Celebrate Earth Day with Service-Learning

Today is Earth Day: a celebration of the beauty of our planet and a day to promote awareness and demonstrate support for environmental protection. #EarthDay can be a great opportunity to incorporate environmental curriculum and topics into service-learning projects in your community. It can also provide a chance for mentors and participants to get closer to the environment they live in – and to learn more about how they can not only preserve their environment, but help it to thrive. Getting out into your surroundings, caring for your planet, and making a measurable difference for the quality of the environment goes hand-in-hand with service-learning, which is founded on linking academically-rigorous content with addressing genuine community needs.


In the Generator School Network there are many resources to help facilitate and bolster your Earth Day service-learning projects. “A Kids’ Guide to Climate Change & Global Warming: How To Take Action!” deftly combines educational statistics and intellectual exercises with service-learning best practices and methodologies – like the IPARD (Investigation and Inquiry, Planning and Preparation, Action, Reflection, Demonstration) method – to build a framework for creating a high-quality service-learning project based on Earth Day’s goals. Be sure to join the GSN for access to hundreds of service-learning resources, discussion spaces for peer review and project improvement, and a user-driven project planning tool designed to ensure high-quality practice.

We are proud to support Earth Day. Share your projects, ideas, and thoughts on social media with #EarthDay to protect our planet.

Meet the #YAC: Danasia Eubanks

Danasia Eubanks, an incoming freshman at High Point University in High Point, North Carolina, is a young person dedicated to service, service-learning, and community-building. As one of two members returning from the 2013-2014 #YAC cohort, Danasia has valuable insights to bring to the new group and radiates a strong commitment to service.

Danasia has served as President of the Guilford County Schools’ Service-Learning Youth Council, a body of students whose mission is to lead service-learning projects in their schools and communities, to provide an education on how to conduct high-quality service-learning, and to collaborate with service-learning ambassadors from other schools around the GCS network. “I am determined to contribute to changing lives and making a positive impact on others,” said Danasia. In this spirit, Danasia currently sits on the National Board of Directors of the National Youth Leadership Council and will serve in this capacity for three years. Other positions of service Danasia has held include Secretary of her school’s Project Ignition teen driver safety program and a volunteer at Liberty Hospice.

At More Powerful Together, the 26th Annual National Service-Learning Conference, Danasia co-presented Let’s Get Smart. Youth Solutions to the Achievement Gap® Through Service-Learning: Part I, a workshop to educate about and inspire youth to address the Achievement Gap and Educational Inequity in their own communities. Her willingness to take a position of leadership is something she attributes to her experience with the #YAC, “My goal last year was to get out of my shell and I honestly feel like I accomplished that but my goal over the next two years is to become as involved as possible to help NYLC make a bigger impact in the world. I want to focus on using my voice as much as possible,” said Danasia.

Becoming a strong, confident leader is a hallmark of experience on the #YAC – and Danasia is no exception.

Learn more about the Youth Advisory Council.

A Week in Service-Learning

The 26th Annual National Service-Learning Conference, More Powerful Together, wrapped up Saturday, April 11, with a day of service around the Washington D.C. area. Groups spread across the district (and in neighboring Maryland) to give back to their host community and pay the spirit of service forward.

Whether maintaining the district’s beautiful green spaces by picking up trash and pulling weeds, or helping neighbors by collecting food, gifts, and letters for those who need them most, hundreds of conference attendees performed an estimated 1600 hours of community service Saturday afternoon. It was a powerful end to a conference that highlighted all that we can do together.

For a recap of the entire conference, visit the blog entries for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

The conference also attracted some special attention. Jane Goodall sent a message along to her good friend, McClellan Hall, who was honored at Friday’s awards luncheon with the Alec Dickson Servant Leader Award.

On Thursday, attendees were greeted by Kevin Bacon, whose organization, SixDegrees.org, has partnered with Youth4Education, a campaign to end education inequity. Learn more about Youth4Education here.

Hear directly from attendees by searching the hashtag, #Youth4Ed, on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We’ll see you at next year’s conference!

More Powerful Together

On the third day of #MPT15, attendees filled the conference space with expertise, ideas, and opportunities through a series of concurrent workshops. These learning sessions have always been the heart of the conference — when participants come together to hear from one another and discover a place where we are all More Powerful Together.

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Also yesterday was the awards luncheon, an event where the conference honored exemplary service-learning leaders. Awards winners included: Shira Woolf Cohen, G. Bernard Gill Urban Leadership Award; Joe Follman, Service-Learning Practitioner Leadership Award; McClellan Hall, Alec Dickson Servant Leader Award, who was recognized with a message from his good friend Dr. Jane Goodall; Cathryn Berger Kaye, Stellar Service-Learning Award; and Pima County Teen Court, Youth Leadership for Service-Learning Excellence Award.

Project Ignition students were recognized by Mike Brown of NHTSA for their leadership in teen driver safety.

The evening events fed on the energy of the day and captured great opportunities for networking and fun. The Service-Learning Young Professionals Network Gathering welcomed a variety of service-learning professionals eager to build connections with others who are leading similar projects in their communities and to learn unique and compelling ways to improve their own work.

A District Wide Model Reception brought together innovative teachers and administrators who have partnered with NYLC to introduce service-learning across entire school districts. The Youth Room was buzzing with energy during an 80s Dance Party — ending a long day on a high note.

Stay tuned for a wrap-up of our Saturday Day of Service.

Mac Never Gives Up

Honoring a lifetime of service and a special message from Dr. Jane Goodall

Today the service-learning field honored the work of McClellan (Mac) Hall, the Founder and Executive Director of the National Indian Youth Leadership Project, with the Alec Dickson Servant Leader Award. Mac’s contribution to youth development and service-learning reaches back over three decades. As he stood on stage and received the award from his long-time friend, NYLC Founder Dr. James Kielsmeier, Mac shared stories of his work, his spiritual journey, his mentors (including Alec Dickson himself), and his family. Mac has transformed the lives of thousands of young people throughout his journey and in the process has made some wonderful friends including Dr. Jane Goodall. Dr. Goodall was unable to attend the award presentation but sent this message to share:

Congratulations Mac for all that you have done and continue to do for young people.

#MPT15 Forges Ahead

Day Two of More Powerful Together kicked off with impactful all-day Leadership Sessions that allowed for a deep dive into the topics important to service-learners. For the first time ever, the conference offered an “unconference” opportunity with Open Spaces — a session where attendees set the agenda to take charge of their learning experience.


The opening plenary session welcomed a variety of service leaders: Bill Basl, Director of AmeriCorps, Youth Leaders Jessie Oliveira and Allie Gould from Special Olympics, Jamienne Studley, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Under Secretary, and Stacey D. Stewart, U.S. President of #MPT15 co-host United World Way, all shared inspiring messages of hope, service, promise, and change.


At the plenary, the Youth Advisory Council launched an international campaign, Youth4Education, focused on promoting educational equity, challenging both youth and adults to take the #Youth4Ed pledge. The youth pledge emphasizes a commitment to the belief that all young people have the right to an equitable education and a promise to share their voice, their solutions, and their passions for positive change in the world. The adult pledge calls for all adults to commit to supporting their youth allies, to value youth of all ages, genders, races, ethnicities, physical abilities, sexual orientations, religions, and socioeconomic statuses, and to encourage youth to take an active role in the world today.


Youth4Education is a youth-driven mission to inspire the leader in every young person to take charge of their own education, using service-learning as the means to bring change to their communities and beyond. Youth4Education taps into the ingenuity of young people, much the same as the National Service-Learning Conference does, but with a singular focus to end education inequity around the world.

Not too bad for one day. Stay tuned for tomorrow.

The man. The myth. The Bacon.

NYLC is proud to announce Youth4Education, a youth-led, international campaign to end education inequity. SixDegrees.org has become a partner of #Youth4Ed to help make meaningful change in the educations — and lives — of young people around the world.

If you haven’t already, check out the video above from the one and only Kevin Bacon. SixDegrees.org is social networking with a social conscience, and we’re thrilled to call them a partner in ending education inequity.

Visit Youth4Education.org to learn more and take the #Youth4Ed pledge.

Mmm… Bacon.

NYLC Launches International Youth4Education Campaign

#Youth4Ed Campaign Works to End Educational Inequity

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Youth Leadership Council®, a nonprofit organization based in St. Paul, Minn., is pleased to announce Youth4Education, a youth-driven, international campaign to end educational inequity. #Youth4Ed works to raise awareness about the Achievement Gap – a disparity of educational access between groups separated by ethnicity, race, gender, and socioeconomic status – and to advocate for young people to take an active role in their education, utilizing service-learning as the means to deliver change in their community and beyond.

“Educational equity is important because when students do not have equal access to top-quality education it is like asking all students to finish a race at the same time though some begin a mile behind others,” said Sarah Gunderson, a member of the National Youth Leadership Council’s Youth Advisory Council.

In the United States alone, 1.2 million youth will drop out of school this year. That is one dropout every twenty-six seconds. Their chances of living a life in poverty will more than double when they make the decision to drop out. With generous support from State Farm®, Youth4Education provides a platform for every young person to share their ideas, their passion, and their commitment to educational equity. As the primary stakeholders in the quality of their own education, it is time to give students a voice in it.

“Youth voice can inspire our generation to become active players in their own lives,” said Youth Advisory Council Member Isaiah Lewis. “It transforms inaction into action, and inspires our generation to be active in their communities and schools when they feel they are capable of affecting change.”

Learn more and take the pledge at Youth4Education.org. Support the right for all young people to have access to an equitable education.

Share your stories and your inspiration on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the #Youth4Ed hashtag.


At the National Youth Leadership Council, we strive for a world where all young people are valued and called on to lead. With passion, creativity, and ingenuity, young people can address world issues while strengthening academic and learning outcomes through service-learning. To that end, we provide programs and services that develop young leaders, support educators, and advance the field of service-learning. Visit www.nylc.org to learn more about NYLC and service-learning.

Service-Learning Global

Day one of More Powerful Together, the 26th Annual National Service-Learning Conference, welcomed attendees yesterday from across the nation and around the world, on stages national and international at Capitol Hill and the Service-Learning World Forum.

Intrepid service-learners embarked on Capitol Hill to meet with staff from both the House of Representatives and Senate. Telling of their success stories, youth reported on the impact service-learning has made in their own education, as well as among their peers, schools, and communities. Adult allies let the young people take the lead, as students provided congresspersons and senators with lists of legislation to support service-learning, and future opportunities for members to connect back with the youth.


The Service-Learning World Forum welcomed international leaders to Washington, D.C. to share about the work they do in their home countries. Shaun Verma, a member of the Youth Advisory Council, presented on how to expand projects to an international level and how to build fruitful partnerships by sharing his own experiences running his own nonprofit, MDJunior.

A host of nations were represented, including Jordan, Russia, Singapore, and Qatar. The World Forum emphasized a rapidly globalizing planet. The ideas talked about in this space reflect an increasingly interconnected global community, and demonstrate the transcendental qualities of service-learning and community building at-large. Service-learning has an innate ability to cross cultures, and NYLC keeps on the cutting-edge of that front.

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In the evening, Shinnyo-En sponsored an International Welcome Reception, which offered the opportunity for networking and for attendees of all types to launch #MPT15 with an inspired and global spirit, and a feeling of camaraderie founded on the common goal to Serve. Learn. Change the world.®

Follow us here at NYLC.org as well as on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with all that #MPT15 has in store.

Load That Truck!

Today was a beautiful sunny day in Minnesota. Perfect for loading the truck with all our supplies for More Powerful Together, the 26th Annual National Service-Learning Conference. Check out what it takes to put this event together!


Elizabeth, Jason, and Alyssa make last minute preparations.


Luke, Arway, Ah, and Mohammed do some heavy lifting.


Everyone gets in on the action.


The smiling faces mean the truck is loaded and headed to D.C. We can’t wait to see you all there!