Fall 2013

We're Celebrating!

Can you believe it? In 2003 Hugh Riddleberger led a group of 6 inspired and intrepid educators to Ethiopia. Ten years and more than 700 students and teachers later, LearnServe is ready to celebrate! We hope you’ll join us on November 6 to celebrate Hugh’s vision and launch us into our next ten years of catalyzing change.

75 Young Innovators Team Up

On September 12, seventy-five high school students, their parents, and teachers nervously entered the auditorium at the School Without Walls to kick off the 2013- 14 LearnServe Fellows Program. Just two weeks later, after our overnight retreat at the FLOC Outdoor Education Center in West Virginia, those nervous introductions had turned to hugs and smiles. Our newest LearnServe Fellows are ready for an exciting year of cross-school collaborations and social innovation!

Read More>>

Serving as One

15 Students. Two and a half weeks. One common goal. LearnServe Paraguay Co-Leader and Ballou High School teacher Alli Baugher shares her reflections on what it looks like for a diverse group to come together to make a difference.

Although this is my first trip with students, I have several years of experience now traveling with LearnServe and I can confidently say, I have never seen a group of young people come together in quite the same way.  From the first couple of meetings, it was apparent that we had a very special group.  However, over the course of our journey together in Paraguay, what impressed me most about this group was their united effort to act and BE as a team.  Of course, as with any group of young people, we had a wide variety of personalities and backgrounds, especially once we added in those from the communities where we were serving, however the kindness and support these teenagers showed to each other on a daily basis was inspiring to see as an adult.

Members of the LearnServe Paraguay group are now sharing their stories and preparing action plans so that they can give back to the communities they met in Paraguay.

Read more in Alli's blog post from Paraguay>>

Why Serve?

Youth Service America recently published 10 Facts about Youth Service that underscore why we at LearnServe do what we do.  A few highlights:

Young people are uniquely suited to solve problems through service.

Between the ages of 12 and 25, people are literally wired for excitement, novelty, risk, and peer authority. While these traits can be negative, they also make young people uniquely suited to solve problems, if given the opportunity.

Volunteering improves career and workforce readiness.

The Corporation for National & Community Service finds that volunteering is associated with increased likelihood of finding employment for all volunteers regardless of a person’s gender, age, ethnicity, geographical area, or the job market conditions.

High quality service-learning leads to increased academic engagement & success

Multiple studies reviewed and compiled by RMC Research show that students who participated in service-learning were... more cognitively engaged and more motivated to learn. Studies show great promise for service-learning as an avenue for increasing achievement among alternative school students and other students considered at risk of school failure.

Read the Full Report >>

Staff Profile: Maurice Wilkins

A native of Washington, DC and a graduate of Dunbar high school, Maurice has always been interested in exploring different cultures -- both at home and abroad. He was thrilled to have been selected as one of six Morehouse College undergraduate students to join the Leadership Center's Oprah Winfrey South African Leadership Project. The project allowed students to study ethical leadership within the context of South Africa, with a special emphasis on the correlation between HIV/AIDS and poverty. Following his graduation from Morehouse with a BA in Africana Studies and Political Science, Maurice returned to Washington, DC to serve as Program Manager for the DC office of Paxen Learning Corporation. Paxen develops educational curriculum and facilitates enrichment programs in inner cities throughout the United States.

Maurice joined the LearnServe team as a way to engage young people in the DC area– particularly across cultural backgrounds. An alumnus of Operation Understanding DC, another local cross-cultural youth initiative, Maurice understands the importance of programs like LearnServe and has devoted his career to providing such opportunities to as many students as possible. Inspired by LearnServe and the students he’s met, Maurice looks forward to getting started on his own social ventures.

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