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Service-Learning

Service-learning is curriculum-based volunteering by students as part of their required coursework, guided by their teachers. The materials here help leaders of volunteers to work with schools (at all levels of education) to provide placements for students of all ages.

An Asset Builder's Guide to Service-Learning, pp 41-42, Search Institute, 2000
The Confusing Talk about "Service", Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2008
How to Create a Proclamation, Barbara A. Lewis, The Kid's Guide to Service Projects, 1995
How to Make Service into Service Learning, By Cynthia Parsons, Posted with permission of THE JOURNAL OF VOLUNTEER ADMINISTRATION from its Spring 1996 issue, Volume XIV, No. 3, pp. 35-38. Copyright 1996, Association for Volunteer Administration.
Interns: The "Acceptable" Volunteers?, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2004
Making the Case for Youth Participation, Loring Leifer and Michael McLarney, Younger Voices, Stronger Choices: Promise Project's Guide to Forming Youth/Adult Partnerships, pp. 4-5, YMCA of Greater Kansas City, 1997
Making Volunteer Management Happen: A Proposal for AmeriCorps, Steve McCurley, Energize Hot Topic, 2004
Mixed Messages: What Do We Really Think about Young Volunteers?, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2000
Points of Entry, Recruiting College Students: A Guide for Volunteer Recruitment and Management, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America, 1995
Servi-Tourism, Ann Hulbert, Slate
Service Learning, Timothy K. Stanton, Dwight E. Giles, Jr. and Nadinne I. Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 67-68, Jossey-Bass, 1999
Teens in action, Theresa Foy DiGeronimo, A Student's Guide to Volunteering, Career Press, 1995
Volunteering and Employability: Cause or Effect?, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2013
What is Reflection?, Debbi Axt, editor, Break Away Site Leader Survival Manual
Who is Celebrating IYV? Connecting the "Streams of Service", Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2001
"Youth Involvement" in Our Field, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2001
Internship-in-a-Box , A detailed manual that tells organizations how to design an internship program. Provided by CareerPhilly, a Philadelphia-based program connecting students and employers: http://www.careerphilly.com/
Learning in Deed: The Power of Service-Learning for American Schools, A report from the National Commission on Service-Learning, produced by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. , pp. 60
Mentors Strengthen Student Community Service, This monograph was published by SerVermont, a nonprofit corporation that encourages all students to do voluntary community service integrated with academic coursework.
Semester of Service Strategy Guide , By Youth Service America, showing how to "develop and implement a high-impact, strategic plan of action to engage young people in serving and learning in their communities." , 2013, pp. 74
Summer of Service Program Design Toolkit, By Nicole Tysvaer for Innovations in Civic Participation, update of previous "Summer of Service: A New American Rite of Passage? " , 2011, pp. 80
V2 Volunteerism Action Guide: Multiplying the Power of Service,

Produced the the US Peace Corps to help members develop service-learning projects in developing countries. (V2 = V2) 

, 2009, pp. 65
The Big Dummy's Guide to Service-Learning

"27 Simple Answers to Good Questions on: Faculty, Programmatic, Student, Administrative, & Non-Profit Issues."

Campaign Against Servitude

For another point of view about service-learning, check out this site of the Ayn Rand Institute.

Campus Compact

Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the public purpose of higher education. As the only national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, Campus Compact promotes public and community service that develops students’ citizenship skills, helps campuses forge effective community partnerships, and provides resources and training for faculty seeking to integrate civic and community-based learning into the curriculum. Campus Compact’s membership includes public, private, two- and four-year institutions across the spectrum of higher education.  List of state affiliates.

Cesar E. Chavez Service-Learning Resource Guides

Set of step-by-step project manuals for service activities by students, K-12.

CIRCLE

Research and information on community participation by youth from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). Free fact sheets, tools for practice, and more.

Growing to Greatness: The State of Service-Learning

Long-time advocate for service-learning, the National Youth Leadership Council has produced several detailed evaluation studies of the impact of student service, available as free downloads or for purchase in print.

Learning to Give Philanthropy Curriculum

A site dedicated to teaching the importance of voluntary action for the common good in a democratic society. Offers free curriculum material for grades K to 12, with full course outlines, teachers guides, standards and benchmarks. Also see the materials in their "Resource Room" at http://www.learningtogive.org/materials/

National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE)

A nonprofit membership association of educators, businesses, and community leaders. Founded in 1971, NSEE also serves as a national resource center for the development and improvement of experiential education programs nationwide.

National Youth Leadership Council

Long-time advocate for service-learning, the NYLC site provides both basic and advanced information on what service-learning is and best practices for doing it right. See the 2004 "Growing to Greatness" evaluation studies.

SERVEnet

Web site of Youth Service America, provides continuously updated news about National Service and service-learning, several free e-newsletters, tip sheets for youth volunteers.

Service Learning in the Northwest

Several free guides on designing service-learning projects, their essentials elements, benchmarks, and sample programs.

Service-Learning Diversity Toolbox

The National Youth Leadership Council's efforts at examining diversity in service-learning programs, with several excellent downloadable reports and articles of relevance to any setting or type of volunteer work.

Student Leader Magazine

NOTE: Student Leader is no longer published, but all articles published between 1993 and 2007 are available at this link. Student Leader was the premier magazine for college student leaders. Featuring tips from experts and peers across the country, its articles advise students on how to manage organizations ethically and effectively. As the official publication of the American Student Government Association, Student Leader’s staff frequently wrote and reported on Student Government-related issues, concerns, and solutions as well.

Summer of Service/Summer Trek

Innovations in Civic Participation (ICP) site with information and technical assistance in the design and evaluation of high quality "Summer of Service" programs, creating positive alternatives for young teens during summer vacation.

Youth Service America Blog

Youth Service America shares current news, information, and grant opportunities from the service-learning and youth service fields, including stories of youth successful in helping their communities.

Youth Service America Resources

Long list of free, downloadable guides for students and teachers on all aspects of creating the best service-learning projects and curricula.

Print and e-Books in Our Store

Book cover

A clear and informative strategy for schools, faith communities, and youth organizations to blend the best of effective service-learning programs with the philosophy of youth asset building and healthy communities.

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A trainer's manual for adult leaders preparing youth volunteers to do peer helping, with 15 interactive sessions complete with discussion guides and handouts (many useful for any age volunteer learning to do counseling).

Book cover

Sensible and inspiring advice for adults who truly want to engage young people in meaningful leadership volunteer roles, with how-to tips on everything from recruitment to intergenerational meetings.

Setting Expectations with Student Volunteers' Teachers
From Susan J. Ellis, President, Energize, Inc.

The new year is also the start of another academic semester, so it's likely you will be welcoming a fresh batch of students into volunteer roles. If the students have come to you for a formal school purpose -- such as to get academic credit for a course, write a research paper, or fulfill a requirement for graduation -- there will undoubtedly be a faculty member with whom they, and therefore you, will interact during the course of service.

It's a good idea to schedule a meeting to clarify the expectations of the school or particular teacher. These days you might be receiving service-learning students from elementary school through graduate studies, with different issues related to each age group. Consider developing a mutual "roles and responsibilities" sheet with the faculty member, to delineate descriptions of who will do what.

Reach agreement on such points as:

  • What are the school's goals for the student's service and how do these align with the needs of the agency?
    • Is the primary concern the number of hours logged in or completion of a project or work plan?
    • Does the school prefer certain types of volunteer assignments or staff supervisors with specific credentials?
    • What's the optimal balance between service and learning? Between observing and doing?
  • How will responsibility for training and supervision be divided equitably and effectively between you?
    • Will a faculty member expect to come on site periodically to see the student? What is needed from the agency staff during such visits? What might you want from the teacher?
    • Will the teacher be conducting any "reflection" discussions in the classroom to help students learn from their experiences? Do you have a role to play in this process?
    • How will you work together to enforce both agency and school rules?
  • How often and how will you be in touch with each other during the semester?
  • Will the student be graded for the work done in the agency or receive some sort of formal credit for time logged?
    • Who assigns the grade, using what criteria?
    • Do you need to keep any records to help the assessment process? Write a report or recommendation of any sort?
    • What attendance records must you keep?
    • If a student is not providing the agreed-upon hours of service, who will keep track and follow up? In other words, will the school do the enforcing?
  • For students under the age of 18:
    • Who will obtain parental permission and generally liaison with parents?
    • Who supplies or reimburses student transportation?
  • Deal with administrative questions, such as:
    • Who is responsible/liable for insurance coverage of the students?
    • Will there be an end date to the project or continuous coverage by a new class of volunteers?
    • If the student wants to continue as a volunteer with your organization past the official placement period, how will the transition take place?

Discussing such questions at the beginning will avoid confusing duplication of roles and will establish good working relationships. Be aware that teachers and group leaders may have unrealistic expectations of what your agency can offer student volunteers. Listen to their requests, but feel free to set limits on what will be possible. Your bottom line is service to your clients or consumers.

Ideally, the faculty liaison will remain your point of contact over time so that you do not have to renegotiate everything for each student who offers services.