Service-learning is a strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and self-reflection to support a variety of goals: (1) enhancing academic learning, (2) teaching civic responsibility, (3) developing 21st century skills, (4) increasing global awareness, and (5) strengthening communities.
Today, elementary, middle, high, and postsecondary schools across the nation participate in service-learning with the support of federal, state, district, and foundation funding. It is estimated that more than 4.2 million students participated in service-learning during the 2007-2008 academic year in approximately 20,400 schools. 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
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The number of teens ages 16-19 who volunteer increased by 27.4% from 2007 to 2012.