The National Learn and Serve Challenge launches next month on October 5th, 2009. Students from around the country will participate in a concentrated week of special events and community service activities. The Challenge builds support and raises awareness for service-learning and kick's off a year of hand's-on community participation, and integrated curriculum for youth in service.
VolunteerSpot's free and easy volunteer sign up tool helps older high-school and university service-learning teams coordinate their own activities. For younger students, VolunteerSpot helps teachers, Scout troop leaders and children's ministry leaders engage parent helpers in support of their service-learning projects. Saving time and simplifying volunteer coordination means more time for meaningful service activities during Challenge week and throughout the year.
Helpful tips and tools for organizing your service-learning activities:
Choice Builds Commitment: Involving kids in selecting service-learning activities inspires participation throughout the year. When possible, invite students to research potential projects and let them vote for their top choices. The Learn and Serve Clearinghouse lists service-learning ideas and curricular examples by topic, grade and community sector. To spark discussion among younger children, we've put together a free eBook, Family-Friendly Volunteering Ideas from A-Z.
- How many people can the project support? Doing what jobs?
- Will you need extra adult supervisors or parent-drivers?
- What background information will you give students (and parents) about the organization you are helping?
- What are the logistical details for the specific service project (where to meet, times, what to wear, what to bring, etc.)?
- Is there a contingency plan in case of bad weather?
- What permission is needed?
- What materials and supplies will be needed? What can be donated?
- Will refreshments be provided?
- Are there safety considerations or sensitivity issues to be discussed ahead of time?
- Who will document/record the event with video and photos?
VolunteerSpot's simple online planning calendar helps you think it through. You can schedule specific volunteer jobs and shifts, specify the number of people needed, and list supplies and tools required.
Something for Everyone: Plan multiple opportunities for people to participate before, during and after Challenge week. In addition to volunteering on-site, what other ways are there to get involved? E.g.:
- Preparing promotional packets and signs for Challenge week
- Engaging with local nonprofits to find age-appropriate service projects (one-time and ongoing)
- Securing donated supplies
- Documenting service activities with photos, blogs and video
- Bringing lunch or refreshments on project days
- Writing thank-you notes to participants and local supporters
Mobilize Volunteers ALL Challenge Week, and Beyond: Service-learning isn’t a one-day event, it’s a community commitment. VolunteerSpot’s signup tool lets you schedule service opportunities over several days, weeks or the entire semester. Students* (and parents) can signup for the days and duties that fit their schedules, and the calendar is always current, in real-time. VolunteerSpot sends automated confirmation and reminder messages helping everyone keep their commitments so you can keep yours to the community.
Check it out: Take a live or video tour of VolunteerSpot today at www.VolunteerSpot.com .
For more resources about Service-Learning and to accept the the National Learn and Serve Challenge, please click here.
Have a great idea and need funding? State Farm's Youth Advisory Board is accepting grant applications for service-learning projects between $25,000 and $100,000 until October 2, 2009.
Teachers and Parent Leaders - have a terrific Service-Learning idea to share? Please click Comments below - thanks!
* You must be 14 yrs or older to use VolunteerSpot. Parents are welcome to sign up for their kids!