Learn and Serve America Fact Sheet
More than one million students each year step up to serve with Learn and Serve America programs across the country. We honor this impulse by providing resources to state education agencies, schools, nonprofit groups, Indian Tribes and U.S. Territories, and institutions of higher education. These organizations engage students in service activities that ensure academic achievement and promote civic responsibility. By using their knowledge and skills to improve their communities, youth make the connection between learning and doing. In this linking of academics and action – called servicelearning – youth investigate, analyze and address community challenges, planting the seed for a lifelong ambition to make the world a better place.
Our Facts and Figures
Service-Learning in the Field:
- 1 in 4 elementary and secondary schools participate in service-learning.
- Service-learning forms an integral part of how young adults excel in more than half of our community colleges and over a quarter of our universities.
- 35 states have adopted a service-learning policy, bringing this vetted approach to youth across the country.
At Learn and Serve America:
- Among our grantees, 40 percent of elementary and secondary schools and almost 60 percent of colleges and universities have embraced service-learning as a part of their core curriculum.
- More than half of the schools we support educate our most vulnerable and underresourced children.
- The most common local challenges addressed by our programs are improving education (41 percent), preserving the environment (28 percent), and promoting economic development (27 percent).
- Our funds brought service-learning to 6,469 new classes for students coast to coast.
We hold our programs to the highest possible standards adopted by the field (nylc.org/standards). In doing so we promote high-quality servicelearning, insisting that this studentdriven approach not only teach facts and figures but also shape how students learn across our country. This method challenges our youth to innovate, think critically, and solve problems – the very skills the workplace demands and adult life requires.
Service-Learning Students Learn, Engage and Achieve
High quality service-learning experiences motivate students to attend, participate, understand and master the academic lessons they need to succeed. Better yet, they see their efforts making positive contributions to the place they live, leading them to enjoy learning, respect themselves and make good decisions about the future.
- The National Research Council declares service-learning one of the most effective approaches for engaging students and boosting learning.
- An extensive Michigan study found that fifth graders who did service-learning showed significant gains on state achievement tests in writing and social studies.
- Three studies – in Philadelphia, Denver, and Hawaii – determined that service-learning provided participants with better problem-solving skills and understanding of complex issues.
- A national study of high school students found that service-learning gave them pride of place and sense of self, increasing their desire both to complete school and contribute to community.
- A Florida study showed that service-learning students got in trouble less often; the study demonstrated that participation also went handin- hand with teens preventing pregnancy and curbing criminal activity.
Our Special Initiatives
At Learn and Serve America, we offer continuous support to our nation’s youth while also tackling emerging problems with novel solutions. We provide targeted resources, grants and technical assistance for the shifting challenges our communities face. Examples of tackling today’s pressing issues include:
- Summer of Service, a 2010 pilot program, turns the under-utilized summer months into a dynamic learning experience. Upcoming 6th through 9th graders lead service-learning projects in neighborhoods across the country, meeting local environmental and disaster preparedness needs to make our communities vibrant places to live. Students who complete at least 100 hours of service earn an education award of $500, which they will use to pay for higher education costs.
- Youth Engagement Zone grants build on community assets, create a network of individuals, organizations and institutions that support young people’s positive development and provide them with a chance to serve. Service-learning activities encourage collaborative community problem-solving that increases students’ academic and civic engagement while improving the odds that they will succeed both in and out of the classroom, and graduate from high school.
- The Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Initiative (STEM) grants accelerate math and science understanding for low-income students who use their increased academic skills to assist their communities.
Our Contributions to the Field
The education leaders at Learn and Serve America provide resources to support the implementation, evaluation and evolution of the very best teaching through service. We set a high bar, train partners to exceed it, and recognize achievements publicly:
- The National Service-Learning Clearinghouse staff provides an online library of lesson plans, research, and project examples to support service-learning programs, at no cost to students, educators, and the general public.
- The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, celebrates institutions of higher education that form lasting relationships with community organizations to create innovative and effective service programs.
- The“Service-Learning: Turning Ideas into Action” Communications Kit provides the tools you need to promote service-learning to schools, colleges and universities, youth, and community organizations.
- The“Bring Learning to Life” public service campaign highlights the benefits of service-learning for elementary and secondary schools through television and print promotions.
Corporation for National and Community Service
Learn and Serve America is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, which also administers Senior Corps and AmeriCorps. The mission of the Corporation is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.