The Giraffe Heroes Project
“Giraffe Heroes are people who stick their necks out for the common good,” says the Giraffe Heroes Project website, meaning that people whom the project designates as heroes are those who have undertaken real risks to accomplish their work. Over the years, some have been young people; many are adults. All serve as good examples for teaching and inspiration to demonstrate that individuals can do powerful, momentous good in our world. The Giraffe Heroes project offers a program combining literacy skills with service learning called Voices of Hope, teacher training and extensive K-12 curriculum.
-The Giraffe Heroes Project
P.O. Box 759
Langley, WA 98260
It’s Your World—If You Don’t Like It, Change It: Activism for Teens
It’s Your World—If You Don’t Like It, Change It: Activism for Teens by Mikki Halpin is one of those books that I can’t keep on my shelf. I buy it, and before I know it, I’ve given it away again to a teacher friend, a parent or a young person. Halpin covers youth activism in a wide range of areas: helping animals, fighting racism, saving the environment, ending war, fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS, stopping school violence and bullying, defending women’s rights, protecting civil rights and civil liberty, and promoting tolerance toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. She provides examples of service, ideas for getting involved and first-person accounts from engaged and committed teens (including a few from Essential schools!). It’s Your World is a catalyzing resource for students interested in identifying ways to serve their communities, providing ideas, inspiration and powerful examples of what others have done.
–It’s Your World—If You Don’t Like It, Change It: Activism for Teens
Mikki Halpin, author
Simon & Schuster, 2004
Center for Information & Research on Civil Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE)
CIRCLE promotes research on the civic and political engagement of teenagers and young adults in the United States. In the past, it funded a wide range of research projects including youth-led efforts, and a perusal of the resulting publications provides a way to see examples of youth civic engagement, much of which is based in service-learning efforts. Currently, CIRCLE is focusing on engaging young people in elections and voting. Though its overlap with service-learning isn’t complete, CIRCLE does supply a wealth of research, background and arguments that could prove to be essential for grant-writers and advocates.
-School of Public Policy
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
Roots and Shoots
Roots and Shoots, founded by Dr. Jane Goodall, is a global service organization advocating and providing a structure for organizing service projects for the human community, animals and the environment. Roots and Shoots really feels global, with over 7,500 groups in nearly 100 countries, most based in schools, universities and community organizations, each organized to address a specific local, national or global problem. And it really feels youth-oriented, with a prominently-featured Youth Leadership Council. For schools, the organization provides curriculum and professional development for school-based groups. If your school doesn’t currently have a service-learning program, Roots and Shoots is a good way for an advisory or class to get involved and engaged.
-The Jane Goodall Institute
4245 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 600
Arlington, VA 22203
phone: 800/592-JANE or 703/682-9220
National Service-Learning Partnership
The National Service-Learning Partnership is a useful first stop for educators getting started with service-learning or seeking to convince higher-ups that service-learning a valid and worthy use of schools’ time. Featuring, among other items, a regular column by service-learning guru Cathryn Berger Kaye, the Partnership’s site is also a key resource for educators and others dedicated to strengthening current programs. Its resources are extensive, including curriculum, policy briefs, videos, advocacy materials and more.
-Academy for Educational Development
1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW – Suite 800
Washington, DC 20009-5721
National Youth Leadership Council
Host of the annual National Service-Learning Conference, the National Youth Leadership Council also consults with and trains schools and districts, offers a wide range of resources on its website, and conducts the National Service-Learning Exchange, a peer-to-peer mentoring program that matches practitioners in need of service-learning support with people in their area who can help. As well, the organization sponsors awards for students, practitioners and organizations engaged in service-learning.
-1667 Snelling Avenue North, Suite D300
Saint Paul, MN 55108
Youth Service America
As a resource center committed to increasing the quality and quantity of local, national and global volunteer opportunities for young people, Youth Service America brings thousands of partners offering service-learning opportunities to young people and their learning and living communities. Of particular interest are its grants and awards to youths, schools and other organizations engaged in service-learning. As much as it’s true that service is its own gratification, knowing that such recognition is out there can motivate both students and the adults who work hard to create service-learning programs. Youth Service America also produces newsletters, an extensive website, curriculum guides and toolkits. Along with the National Youth Leadership Council, Youth Service America sponsors the annual National Service-Learning Conference.
-1101 15th Street, Suite 200
Washington DC, 20005
Coalition for Community Schools
Though there’s more to the Coalition for Community Schools, an alliance of more than 170 local, state and national partners that brings together people and organizations to create and support community schools, than service learning, service- and community-based learning is a major focus of its work. Of particular interest to educators working in the area of service-learning is a January 2006 report, “Community-Based Learning: Engaging Students for Success and Citizenship,” available on the Coalition for Community Schools’ website that serves as a roundup of research demonstrating that community-based learning works to keep disengaged students in school and learning.
-4455 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 310
Washington, DC 20008
phone: 202/822-8405 x156
Corporation for National & Community Service and related organizations
An independent federal agency, the Corporation for National & Community Service is an umbrella organization under which service-learning initiatives are organized and deployed. Two matter particularly to educators: Learn & Serve America and National Service-Learning Clearinghouse. The first, Learn & Serve America, is the K-12 partner of the Americorps and Senior Corps programs. Learn & Serve America disseminates lots of information about and—most important—grants for service-learning projects and organizations. The second, the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse, offers a wide-ranging set of programs, opportunities, curriculum and training. As its name implies, the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse is a big tent, with links to many of the other organizations listed on this page.