Washington, DC—Four thousand middle school students will participate in service-learning projects this summer, funded by the 2010 Summer of Service grants from Learn and Serve America, a national service program administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The agency awarded grants totaling $2 million to 17 nonprofits, universities and schools to engage at-risk youth in grades 6 through 9 in innovative service projects that address environmental and disaster preparedness issues.
The awards were announced today by Patrick Corvington, the Corporation's CEO and U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd (CT), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Children and Families, of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP). Dodd, a longtime leader on service-learning, was instrumental in making the Summer of Service grants a focus of the new Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.
“These grants will help put tomorrow's leaders to work solving American's most pressing problems today,” said Patrick Corvington, the Corporation's CEO. “Thousands of young people will now have an opportunity to make real and lasting impact in their communities, while starting on a lifelong path of service.”
“When young Americans commit to spending their free time engaged in service projects, they get a summer full of enrichment. Their communities are bettered by their hard work. And we all share in the benefit of creating a culture of civic participation and community service among the next generation,” said Senator Dodd. “That's why I've championed national service legislation, and that's why I'm so excited that this worthy program in Middlebury will be able to improve the lives of Connecticut students.”
The grants will support innovative projects that engage young people in addressing environmental or disaster preparedness issues. Students will participate in a myriad of activities including assessing local environmental issues, planting gardens, “greening” homes, preparing and distributing disaster preparedness kits, and undertaking service projects in local and national parks. In addition to the grant funding, participants in the Summer of Service program who complete at least 100 hours of service will be eligible to receive a $500 education award that can be used to pay for post-secondary education expenses.
The Summer of Service program is a new initiative that was established under the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in April 2009. More than 200 organizations applied for grant funding. Click here for a complete list of grantees and information on their projects.
Learn and Serve America grants provide support to organizations that involve over one million young people in service-learning projects that simultaneously support student development and meet community needs. Service-learning is a method of teaching and learning that connects specific learning objectives with meaningful service to the community. Students build civic and leadership skills while strengthening communities through service.