Tuesday, January 26, 2010

S-L "Rookie Track" at the National S-L Conf

New to the field of service-learning?


Check out the "Rookie Track"



The National Service Learning Conference, the largest gathering of youth and adults involved in service-learning, is the premiere opportunity for service learning professional development. Workshops are provided to meet a variety of experience and interest levels. The National Youth Leadership Council in partnership with the Institute for Global Education & Service Learning is proud to present the 2010 Rookie Track, a series of engaging workshops designed for those new to the field.


 Attend all six sessions or just the ones that interest you!


IPARD – An Introduction to the Service Learning Process

The power of service learning comes from a young person's active involvement in thoughtfully organized service experiences that allow him/her to learn and develop while meeting real community needs. This engaging session will allow participants to walk through the nationally recognized, researched based, best practice steps of the service learning process.



Promoting Youth Voice to Ensure Meaningful Service

What is youth voice/ownership and how does it influence meaningful service? What does youth voice look like throughout the entire service learning process? Join us to learn why and how active youth engagement can increase the academic, civic, and social impact of service learning programs.


Reflection for the Rookie

What is Reflection? Why should we do it? When? Where? How? Join us in this lively workshop as we explore the philosophy and purpose of reflection while experiencing creative activities which can be applied to a variety of curriculum areas and a multitude of projects.



Standards + Service = Curriculum Integration

From broad learning goals to specific objectives and standards, participants will learn how to connect learning to meaningful service in this fun and interactive workshop.  Opportunities to practice starting with "service" or "learning" will be provided to enable youth and adults to apply this standard today!


Reciprocal Partnerships: Why Should I Work With You?

Coordination, cooperation, or collaboration -- what kinds or partnerships do you want to create and why?  Benefits of effective partnerships, tips, techniques, and steps to building reciprocal relationships will be explored through engaging activities and discussions in this introductory level session.


Progress Monitoring

How we ensure students, teachers, parents, community partners, and funders understand the impact of learning and service in a service-learning program? This interactive workshop for those new to the field will clarify the difference between assessment and evaluation while providing simple examples and thought proving questions for applying this Standard to everyday practice.


For more information or to register for the 21st Annual National Service Learning Conference March 24-27, 2010 in San Jose, California visit  http://nslc.nylc.org/  today!


See you in San Jose,



Joan Lennon Liptrot
Executive Director
Institute for Global Education & Service Learning
2222 Trenton Rd
Lower Left Suite
Levittown, PA 19056
Ph:  (215) 945-8118
Fax: (215) 945-1818


"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain!" - Vivien Greene


Monday, January 25, 2010

Grants and Awards

Grants & Awards from Youth Service America

Disney Friends for Change Grants (Deadline: January 29)
Disney's Friends for Change is a program that encourages kids everywhere to take steps together with their friends to help the planet. The Friends for Change Grants will fund kids' projects that help the environment and will look to engage children ages 5-18 as leaders in their communities. Disney, working with YSA, will award 150 $500 grants throughout 2010.Disney's Friends for Change Grants are open to schools, organizations and individuals planning service projects and will focus on projects implemented by children and youth ages 5-18. The goal of each grant is to inspire children to work with their families, friends, schools and communities to address critical needs in their local, national and global communities. To be eligible, projects will need to be done any time during 2010 and should include one service or celebratory component on Global Youth Service Day, April 23-25, an annual campaign that mobilizes young people around the world to make a positive impact in their communities. www.YSA.org/grants

Get Ur Good On Grants (Deadline: February 22)
Get Ur Good On Grants are available for youth-led service initiatives on Global Youth Service Day, April 23-25, 2010. Available to children and youth around the world, YSA's Get Ur Good On Grants will award 100 $500 grants to support projects addressing critical community needs such as poverty, education, and environmental sustainability. Grant applications are due February 22, 2010. To learn more about Get Ur Good On Grants and to take the eligibility quiz, visit www.YSA.org/grants

Everyday Young Heroes Awards (Deadline: Ongoing)
Each week in the National Service Briefing, YSA features an Everyday Young Hero to highlight the achievements and commitment of a young person to service. Everyday Young Hero Award winners will receive a certificate and award letter and will be featured on YSA's website. Youth selected as Everyday Young Heroes are also considered for YSA's other awards, including YSA Service Stars and the Harris Wofford Award. To nominate a young person who has demonstrated a passion for service, please visit www.YSA.org/awards/hero



Service-Learning Excellence in Teacher Education Award (Extended Deadline: January 29)

Teachers are at the heart of any successful effort to initiate, expand, or sustain service-learning in K-12 schools and communities. Teachers must be inspired and prepared to use service-learning as an instructional strategy in their classrooms. As an increasing number of undergraduate programs and graduate schools of education begin to actively prepare educators to use service-learning as a pedagogy, we are learning more about effective practice and policies needed to support the implementation of service-learning in teacher education. The National Service-Learning Partnership is pleased to join with the State Farm Companies Foundation and the International Center for Service-Learning in Teacher Education (ICSLTE) to honor teacher education programs that make a significant commitment to improving the quality of teaching and learning in preparing teachers and schools leaders to use service-learning as an instructional strategy. Nominations must be received by January 29, 2010. The 2010 honoree will be publicly recognized at the State Farm® Awards Celebration at the 2010 National Service-Learning Conference in San Jose, CA, March 24-27, 2010. www.service-learningpartnership.org

Coming Up Taller Awards (Deadline: January 29)

The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities is inviting nominations for its Coming Up Taller Awards, which recognize and reward excellence in after-school and out-of-school arts and humanities programs. Award recipients receive $10,000 each, an individualized plaque and an invitation to attend the annual Coming Up Taller Leadership Enhancement Conference. The President's Committee encourages programs initiated by museums, libraries, performing arts organizations, universities, colleges, arts centers, community service organizations, schools, businesses, and eligible government entities to send in a nomination. Embarking on its thirteenth year, the Coming Up Taller Awards honor after-school and out-of-school programs that are tangible examples of the power of the arts and the humanities to encourage young people's creativity and to provide them with learning opportunities, chances to contribute to their community, and ways to take responsibility for their own futures.www.pcah.gov/news/cut2010Nominations.htm

Sprint Character Education Grants (Deadline: February 5)

Through the Sprint Character Education Grant Program, the Sprint Foundation will award grants to school districts and individual schools to fund the purchase of resource materials, supplies, equipment and software that facilitates and encourages character education among K-12 students. With a national reach, the program is open to all US public schools (K-12) and US public school districts. The Sprint Character Education Grant program will accept applications for Character Education programs that promote youth leadership, youth volunteerism, school pride and a positive school culture. www.sprint.com/responsibility/education/character

Learn and Serve America Higher Education Grants (Deadline: March 9)
Subject to the availability of appropriations for fiscal year 2010, the Corporation for National and Community Service (the Corporation) announces the anticipated availability of approximately $7.3 million to award new Learn and Serve America Higher Education grants. Grants will be awarded to an estimated seven to nine individual institutions ranging from approximately $85,000 to $200,000 annually for a project period of up to three years, and an estimated seven to eleven consortia ranging from approximately $200,000 to $500,000 for a project period up to three years. The purpose of the Learn and Serve America Higher Education program is to support institutions of higher education that use innovative service-learning programming to meet the needs of local communities.

Learn and Serve America School-Based Grants to Indian Tribes and U.S. Territories (Deadline: March 9)
The Corporation for National and Community Service announces the availability of $650,070 for new Learn and Serve America School-Based grants to Indian Tribes and U.S. Territories to involve school-age youth in service-learning projects that simultaneously support student development and meet community needs. The Corporation anticipates that grants will be awarded to an estimated three to five Indian Tribes and U.S. Territories with awards ranging from approximately $45,000 to $120,000 annually for a project period of up to three years.

Sign up to receive the weekly GrantStation Insider from GrantStation.com and Youth Service America with news about new funding programs, upcoming deadlines, conferences, seminars, and more.





Sprint Character Education Grant - due Feb 5th

Dear Friend of CHARACTER COUNTS! (CC!),


There's still time to apply for the Sprint Character Education Grant Program.  Applications are due on February 5, 2010, and the application is easy to complete.  There are very few grants specifically designated for character education - so we hope that you take advantage of this opportunity!


The Sprint Foundation is offering grants for K-12 public schools and school districts. The grant funds character education teacher training and curriculum as well as projects for service learning and leadership/mentor training. This opportunity fits perfectly with CHARACTER COUNTS! and is an excellent opportunity to begin or enhance your CC! initiative. Several schools and districts used the Sprint Grant to do just that in last year's application cycle.


Individual schools may apply for grants up to $5,000, and school districts may apply for grants up to $25,000. Again, the grant is limited to public schools and school districts - which includes public charter schools - for projects and activities in the 2010-2011 school year.


Applications are available online now at: http://www.sprint.com/responsibility/education/character/index.html.  Specific questions about the grant should be directed to the Sprint Foundation at: education@sprint.com.


We offer consultative support on shaping your desired CHARACTER COUNTS! implementation plan to meet the priorities of the grant. If you plan to apply, please call our national office at (800) 711-2670 so we can be of assistance to you!




Jessica Berlinski

National Director


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Environmental Grants and Awards

From the CREEC Network January NewsLetter.. !! Thanks CREEC !!




Ocean Guardian Grant

Deadline: February 1, 2010

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is offering Ocean Guardian grants of $2,000- $6,000

to a number of California schools whose students create a school or community-based conservation

project that protects their local watershed and the ocean. K-12 schools in the following counties are

eligible: Marin, San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Monterey, San Benito,

San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura. This website also offer lesson plans and videos on

ocean education. For more information, visit http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/education/ocean_guardian/.



Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence (AASTE)

Deadline: February 5, 2010

The Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence is an annual awards program that recognizes

extraordinary contributions by K-12 educators across the U.S. and Canada who are elevating the level

of science literacy through creativity in the classroom and motivation of students. An independent

panel of judges selects the winners based on the following criteria: creativity and effectiveness of

teaching methods; plans for the use of grant money to improve science education resources in their

schools; and submission of a science lesson plan showcasing innovative methods in the classroom.

Thirty-four science teachers will be awarded an unrestricted cash grant of $5,000, and their schools

will receive a restricted grant of $5,000 to be used to expand or enhance the school’s science program,

purchase new science resources, or further the professional development of their science teachers. For

more information, visit http://www.amgen.com/citizenship/aaste.html.



Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grant Program

Deadline: February 12, 2010

Raise up to $5,000 for your school in minutes. It’s almost that easy when you take advantage of

Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant program. Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation knows

how hard people work for their kids and community. They are dedicated to helping parent-teacher

groups achieve even more for schools. Apply for the Toolbox for Education Grant now and build on

your success with a Lowe’s grant. To apply, visit http://toolboxforeducation.com/index.html.


U.S. EPA National Environmental Video Competition

Deadline: February 16, 2010

The U.S. EPA is sponsoring a video contest that challenges filmmakers and students to produce short,

creative videos that highlight the Three Rs of individual consumption: reduce, reuse, and recycle. The

EPA will award cash prizes up to $2,500 and will be accepting video submissions through February

16, 2010. The competition “Our Planet, Our Stuff, Our Choice” calls for short, creative videos that

examine consumption and recycling and offer community based solutions. Entries should be 30-60

seconds in length and promote steps individuals and organizations can take to minimize negative

environmental impacts within their communities on the following topics: Reducing and reusing,

Recycling, Composting, and Consumption and its effect on environmental footprint. To enter, visit



Call for Young Eco-Hero Nominations and Applications

Deadline: February 28, 2010

Calling all Young Eco-Heroes for this annual Action For Nature juried contest. Cash prizes and other

gifts are awarded to young people, 8 to 16 years of age, who have initiated and achieved outstanding

environmental success, and whose efforts will inspire others. Guidelines and application form

available on the Web site. Nominations encouraged. To apply, visit http://www.actionfornature.org/


Young Naturalist Awards 2010

Deadline: March 1, 2010

The American Museum of Natural History announces the 13th annual Young Naturalist Award, a

research-based essay contest for students in grades 7-12 to promote participation and communication

in science. To learn more, visit www.amnh.org/yna.



Arbor Day Poster Contest “Trees are Terrific…and Energy Wise!”

Deadline: March 1, 2010

Fifth Grade Educators and their students are invited to participate in the annual Arbor Day

Poster Contest, a program of the National Arbor Day Foundation, and sponsored in

California by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) and the

California Community Forests Foundation. We hope you will use the contest activity to help your

students learn more about how trees provide many environmental benefits – including capturing and

storing energy. To apply, visit http://www.arborday.org/kids/postercontest/.


Recycle Rex

Deadline: March 13, 2010

Register your K–6th grade classes for Recycle Rex’s Statewide Recycle Challenge beginning October

26, 2009. The registration form will be available at the Department of Conservation’s web site. You

may register by email or regular mail. The winners will be announced on Earth Day, April 22, 2010!

To register, visit http://www.conservation.ca.gov/dor/rre/Pages/index.aspx.



Bright Ideas Grants: PG&E Solar Schools Program

Deadline: March 20, 2010

Spring 2010 grant applications are now being accepted that promote environmental

stewardship in the following categories: Educational Solar Projects; Youth Energy and

Environmental Programs; Renewable energy or Science Related Field Trips; Green Your

School Projects; and Professional Development/Service Learning Projects/Workforce Development

Programs. For more information, visit www.need.org/pgesolarschools.



International Children's Painting Competition

Deadline: April 15, 2010

The United Nations Environment Programme's International Children's Painting Competition invites

young people (ages 6-14) to submit their paintings on the theme to the relevant UNEP Regional

Office. This year's theme is Biodiversity: Connecting with Nature. The competition encourages

children from all parts of the world to focus on particular environmental issues and how these issues

affect their communities. Regional winners will be announced on World Environment Day, June 5,

2010. The regional first prize winners will each receive a cash prize and a trip for themselves and an

accompanying adult to the Tunza International Children’s Conference in Aichi, Japan, August 2010.

For more information, visit http://www.unep.org/tunza/children/inner.asp?ct=co...




Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Webinar: Using Inclusive Social Media in National Service to Recruit Individuals with Disabilities

The National Service Inclusion Project is pleased to announce a January web conference to be held on Wednesday, January 27th. This web conference will focus on how to make social media inclusive to everyone and how usage of social media can benefit service programs. This will be accomplished by reviewing different kinds of social media, ways to apply social media to recruitment efforts, and ensuring website accessibility for people with disabilities.

Date: Wednesday, January 27th, Time: 1pm – 2pm EST

There has been increasing interest in learning how social media technologies can be applied to service programs. This webinar will build on that interest by discussing what social media is and how to make it inclusive to recruit people with disabilities. Specifically, we will discuss how social media can be used to:
-Connect and recruit to a wider audience of people interested in service
-Broadcast exciting things that are happening in a program to others in service
-Provide information via social media regarding recruitment and upcoming events

Featured Speakers:
Jason Scott
Training Officer/ e-Learning Specialist
Office of Leadership Development and Training
Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)

Jeff Coburn
Senior Web Specialist
Institute for Community Inclusion

To register for this event, please email nsip@umb.edu by 12:00 PM EST on Tuesday, January 26th with the following info:

-If you require CART* to participate, please also indicate that in your email.

Please note: We will send out confirmation emails by Tuesday afternoon, January 26th with instructions how to sign into the web conference.

*CART service provides instantaneous translation of the speech text using real-time software. Teleconference participants receive caption services over the web. This is an accommodation we provide to participants who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

The National Service Inclusion Project (NSIP) is training and technical assistance provider on disability inclusion, under a cooperative agreement (#08TAHMA001) from Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). 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 among disability organizations and all CNCS grantees, to increase the participation of people with disabilities in national service.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Ideas from YSA for Haiti Relief and Disaster Preparedness

Share information & ideas about how to help Haiti.

One of the best ways for youth to help is to share information and ideas of how to help and ask your friends, family, teachers, and community members to join you.

Use your Facebook and Twitter accounts to share information and ideas about how you can help, including fundraising ideas (see more below.)

For example, see Tweets from Usher's Powered By Service with information and ideas on Twitter @PowerByService or

If you have any more ideas about how young people can support the relief efforts, submit them on Youth Service America's Facebook fan page or reply to @YouthService on Twitter, using #youthrelief.

Also, with so much "breaking news," it's important to make sure we spread confirmed news and not rumors. Be responsible before you retweet information or post to Facebook and check your sources.

Fundraise and donate to relief organizations.

How To Raise Money
This tipsheet from Youth Service America contains a list of basic fundraising ideas:

Where To Donate
Serve.gov, the State Department, and USAID, the federal agency coordinating the U.S. federal government response, all recommend donating to the Red Cross.

The United Nations Foundation is calling on its partners and friends to add their support by contributing to the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which is the UN's humanitarian fund responding to emergencies like the earthquake in Haiti.  Donations can be made on-line at www.unfoundation.org/donate/cerf.html

The Huffington Post, The Clinton Foundation, and Interaction each list dozens of other organizations, including UNICEF, Operation USA, Save the Children, and MercyCorps.

Give Blood
According to the Red Cross Web site, you can be as young as 17 and donate blood. In fact, with your parents' permission, you can donate blood at the age of 16. The Red Cross is reporting that, while they always encourage blood donations, they are meeting the demands in Haiti with their current supply. But if this event inspires you to give, put that inspiration to good use and pull up your shirt sleeves. To learn more about donor eligibility, or to find a blood bank in your community, visit www.RedCrossBlood.org

Prepare for the next disaster or emergency.

This disaster is also a reminder about the importance of being prepared and ready to respond to any disaster or emergency, especially one in your own community. Here are a few resources to engage youth in service-learning projects focused on disaster preparedness.

Disaster Relief & Preparedness Through Service-Learning Module
Issue-based module and resource guide designed to engage youth in service-learning initiatives that addresses the issue of disaster relief and preparedness.

Guide to Service Learning for Disaster Preparation
This guide is designed as a resource and reference for anyone who is interested in engaging youth/students in service-learning focused on disaster preparation, response, mitigations, and/or recovery. The first section provides useful background information on service-learning, emergency management, and how to focus youth service-learning in this critical area. The second portion of the guide is a set of detailed descriptions and photographs of 20 of the funded projects in Florida. These descriptions provide contact information, background and details about activities, data on project impacts.

Prepare Today - Lead Tomorrow Teen Toolkit

This toolkit was created to support teen community preparedness service-learning experiences. It provides background information on community preparedness and service-learning and takes teens through the entire process of designing a service-learning project, assessment, and reflection. It also includes over a dozen worksheets and several project ideas.



Thursday, January 14, 2010

MLK Day Projects Address National Challenges

National Challenges Addressed on MLK Day
Fighting Poverty, Community Renewal, and Economic Empowerment Focus of Projects on National Day of Service
Washington, DC—  In projects taking place across the nation on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, Americans will further Dr. King's work by addressing the challenges facing many American families, from hunger and homelessness to poverty and education inequality.
"This year, we're seeing more projects focused on helping those suffering during these tough economic times," said Nicola Goren, Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency charged with leading the MLK Day of Service. "By serving on King Day, hundreds of thousands of Americans will make real and lasting impacts on the lives of people in need in their communities."
The breadth and scope of the MLK Day projects are in keeping with Dr. King's efforts to "outlaw poverty," a task to which he increasingly focused on after the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act. Over the course of his life, Dr. King challenged and mobilized our nation toward his dream of a "Beloved Community," a truly interracial democracy that afforded everyone the opportunity to achieve the American dream.  
More than forty years after his death, America still confronts many of the same problems Dr. King faced in his time -- poverty, hunger, illiteracy, youth violence, and a dropout crisis.  Organizations across the country are using the King Day of Service to engage volunteers in addressing these challenges, both on the holiday and as part of an ongoing commitment throughout the year.  
Below are some of the projects taking place across the country.  Thousands more can be found at www.Serve.gov/mlkday.
Renewing Our Communities
·         A job fair in Lexington, KY, will include helping participants develop on-line resumes and providing free business clothing to job seekers in need.
·         An outdoor soup kitchen, clothing distribution, and other social services will be offered at the Martin Luther King Library in Washington, DC.
·         Five hundred volunteers in Jersey City will assemble "first night kits" of toiletries and clothing for people in domestic violence shelters and transitional housing facilities.
Fighting Poverty
·         Hundreds of students are fighting hunger through projects sponsored by Campus Kitchens at more than a dozen colleges.
·         An anti-hunger serve-a-thon features projects at 30 soup kitchens and food pantries in New York City.
·         In Dallas, volunteers will revitalize a 15-story building that will provide housing for hundreds of chronically homeless people and low-income residents.
Educating America's Children
·         In Seattle, the University of Washington is sponsoring dozens of projects for 1,500 students, faculty, and staff, including preparing educational supplies for youth.
·         In Des Moines, an MLK Jr. Day of Service Mentor Round Up will be held to recruit new mentors to help at-risk youth reach their potential.
·         Approximately 750 volunteers will revitalize the Van Nuys Middle School in Los Angeles by painting education-themed murals and hosting a variety of service-learning activities.  
Promoting Environmental Sustainability
·         Denver residents will receive information on reducing energy use, free recycling services and energy audits from the Mile High Youth Corps.  
·         In St. Louis, 2,000 volunteers will perform minor repairs and weatherization of homes, places of worship, schools and daycare facilities, and clean streets and alleys.
·         Students and conservationists in Charlotte, NC, will remove invasive plants from a streambed that is an important breeding ground for birds and native plants.  
Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service:
In 1994, Congress passed legislation encouraging Americans to observe the King Holiday as a national day of service that brings people together from different backgrounds to meet needs in their community. The Corporation for National and Community Service was designated as the lead federal agency to execute the King Day of Service. Participation has grown every year since then its inception. The King Day of Service provides American the opportunity to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King through service to meet local and national needs. For more information, visit www.Serve.gov/MLKDay or http://www.mlkday.gov/.
The Corporation for National and Community Service:
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service each year through its core programs, Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America, and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information about the Corporation, visit NationalService.gov.
The Service-Learning Listserv (K12-SL) is for the Learn and Serve America community for discussion and information sharing related to high quality service-learning and national service.

U.S. House Calls on Americans to Serve on King Day

Washington D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives is calling on Americans to pay tribute to the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by participating in community service projects on the January 18 King Holiday.


Earlier today, the House unanimously passed a resolution honoring Dr. King and expressing its continued commitment to observing the King holiday as a national day of service. The bipartisan resolution was spearheaded by members of the House National Service Congressional Caucus, led by co-chairs Representative Todd Platts (R-PA), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), and David Price (D-NC).


"As January 18th quickly approaches, I encourage my fellow Members of Congress and constituents to take advantage of the countless service activities available in your local communities," said Rep. Platts, who introduced the resolution.  "As we reflect on the great gift of compassion and selflessness that Dr. King has given us in both his life and death, may we remember his words, "Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve."


"Treating this day as a "day on, not a day off," by taking part in service projects is a fitting way to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.," Rep. Price said. "In fact, I expect he would encourage us to seek out opportunities for public service and civic engagement each and every day." 


In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this effort.


The Corporation has joined with the King Center and community groups, faith-based organizations, schools, and businesses nationwide to help Americans in every state turn King Day into a day of service to meet local needs.  Volunteers will be weatherizing homes, beautifying schools, providing job counseling, collecting and distributing food, and more.  Many organizations use King Day to kick off volunteer efforts that last throughout the year.


Americans are encouraged to visit Serve.gov/MLKDay to find volunteer opportunities in their communities and get ideas for creating their own projects.


Below is the text of the resolution: 


H. RES. 1002:  Honoring the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and encouraging the continued commitment to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a national day of service.


Whereas the King Holiday and Service Act, a law designating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a national day of volunteer service, was signed into law in 1994;


Whereas millions of individuals have been inspired by the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to serve their neighbors and communities every 3rd Monday of January;


Whereas the 2009 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service marked a milestone in the service movement, bringing together more than 1 million volunteers who served in more than 13,000 projects nationwide;


Whereas serving one's community for the betterment of every individual speaks to the high character, transformative world view, and everyday practice of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.;


Whereas the efforts of national service volunteers have been a steadfast foundation of our Nation's infrastructure, supporting not only individuals and families in need, but acting in response to national catastrophes and natural disasters;


Whereas the importance of service was recognized through the signing of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act (Public Law 111-13) in April 2009;


Whereas individuals have the opportunity to participate in thousands of scheduled community service projects and events all across the Nation, as well as to create and implement community service projects where a need for such projects has been identified;


Whereas the Corporation for National and Community Service is working with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change and thousands of other nonprofit, community, national service, and education organizations across the Nation to encourage individuals to serve on this holiday and throughout the year; and


Whereas leaders at the Federal, State, and local level are planning to use Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to rally our Nation to commit to serve and make an ongoing commitment to service: Now, therefore, be it


Resolved, That the House of Representatives--


(1) encourages all individuals in the United States to pay tribute to the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through participation in community service projects on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day;


(2) recognizes the inherent value of community service and volunteerism in the creation of civil society and as a means of non-violent community progress consistent with the works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.;


(3) recognizes the benefits of the collaborative work by the many organizations that promote, facilitate, and carry out needed service projects nationwide;


(4) encourages its members and colleagues to urge their constituents to participate in community service projects; and


(5) acknowledges that by serving one's country, one's community, and one's neighbor our Nation makes progress in civility, equality, and unity consistent with the values and life's work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service:

In 1994, Congress passed legislation encouraging Americans to observe the King Holiday as a national day of service that brings people together from different backgrounds to meet needs in their community. The Corporation for National and Community Service was designated as the lead federal agency to execute the King Day of Service. Participation has grown every year since its inception. The King Day of Service provides American the opportunity to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King through service to meet local and national needs. For more information, visit Serve.gov/MLKDay or MLKDay.gov.


The Corporation for National and Community Service:

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service each year through its core programs, Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America, and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information about the Corporation, visit NationalService.gov.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti Emergency Response

Many in the service-learning community are anxious to find ways to help with disaster relief in Haiti.
A good source of ideas, including links to books and article to help learn about Haiti is posted on Chris Sacca's Blog "What is left?"  Although not necessarily a site dedicated to service-learning, Chris lays out 5 respected organizations with reputations in disaster relief and/or work in Haiti.  Importantly, the posting encourages us to learn more about the history, politics and culture of Haiti. 
The blog also includes a very active comment section where readers are posting dozens of other avenues to help.  This may mark an important opportunity for students to engage in quick research and reflection:  How can we best serve Haiti? What organizations and projects can we trust to do a good job?  How do we pick an organization to support?  How can we prepare in advance to make these decisions and have resources ready in the future?  What can we do on an ongoing basis to help ourselves, our neighbors, our communites, and our world develop resiliency?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New York Times Article on Service Learning

Does Service Learning Really Help?


Published: December 29, 2009

NY Times

BETTY MEDINA LICHTENSTEIN used to dread the beginning of the school year, when students from colleges and universities around Holyoke, Mass., would descend on her tiny community organization, Enlace de Familias.

Skip to next paragraph "Suddenly, droves of students were walking through my door, interrupting my day and asking, 'What can I do here?' " she says. "A whole other crowd would send résumé after résumé after résumé expecting me to call them back. Still other ones would come in and say, 'How about some research on X?' in August and then show up in late October saying their thesis really needed to be about Y.

"It was total havoc."

This year, Ms. Medina Lichtenstein feels better about service learning. For their information technology capstone course at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, two students created a Web site and database management system that allow Ms. Medina Lichtenstein to complete in one day an annual report that used to take a week. Another two students embarked on an assessment of Enlace's information technology system with the aim of making it better.

Working with the students required just a few hours of Ms. Medina Lichtenstein's time. For the students, says Carol Soules, their professor, "it was a great practical experience, but a whole other aspect of it is that it helped them to see what the digital divide means in real life."

Ms. Medina Lichtenstein's experiences illustrate the good and the bad of service learning, loosely defined as community service that supplements and enhances what students learn in a classroom.

Volunteers, as any nonprofit leader will tell you (off the record, for fear of looking a gift horse . . .), can be as much a curse as a blessing, especially to an organization that lacks the administrative structure and money to train and supervise students. Some organizations pay a coordinator to direct volunteers, but most consider that a luxury they cannot afford.

"It's not unusual for the task of supervising students to fall to someone who already has plenty of responsibilities," says Elizabeth A. Tryon, the community learning coordinator at the Morgridge Center for Public Service at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. "If service learning is not well coordinated by the academic institution, it can place a lot of burden on the community partner."

A positive experience usually requires a considerable investment of time and planning on the part of academic institutions and faculty. Ideally, service learning enriches a particular course of study, and students have the opportunity to reflect in the classroom on their experiences. In reality, service learning often seems unconnected to any curriculum — painting park benches, for example. At its most basic, it can be hard to distinguish from plain vanilla community service.

"The best service learning really involves a process something like old-fashioned matchmaking," says Andrea Dolan-Potter, whose former job as assistant director of the East Madison Community Center in Wisconsin exposed her to service learning.

This town/gown divide is explored in "The Unheard Voices: Community Organizations and Service Learning," published last summer by Temple University Press and mostly written by students at the University of Wisconsin who, as part of a research seminar, interviewed staff members of 64 nonprofit organizations.

Some community leaders spoke ofstudent volunteers having too little time to get much meaningful experience or to justify a significant investment of time to train them. Others told of students arriving on their doorsteps with little guidance or preparation from their professors and expecting to change the world in 20 hours over a single semester. Some felt that their clients were guinea pigs for students doing research, without any return for them.

"Academic institutions are focused on making sure their students learn from the service-learning experience, but they aren't always paying similar attention to the interests of the organizations that provide that experience, much less the clients they serve," says Randy Stoecker, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, who edited the book with Ms. Tryon.

Arriving as the Obama administration is making volunteerism and other forms of civic engagement a cornerstone of its higher-education agenda, the book raises questions about how much benefit results from student efforts. That's something that Karen Sánchez-Eppler, a professor at Amherst College, has wondered about. Two decades ago, Ms. Sánchez-Eppler made community service part of her syllabus for "Reading, Writing and Teaching," a required English course. Every semester, some of her students spend 20 hours assisting teachers at Holyoke High School in Holyoke, Mass. They help struggling students, supervise a student group putting out a poetry magazine and conduct writing workshops. Last year, 25 teachers applied for eight tutors from the class.

Skip to next paragraph"That program has been useful to individual kids there and supporting and invigorating for the teachers," Ms. Sánchez-Eppler says, "but it really has had little to no institutional impact. During the 20 years of this course, the school has continued to have high dropout rates, low test scores, high teen pregnancy rates."

Holyoke High has far less lofty expectations."A program of her size would have minimal impact," David Dupont, the principal, says. "However, just the fact that her students are benefiting along with ours to any degree is worth having it at Holyoke High School."

THE horse got a little before the cart," says Ms. Soules, who in addition to teaching directs service learning at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. "The concept of service learning really took off before the infrastructure was in place to support it," she says.

Last academic year, more than 3,000 students at her campus engaged in service learning under the tutelage of 67 professors teaching 105 courses. Ms. Soules would prefer that all of those experiences occur in small courses spanning a year, so that students have time to immerse themselves, but she knows that is not possible. "We have all different levels of service learning," she says. "When it takes place in an introductory course with a hundred students who are spending two hours a week, sometimes they do end up answering phones, filing, sweeping the floors and sorting clothes."

"But," she adds, "it gives them exposure to different communities, which is valuable, and in fact those are the things many nonprofits need done."

It was in the mid-1980s that service learning took off, with the establishment of organizations like Campus Compact and Youth Service America, whose mission is to spur national service efforts among youth. Today, most colleges and universities incorporate service learning in their curriculums, and some departments require at least one course; in 2008, Tulane made a service-­learning course part of the required core curriculum.

No one knows how many students participate in service learning nationwide, but 1.2 million students and 22,000 community organizations are involved in programs with grants from the Corporation for National and Community Service, a government agency that is perhaps the largest financer of programs.

Elson B. Nash, the acting director of the agency's Learn and Serve America program, says its grants are aimed at encouraging a better experience for academic institutions and their nonprofit partners. "The relationships are key because everyone — the students, faculty and community organization — needs to be involved in developing the expectations for the service learning experience," Mr. Nash says. "They need to talk about what it's going to address, how the students are going to be involved, how it connects to the classroom experience, how it meets the nonprofit's needs and, most importantly, how it is going to be evaluated."

More and more universities are establishing offices to oversee programs and otherwise formalize what has until recently been an ad hoc experiment in civic engagement. "It's a very fragile relationship, that between the academic institution and the community organization," says Lanese Aggrey, director of academic service learning at the University of Texas, Austin. "We need to stop looking at it as a one-dimensional thing and start building a real partnership."

When she arrived to take up her post at the University of Texas a year and a half ago, only three courses were listed as having service learning. "What I found was, we really are the land of orange tape," she says, referring to the school colors. Professors wanting to add service learning had to get approval from four different officials. Instead, the professors incorporated service learning informally, which made it harder for the university to track and assess programs.

Skip to next paragraphAfter eliminating three of the four hurdles, the university quickly accumulated 45 courses that included service learning; in three of them students travel abroad. The goal is 100 such classes.

The university asks participating students and nonprofit groups to sign a contract that spells out dates and hours of service, what service will be provided, and a commitment by the nonprofit to evaluate the student at the conclusion of service. "It's a good way to solidify expectations on both sides," Dr. Aggrey says. "It helps the community partner understand that its needs may only be met to a certain extent, because students have limited time and other obligations, and it helps students understand they can't just blow off their service-learning commitments to go have pizza and beer."

CONSIDER what went into planning and executing Anne Witt's service learning experience in the summer of 2007. Now a junior at the University of Notre Dame, Ms. Witt worked as a counselor at a camp run by Gwen's Girls, which provides a range of services to at-risk girls in the Pittsburgh area.

The process of placing her began six months earlier when, under Notre Dame's Urban Plunge program, students made the rounds of social service agencies in Pittsburgh to see if they might find summer service. One student interested in medicine went to work for a health clinic; another considering a legal career got a position at an immigration office.

Ms. Witt chose Gwen's Girls. "I'm a political science major, so law school was what was on my radar," she says. "But after working with Gwen's Girls, I realize there are so many problems with education in Pittsburgh, and that's made me more interested in teaching." One girl, for instance, thought Jamaica was a state and Africa was just south of the United States. "These girls lived 20 minutes away from my home," Ms. Witt says, "but the disparity between what I got out of my education and what they had was huge."

Each week, Ms. Witt had relevant reading to do and papers to write. When she got back to school in the fall, she and other students in the program got together to discuss their experiences and the social issues involved.

The Notre Dame Club of Pittsburgh, an alumni group,hosted a breakfast for students doing service learning and the organizations they were working with. The club also awarded Ms. Witt a $2,000 scholarship to compensate for a summer without income.A staff member from Notre Dame's Center for Social Concerns, which oversees the Urban Plunge program, dropped in, too, to see what the students were doing. "These people are so interested in supporting these kids and making sure they really get something out of this experience," says Lynn Knezevich, executive director of Gwen's Girls.

The organization also benefited. It got a volunteer camp counselor who ended up going back as a paid counselor this summer.

But just as important to Ms. Knezevich was the opportunity to expose her students to a broader world. "You're not necessarily learning this for your class credits," she says. "You may be doing this to learn about different and diverse population, which may not have anything to do with what your major is but will educate you as a person."


Claudia Medina

Public Information Officer

Communications & Public Relations Department

Alameda County Office of Education

voice: 510-670-7754

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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.