Pathways to Impact: Service-Learning as a Catalyst for State Afterschool Networks Report Released

The National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC), a leading advocate for youth development and service-learning, is proud to announce the release of its latest report, "Pathways to Impact: Service-Learning as a Catalyst for State Afterschool Networks." This comprehensive report sheds light on the transformative power of service-learning as a strategy for engaging youth in afterschool programs across the country. Afterschool programs play a pivotal role in shaping the lives of young people, offering them opportunities for growth, enrichment, and skill development. The report, which draws from NYLC’s work with 14 members of the 50 State Afterschool Network, provides case studies, lessons [...]

September 22nd, 2023|

My Favorite Service-Learning Experience

By Bella Sullivan, NYLC Intern I’m the daughter of a service-learning practitioner, so I’ve had my fair share of volunteer experiences. For many years, I mindlessly engaged, treating each experience as just another one of my mom’s many projects. This all changed during my junior year of high school, and coincidentally, my first service-learning experience without the guidance of my mother. As part of a youth council for my local United Way chapter, I, along with a dozen other students in my school system, set out to create meaningful change within our community.  Since United Way is focused on education, [...]

August 29th, 2023|

Emergency Preparedness Provided by Latinx Youth

By Bella Sullivan, NYLC Intern Latinx teens in metro Washington, DC are doing more than reacting to emergencies, they’re preparing for the next one. Youth as young as 14 and as old as 22 collaborated with nonprofit youth program provider Latino Student Fund (LSF), and LSF Programs Manager Blanca Agudelo, to prepare resources for their community in case of future natural or manmade disaster or pandemic. “When it comes to COVID-19 and the shutdown, it’s all been reactive. It’s just been, sometimes, a lot of going through the motions” says Agudelo. “This PODER en SALUD project has been more of [...]

July 27th, 2023|

What are the Benefits of Service-Learning?

By Amy Meuers, NYLC CEO Students want learning to be exciting and fun. Teachers want students to be engaged learners who are motivated and inspired to be in their classroom. Quality service-learning instruction accomplishes both. Service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that supports students to develop as leaders by using their voice and power to make meaningful change happen in their communities and around the world. There are many definitions of service-learning, but NYLC defines service-learning as an approach to teaching and learning in which students use academic and civic knowledge and skills to address a genuine community need. [...]

July 13th, 2023|

What is Service-Learning

By Amy Meuers, NYLC CEO   Service-learning - such a simple term, yet so many people are confused by what it actually is. I like to start with what service-learning isn’t. It isn’t service during school hours. You know what I’m talking about. Those required hours that many students wait until the last semester of school to fulfill and then frantically try to find any place that will allow them to volunteer so they can check the box that they completed their time. What is Service-Learning Don’t get me wrong, a service requirement can lead to positive results for some [...]

June 13th, 2023|

Required Service-Learning Hours – What’s in it for Young People?

By: Julie Rogers Bascom, Director, Learning and Leadership   High school students might be asking themselves the following: What’s an impressive amount of service hours? How many service hours do I need to be competitive in applying to college? What counts as service hours? These are the questions that came up when I googled “required service-learning hours.” This is what I’m wondering about: what are the outcomes we want for our young people as they engage in meaningful service-learning?   I think service-learning can be transformational for a young person. When a student finds an issue or community problem they care about and [...]

June 6th, 2023|

Celebrating 40 Years of Generating Change!

On March 16, 1983, the National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) was founded by Dr. James Kielsmeier to train young people to be servant leaders, originally in response to tension caused by court-mandated school integration. Students were coached to respond to racial injustices and utilize acts of service to create inclusion in their schools. NYLC’s original mission statement stated that “young people are necessary resources to society with inherent ideals, boundless energy and flexibility making them important co-creators and co-workers with older adults”. From this early start, NYLC has led a movement linking youth, educators, and communities to redefine the [...]

March 1st, 2023|

What’s your definition of youth voice?

Like many complex issues, understanding youth voice can be challenging and confusing. Is it young people speaking their minds? Is it youth addressing an issue they care about? Is it youth deconstructing systems that don’t serve them? Is it a graffiti mural in a community space? It’s all of the above.  And more. What practitioners of service-learning can all agree on is that youth voice is centered in service-learning - in fact, it’s one of the standards of quality service-learning. Service-learning provides youth with a strong voice in planning, implementing, and evaluating service-learning experiences with guidance from adults.  Consider these [...]

January 11th, 2023|

The M.I.N.D Project – A Reflection on Successful Service-Learning

By Christian Buonfiglio, Guest Writer Before graduating from the Foundation Academies’ Collegiate Academy, a public charter school in Trenton, New Jersey, each student must take a Civic Service-Learning course. Though the course is facilitated by English teacher Colleen DiDonato, the students, who are all in their junior or senior year, develop their service-learning projects together. This year, students from the course have led a service-learning project that has changed the lives of their fellow students -- and changed the school itself. One group of artists, athletes, and young leaders, led by then-junior Nomy Yanes-Castro, all saw the same need in [...]

July 22nd, 2021|


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