National Service Agency and Nonprofits Launch Challenge, Urge Student Service in Schools and Communities

Oct 5, 2009

Learn & Serve Challenge will engage thousands of youth to address pervasive community problems throughout the year


Washington, D.C. – The Corporation for National and Community Service and more than 100 national service-learning leaders, educators, and community advocates partnered today to kick off the 3rd Annual National Learn & Serve Challenge ( The year-long Challenge will place students on the frontlines of efforts to employ innovative solutions to rebuilding and renewing their communities.

“Service-learning provides young people with an opportunity to learn and reinforce academics while addressing community needs,” said Nicola Goren, Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

The 2009 National Learn & Serve Challenge kicks off October 5-11 with national and local organizations hosting events designed to encourage students to engage in service-learning activities that address the tough problems facing the country, with an emphasis on five critical areas: community renewal, education, energy/environment, health, and safety and security. The Challenge is a national sustained, focused effort to promote youth civic engagement and service-learning, a hands-on teaching method that engages young people in solving problems within their schools and communities as part of their academic studies.

“We are pleased that a growing coalition of more than 100 of local, state, and national service-learning organizations—such as the National Youth Leadership Council, Youth Service America, and the State Education Agency K-12 Service-Learning Network (SEANet)—will stand with us and the Administration to help our nation's schools and youth-serving organizations answer the President's call to dramatically expand opportunities for young people to participate in service-learning in school and community-based programs,” said Nelda Brown, executive director of the National Service-Learning Partnership.

Last year's Learn & Serve Challenge garnered participation from more than 90,000 students, teachers, parents, and community members at 240 events in 41 states. For a full list of registered Learn & Serve Challenge projects taking place this year, visit

On Capitol Hill, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan resolution, House Resolution 769, last week introduced by Representative Todd Platts (R-PA) that recognized the value of service-learning as a tool to provide youth real world experiences that bring learning to life and help them become solutions to our nation's challenges.

Representative Platts added, “Service-learning gives students the opportunity to contribute to their community by integrating community service projects with classroom learning. This program helps students not only learn about democracy and citizenship, but helps them become actively contributing citizens and community members through the service they perform.”

The Challenge will also offer support to make it easy for school and community-based partners to participate in the year-long campaign, including a series of online service-learning starter kits to help jumpstart service-learning activities. There will also be free virtual learning and professional development opportunities via webinars, video clips, conference calls, online forum/chats, or webcasts to assist educators, community partners, and youth leaders from schools and communities that accept the Challenge.

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