Youth voice

Meet Zahra – NYLC Intern!

By Bella Sullivan, NYLC Intern Zahra Ali, a current senior at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, has been working with NYLC in many capacities for several years. She aspires to be a teacher, using her knowledge of the importance of service-learning and youth voice in the classroom. “I feel like with NYLC, the something that keeps me coming back is that I see direct change happen,” says Ali. “Seeing a direct, immediate change like that isn’t something that I’m expecting to see in the other careers later in my life or even in the schoolwork I’ve already done.” Over the summer, [...]

September 14th, 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|

10 Practices to Support Youth Voice

By Amy Meuers, NYLC CEO Service-learning is an approach to teaching and learning where students use academic and civic knowledge and skills to address a genuine community need. When service-learning is used in or outside the classroom, it provides ample opportunities for young people to share their voices and experiences while addressing a genuine community need. There are many ways you can support youth voice within quality service-learning instruction.  Here's our top 10 list to get you started! Create a safe and inclusive environment: Encourage a space that supports respect for each other and community by encouraging an open dialogue [...]

August 8th, 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|

Creating Kindness

Hello everyone, I'm Jaida, I am 12 years old and I came to the SLC with me and my mom's nonprofit KIDS CARE.  Being the service people that we are and the horrible Nashville school shooting that just happened, we decided to make kindness cards for the front-line workers who responded to the shooting. With the help of the SLC and our new friends at Laurel Springs School we were able to collect 115 Kindness Cards from the people at the conference. We drove 20 minutes from where the conference was to the Nashville Fire Department #20 which is right [...]

April 17th, 2023|

Reflecting on the 34th Annual National Service-Learning Conference

By Grace Chenxin Liu, YAC Member Recently, we wrapped up the 2023 National Service-Learning Conference and celebrated the National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC)’s 40th birthday! This experience was incredible and impressive in every way. From the number of enthusiastic participants (even leaders from overseas!) and supportive environment on the Youth Advisory Council (YAC), to the astounding work of the NYLC staff and unique storytellers and presenters. There was so much trust and teamwork there, which I felt from the moment I met the NYLC team and YAC all the way to the way we embraced each other when saying our farewells. [...]

April 10th, 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|

What would service-learning be without reflection?

Reflection is a power tool in the practice of service-learning. Often it seems like a simple act - think about what you experienced, write about it, talk about it, create something, but in reality it isn’t simple at all. It requires you to think deeply, to explore not only what you experienced, but what you gained from the experience. It asks you to not think about what you did, but how you grew as a person. Reflection is a building block of service-learning and one of the K-12 Service-Learning Standards of Quality Practice. Without reflection, we may focus on what [...]

December 13th, 2022|


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