What's Happening in Character?

Taking Service Learning to the Next Level: Cultivating Leaders

Posted by Rebecca Bauer on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 @ 10:03 AM

2G4A0155During March, as we have been focusing on principle 5, creating opportunities for moral action, we have been talking a lot about service learning. We showcased Cherry Hill Alternative High School’s service learning program. We shared our thoughts on the difference between service learning and community service. But perhaps your school already feels like it understands service learning and has a high quality program in place. Does that mean your journey is over? Nope, that means it is now your time to lead.

If your students are already leading your school in engaging and meaningful service learning projects then the next step is helping them take their own service projects to the next level by implementing them on a larger, community wide scale.

With help from YSA’s Youth Changing the World Toolkit, you can empower your students to increase the size of their impact. The toolkit prepares student leaders to take important steps in ensuring the success of their project, from assembling a planning team and recruiting volunteers to engaging public officials to building partnerships with local organizations.

These may seem like big tasks for your students to take on. However, as YSA says (and we believe too), our youth are not just the leaders of tomorrow, they are the leaders of today, too. Your students are capable of making great changes.

For example, take a look at all that Zach Bonner, 17 year old philanthropist (and featured speaker at our 2015 National Forum on Character Education), has done through the Little Red Wagon Foundation , an organization he founded at age 7. The Little Red Wagon Foundation provides aid to homeless youth and has provided over 10,000 “Zach Packs” full of supplies to those in need.

Once your students have taken their own ideas to this next level, their projects will inspire others to begin their own chain of kindness and good deeds.

Global Youth Service Day

YSA LogoYSA is always a great resource for your students to use, but during the month of April, there are some especially exciting opportunities for students to share their projects. YSA is leading Global Youth Service Day from April 17-19 and urges all participants to tell their story.

Also, in collaboration with YSA, the National Youth Leadership Council will be hosting the National Service Learning Conference in Washington, D.C. on April 8-11, 2015. The conference provides opportunities for students to network, attend workshops and even visit officials on Capitol Hill.

Looking for even more service learning resources? Be sure to check out this month’s Character Resource Roundup: Tools to Help Teach Service Learning.

Topics: Service learning