6 Ways to Make Service Learning Part of Your Youth- and Family-Serving Program

A group of young people walking around with a map.
1. Investigate: Youth can investigate community issues by walking around, reading newspapers, surveying people, or interviewing leaders. If community mapping has already happened, that's a good place to start. Ask youth to make a list of what they see as community needs.

We know that engaging young people in service learning gives them a sense of accomplishment and empowerment. It makes the community more aware of the value of youth. By participating in service learning, young people help improve their surroundings and learn new skills.

But how do we integrate service learning into a youth and family serving program? How do we ensure that learning is part of the progress, and not service alone? In this slideshow, we suggest six steps, based on articles by The Search Institute and The Prevention Researcher.

Sources: "Service-Learning in Community-Based Organizations: A Practical Guide to Starting and Sustaining High-Quality Programs," developed by the Search Institute for the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse, and "Service Learning: The Time is Now" by James Kielsmeier (The Prevention Researcher, Vol. 18, No. 1, February 2011).

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