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Challenge Check-In: Thousands Accept the Learn & Serve Challenge

by Nelda Brown

Last month, the National Service-Learning Partnership joined with Learn and Serve America to challenge our nation’s young people to use their education to make a difference in their local and global community. Over the last four weeks, more than 360,000 people responded.

Our world faces critical challenges that require our collective attention and action. Young people -- like all people -- yearn to be a part of the solution. Every day in schools and communities across the country, young people use what they learn in classrooms to tackle important community problems.

Through the Learn & Serve Challenge young people, educators, community partners, and civic leaders are creating more opportunities for young people to learn through service.

“This is an opportunity to honor the ways youth translate what they learn in the classroom into action to improve their lives and communities,” said Patrick A. Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees Learn and Serve America. “By shining a spotlight on the great results of service-learning programs, we hope to inspire more schools, communities and groups to embrace youth service as a proven solution to our national challenges.”

Join us. Over the next seven months, more than 234,000 K-12 students and 82,000 college age youth will help rebuild and renew their communities by using the knowledge and skills learned in school or a community-based program to create and implement innovative solutions to our nation’s toughest problems.

They will be joined by nearly 20,000 educators and 21,000 community partners. Together, this groundswell of youth and adults will show that when education is powered by service, learning comes to life and students understand how their education is relevant in the real world.

Earth Force is one of the 100 local, state, and national organizations responding to the Challenge. This national organization works locally to prepare youth to improve the environment and their communities now and in the future. Through Earth Force, 17,000 young people in 35 communities in 11 states accepted the Learn & Serve Challenge and are already gearing up to use their academic knowledge and skills to take action in their local community.

For example, sixth grade students in Ms. Sandra Nichols’s 6th grade science class at James Island Middle School are becoming engaged scholars and citizens as they kick-off a semester-long effort to improve the quality of water in Charleston, South Carolina. Wondering what happens next for the students in Charleston? Well, we can’t wait to share Ms. Nichols’s story as well as the voices and experiences of many others in the month ahead. Follow our monthly blog updates for more Stories of Service from the Learn & Serve Challenge.

You can learn more about service-learning and the Learn & Serve Challenge here.

Nelda Brown is the Director of the National Service-Learning Partnership at the Academy for Educational Development. The National Learn & Serve Challenge is a signature program of the National Service-Learning Partnership.

This is the first post in a year-long monthly series highlighting the stories of service that emerge from this 2010 Learn & Serve Challenge.

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