Challenge Check-In: Students Continue King’s Legacy through a Semester of Service

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United We Serve

Last fall, about 360,000 youth, educators, and community partners began a year-long campaign to demonstrate the potential of education powered by service. Through the Learn and Serve Challenge, they pledged to engage in service-learning activities to help more young people understand how their education is relevant in the real world.

Youth of all ages will use the knowledge and skills learned in school or a community-based program to create and implement innovative solutions to our nation’s toughest problems. This month, thousands of K-12 students and college age youth will kick-off a Semester of Service to honor and continue Dr. King’s legacy by joining the frontlines to help rebuild and renew their communities.

Semester of Service 2011 launches on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service (January 17, 2011). Thousands of students, educators, and community leaders from schools and organizations will plan and implement high-impact service and service-learning projects throughout the semester leading up to Global Youth Service Day (April 15-17, 2011).

In the spirit of Dr. King’s legacy, students will use their Semester of Service projects to tackle the root causes of meaningful community problems, such as childhood obesity, hunger & homelessness, illiteracy, natural disasters, and environmental degradation.

For example, students at Abington Senior High School in Abington, PA will host the 2nd Annual Water Summit on Martin Luther King Day. They will teach participants from ten area high schools about water challenges around the world, how to save water in their own community, and how to preserve the quality of water we enjoy in the USA. Participants in the summit will form an action plan for the ensuing Semester of Service, culminating in a big event centering on water on Global Youth Service Day.

There’s still time to join us. Accept the Challenge today and begin by planning your own Semester of Service. You can access resources from Youth Service America (YSA), a Learn and Serve America grantee, to gear up to launch a Semester of Service in your school or community.

YSA is an organizing partner of the Learn and Serve Challenge and provides a variety of grants, planning tools, training, and technical assistance to help Semester of Service participants plan, lead, and implement high-impact service-learning programs.

You can learn more about service-learning and the Learn & Serve Challenge here. You can learn more about Youth Service America and Semester of Service 2011 here.

Karen Daniels is Vice President of Engagement for Youth Service America. Semester of Service is a signature program of Youth Service America.

Nelda Brown is the Director of the National Service-Learning Partnership at the Academy for Educational Development. The National Learn & Serve Challenge is a signature program of the National Service-Learning Partnership.

Ed Note: This is the second post in a year-long monthly series highlighting the stories of service that emerge from this 2010-2011 Learn & Serve Challenge. You can read last month's here.

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