive a $200 gift certificate. Other prizes include a National Gardening Association Eat a Rainbow Kit, containing taste education and nutrition lessons.

For more information and to download an application, go to The application deadline is Oct. 17.

For proven and practical resources, please visit our Web site at
School-Age NOTES

phone: 1-800-410-8780

Redesigning education with service-learning ~ by Anthony Salcito, General Manager- US Education, Microsoft Corporation

I'm on the West coast this week, and in San Francisco yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak at the Corporation for National and Community Service organization's 2009 National Conference on Volunteering and Service. We announced at the event that Microsoft and the Corporation are partnering to build a virtual, student-driven technical support helpdesk for US educators and non-profits. Over the next three years, we'll create this program together which aligns to President Obama's United We Serve initiative. We think this will be a great service-learning opportunity to better connect our nation's students technical knowledge and enthusiasm with the needs of our nation's teachers. 

I am a huge advocate for infusing service-learning into K12 education. Service-learning is an approach to teaching and learning that combines classroom academic instruction with civic duty in the community and reflection. I think service-learning is a key vehicle for students to gain 21st century skills, to better prepare them for the workforce and to keep them excited about learning. I've always had a passion for service. Early in my career at Microsoft, I worked with the Girl Scouts to help them use technology to more efficiently sell their cookies, and later I helped create EduConnect, a Microsoft program where employees volunteer and become education evangelists in their local schools and/or at their alma maters. The goal is to get kids to look at technology as much more than just social networking, but to realize the impact it can have on the world around them. 
The pervasiveness of community service and service-learning in schools is not widespread yet. According to the Corporation's research, only 24% of K12 schools offer service-learning and the benefits are positive -- young people are more likely to be committed to volunteerism in adulthood that will last a lifetime, and it has positive impact on their social behavior, habits and attitudes.

In New Mexico, our US Partners in Learning team is partnering with the Office of the Governor and New Mexico Public Education Department to develop innovative education and technology solutions that not only help students define college and career goals, but also help catalyze local economic development. In the town of Loving, high school students are learning construction trades and business and computer skills, and putting those skills to work to build affordable housing to help rejuvenate their community. This hands-on learning experience is putting renewed classroom focus on science, technology, math and entrepreneurship that will help prepare the students for today's workplace. Along with the hard labor, students work with an architect on the house plans and with local bankers on financing. (Check out some pictures on the right.) The kids are so committed to this project…even the graduating seniors are sacrificing a portion of their summer to help complete construction of the house which should be ready for new homeowners later this summer.

We are also working with the National Career and Technical Education Foundation (NCTEF) to identify other high schools across the country that are providing a rigorous academic programs and hands-on, careers-based learning experiences. We are developing best practice guides to document the success of the high schools.  These guides titled, "Redesigning the High School Experience for College and Career Readiness," present a clear picture of the steps involved in implementing this type of service-learning high school experience.  You can read more about the New Mexico project here and learn more about the importance of partnerships, ongoing community buy-in and support, and most importantly the service-learning benefits to students.

I would like your feedback on the usefulness of these guides, and I'd be interested to learn more about what your schools are doing to incorporate volunteering and service-learning into curriculum.


(To provide feedback to Anthony Salcito about this message, visit his original blog post:

About Me

The CalServe Network posts news and updates of interest to the service-learning field in California. News and updates are drawn from the CalServe List Serve and the National K-12 Service-Learning List Serve and various other sources.