"By teaching young people the joys of service to others, we make good citizenship a vital, transforming and continuing aspect of our national character." ~ General Colin Powell

What is Service-Learning?

Former U.S. Senator and astronaut, John Glenn recently described service-learning as "academics in action."

Cleaning up a river is service.

Sitting in a science classroom, looking at water samples under a microscope is learning.

Students taking samples from local water sources, analyzing the samples, documenting the results and presenting scientific findings to a local pollution control agency is service-learning.

Service-learning is a method of teaching that enriches learning by engaging students in meaningful service to their schools and their communities. Through careful integration with established curricula, lessons gained from hands-on service heighten interest and enhance academic achievement, citizenship, and character development. Service-learning is a proven key to educational reform that also makes significant contributions to community development. (NYLC, 1994)

Service-learning is a philosophy, a community development model and a teaching and learning method.

  As a philosophy, service-learning embraces young people as a community resource and asset. It views all people in a democratic society as citizens with the capacity to contribute - no matter their age.

As a community development model, service-learning takes on real issues such as pollution control, hunger and homelessness, and diversity. Communities change for the better when service and learning are joined.

As a teaching and learning method, service-learning is a form of active learning that values critical thinking and problem solving. Research shows that when service-learning is effectively implemented students gain in measures of academic achievement, citizenship, and character.

(James C. Kielsmeier, 2000)

National Youth Leadership Council, 2001.