National Challenge Places Youth on Frontlines of Solving Country’s Most Persistent Problems

Oct 18, 2010

The 4th Annual National Learn & Serve Challenge Engages Youth in Service-Learning throughout School Year

Washington, DC – In the face of the biggest challenges experienced in a generation, millions of young people across the nation are responding by using their talents, creativity and voices to transform the world through national and community service.

Today, the Corporation for National and Community Service joins with the National Service-Learning Partnership, and a coalition of more than 100 national service-learning leaders, educators, and community advocates to kickoff the 4th Annual National Learn & Serve Challenge. The year-long challenge aims to expand opportunities for youth to serve and promote service-learning, a proven teaching method that harnesses the enthusiasm and skills of young people to solve problems in their schools and communities as part of their academic studies. More than 80,000 young people, parents and teachers from across 35 states kicked off the Learn and Serve Challenge last year by participating in 178 events and activities across the country.

“This is an opportunity to honor the ways youth translate what they learn in the classroom into action to improve their lives and communities,” said Patrick A. Corvington, CEO of the Corporation, which oversees Learn and Serve America. “By shining a spotlight on the great results of service-learning programs, we hope to inspire more schools, communities and groups to embrace youth service as a proven solution to our national challenges.”

Schools, youth leaders, nonprofit organizations, and community groups are among those encouraged to Accept the Challenge – which includes increasing the number of service-learning opportunities available to youth in their school and communities, raising awareness of and support for service-learning and encouraging youth civic engagement. The Corporation designed a toolkit to make it easier for individuals, groups, and teachers to design and jump start service projects. The toolkit provides an easy to use, step-by-step guide on organizing a service project focused in five key areas – education, health, community renewal, energy and environment, and safety and security. 

“Young people—like all people—yearn to be a part of the solution. When education is powered by service, classroom learning comes to life and school becomes relevant as young people tackle critical community problems,” said National Service-Learning Partnership Executive Director Nelda Brown. “We are proud to recognize the work of thousands of teachers, community leaders, and national service volunteers who use service-learning to prepare young people for success in school and in life.”

The Challenge will also offer resources to schools and community-based partners to encourage their participation in the initiative, including free virtual learning and professional development opportunities via webinars, video clips, conference calls, online forums or webcasts. Schools and community groups can visit for more resources and to register service projects.

Research shows that service-learning increases academic achievement and student engagement, improves civic attitudes and community involvement, and decreases risky behaviors. The Corporation's Learn and Serve America program, the nation's largest source of support for service-learning, supports 1500 schools, colleges and universities, and non-profits each year that engaged more than 1.2 million youth in service. The agency also supports service-learning through its other core programs and special initiatives, including the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse training and curriculum website, the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll that recognizes outstanding colleges for their service commitments, and the Bring Learning to Life television PSA campaign.

Media Contact

Samantha Jo Warfield
(202) 491-8250

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