Service Learning

25th Anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Unites Americans in National Day of Service

Monday, January 17, 2011 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday. Across the country, Americans will answer Dr. King’s call to action: “What are you doing for others?” by joining in volunteer efforts to serve their neighbors and communities.

"A Day On, Not a Day Off!"

Since 1994, the Corporation for National and Community Service has worked with the King Center in Atlanta to promote the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday as a day of service: "A Day On, Not a Day Off!"

King Day is a day to connect service to the social justice issues that Dr. King fought for throughout his life.

Illinois High School Addresses Teen Traffic Safety Through Service-Learning Approach

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, accounting for approximately one-third of all teenage deaths (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010). Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to be involved in a crash (CDC, 2009).

Martin Luther King Day of Service-2012

The Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday is a National Day of Service, and a time to re-commit ourselves to serving each other and our communities. This year, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) will shine a spotlight on the connection between service and economic opportunity.

Civic Engagement

Civic engagement involves “working to make a difference in the civic life of one’s community and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes” (Erlich, 2000). Civic engagement includes both paid and unpaid forms of political activism, environmentalism, and community and national service (Michelson et al, 2002). Volunteering is one form of civic engagement.

Many of the nation’s volunteers are young people. More than half (59 percent) of teenagers in the United States reported that they participated in youth volunteer work in 2009, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service (2010). Most youth volunteers do so out of altruism and an interest in making in a difference in the lives of others, according to one survey. Only five percent of students reportedly volunteered because of a school requirement (Corporation for National and Community Service, 2005).

References

Corporation for National and Community Service. (2010a). Youth engaged in service.

Corporation for National and Community Service. (2005). Building active citizens: The role of social institutions in teen volunteering. Brief 1 in the Youth Helping America series. Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://www.nationalservice.gov/pdf/05_1130_LSA_YHA_study.pdf (PDF, 24 Pages)

Erlich, T. (2000). Civic responsibility and higher education. Westport, CT: Oryx Press.

Michelsen, E., Zaff, J. F., & Hair, E. C. (2002). Civic engagement programs and youth development: A synthesis. Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved from  http://www.issuelab.org/resource/civic_engagement_programs_and_youth_development_a_synthesis (PDF, 51 Pages)

Stone, B. & Edwards, H. (2008). National framework for 4-H Volunteerism. National 4-H Headquarters, Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Services, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved from http://oklahoma4h.okstate.edu/focus/2008/november/attachments/Framework_4-H_Volunteerism082508.pdf (PDF, 10 Pages)

Service-Learning

Service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that connects academic curriculum to community problem-solving. Today, elementary, middle, high, and postsecondary schools across the nation participate in service-learning with the support of federal, state, district, and foundation funding. Studies show that, in the past, more than 4 million students from more than 20,000 schools participated in service-learning. Of these participants, high schools were most likely to engage students in community service or to include service-learning as part of their curriculum.1

Service-learning is beneficial for students, organizations, and communities. All students, including those with disabilities (e.g., emotional and behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, moderate and severe intellectual disabilities, students with hearing and vision limitations), can be involved in and benefit from service-learning.2

References

1Spring, Grimm, & Dietz, 2009
2Dymond, Renzaglia, & Chung, 2007