August 18, 2006

Looking for Effective Out-of-School Service-Learning Models?

There seems to be a never-ending search for working and effective models of service-learning. As service-learning spreads from classroom to classroom, school to school, and community to community nation- and world-wide, the focus is ever more on the quality of service-learning that is occurring. Educators are looking for ideas, inspiration, and/or an existing model to adapt for their students; administrators are seeking initiatives which improve the overall quality and achievement in their schools and districts; communities want to see responsible and active youth making a positive difference in their neighborhoods; and youth are ready to dive into anything which can offer a sense of purpose into their lives.

There are successful service-learning initiatives and many folks searching for them. The challenge has been to package the lessons learned and infrastructure of successful projects in a way that can be immediately useful for anyone that is at the beginning of the implementation process.

The National Collaboration for Youth's (NCY) member organizations have been providing high-quality out-of-school-time programming to youth for more than 100 years. They too sense that most policy-makers, administrators in local youth organizations, and frontline youth workers, but especially the average American, are largely unaware of the programs and their impact. Without this knowledge, successes are overlooked, programs are not supported by future funding, and more time and energy is spent on reinventing the wheel. To address these issues, NCY applied for and received funding from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to research and disseminate -- in a user-friendly format-- data and lessons learned from 10 model programs that are making a difference in the lives of youth. The intent is not to present an exhaustive collection of programs, but rather to illustrate the scope and impact of programming being offered by NCY member organizations and their partners in local communities throughout the nation.

Each of the 10 case studies profiles an out-of-school-time program in action. Discover how the programs are making a difference, through individual stories and quotes from youth, parents, program, implementers, program developers, and researchers.

The 10 models include:
The website also includes recommendations for conducting program evaluations.

If you are not working in an out-of-school setting, there are many examples of in-school service-learning available at the National Service-Learning Partnership's website.

In the spirit of bringing to light and sharing successful service-learning initiatives, please forward information about any program we may have missed via the comments or by emailing the Partnership.

- Susan, National Service-Learning Partnership

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