Youth Community Service and Service Learning

NCY POSITION

The National Collaboration for Youth believes that:

  • Youth community service experiences should:
    • Be available at an early age;
    • involve tasks and assignments which are developmentally appropriate to the age, educational level, cultural identification and experience of participants;
    • include time for reflection and group discussion; and
    • include planning and leadership opportunities.
  • Community service programs should:
    • meet the needs of both the community and the person providing service;
    • articulate clear service and learning goals for everyone involved;
    • provide clear definitions of the responsibilities of each person and organization involved;
    • provide the training, supervision, monitoring, support, recognition, and evaluation necessary to achieve service and learning goals; and
    • explicitly commit to participation by and with diverse populations.
  • Classroom learning is enhanced through youth involvement in community service when schools and community-based organizations act collaboratively and as equal partners in service program design and implementation.

PUBLIC POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS

Congress should take the following actions related to youth community service:

  • Support successful existing programs and encourage the organization of new programs in local communities, which involve young people in responsible and challenging actions for the common good.
  • Appropriate funds to better enable national youth-serving organizations to coordinate current service programs provided by their affiliates and to create new ones.
  • Reauthorize and expand funding for the National Community Service Trust Act of 1993.
  • Fully fund the Corporation for National Service.
  • Include a set of pilot or demonstration programs in any national service program.
  • Support a national media campaign promoting the importance of youth service to help young people become confident about participating in community service, build public appreciation for their service, and promote youth as partners and resources.
  • Ensure the inclusion of the broadest possible spectrum of participants in federally supported state and local service programs, including out-of-school youth, non-college-bound youth and youth from non-needy circumstances.