Successful Kick-off of Learn & Serve Challenge Opens Year of Service for Schools & Communities

Oct 17, 2009

First Lady Applauds Service-Learning as Key to Shaping Future Leaders

Washington, DC—Nearly 80,000 students, parents and teachers from across 34 states participated in 178 events that marked the close of the week-long launch of the 3rd Annual Learn & Serve Challenge. The Challenge, led by the Corporation for National and Community Service and 100 national organizations, will continue through the remainder of the school year with the goal of engaging 1 million more students in service-learning.

Service-learning is a teaching method that incorporates community service into the academic curriculum and places student on the frontlines of service work that employs innovative solutions to rebuilding and renewing their communities. The method has been recognized by national political leaders and educators as an effective way to help students become actively engaged in shaping the nation. Last week, both chambers of Congress overwhelmingly passed resolutions that stated the value of service-learning today.

First Lady Michelle Obama applauded student volunteers and emphasized that service-learning is a critical part of equipping today's youth to address tomorrow's national problems at the Florida Campus Compact Awards Gala yesterday. She added, “That is the power of service-learning: to show that higher education isn't just about producing good students and successful professionals, but good citizens and great leaders and engaged members of our democracy. It's not just about imparting a body of knowledge and then handing them a degree, it's about ensuring that they're going to use that degree to contribute to our communities.”

As the Challenge progresses, the Corporation will continue to provide teachers and community leaders with the resources to incorporate service-learning in their classrooms and communities. The Challenge is focused on the five priority areas of the United We Serve initiative established by the Obama administration: community renewal, including responding to the economic crisis; education, including literacy and keeping kids in school; energy and the environment; health and nutrition; and safety and security.

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