Service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with classroom curriculum, allowing students to connect academic studies with real-life solutions in order to strengthen communities. Within the classroom, students identify community needs, apply their skills and studies to research solutions and plan service activities, implement the activities, and evaluate and reflect on the experiences and impact.

Upcoming Service-Learning Opportunities

These opportunities are for educators and school leaders who want to develop service-learning in classroom curriculum. These approaching deadlines and events are updated regularly and are listed in chronological order.

  • Apply by January 24: Common Core-Aligned "Action Civics" Program for Middle and High Schools
      Generation Citizen ( strengthens our nation's democracy by empowering young people to be engaged and effective citizens. GC fulfills its mission by partnering college volunteer "Democracy Coaches" with classroom teachers to lead middle and high school students through a semester-long project in which they create and implement plans to solve problems they face in their own communities.

      The Generation Citizen "action civics" curriculum is Common Core-aligned, endorsed by the National Council on Social Studies, and designed to bring civic education to life through student-centered inquiry and action. Democracy Coaches work with their classes twice a week over the course of one semester. The program concludes in an end-of-term "Civics Day" field trip, in which students present their projects to local elected officials and community leaders.

      For more information, contact New York City Site Director Sarah Andes at or (936) 419-9036. 
  • Apply by January 17, 2014: $1,000 Service-Learning Grant
      Do you have a great service project in mind for your students and school community? Looking for funding to help you in seeing this idea to fruition? In an effort to further engage and support schools in service-learning and school-led service, the Service in Schools initiative invites your school to apply for a $1,000 service-learning grant to be directed towards a service project(s).  Additionally, schools selected to receive the Service in Schools service-learning grant will gain automatic entrance for the chance to do a service project with the cast of The Amazing Spiderman 2! To apply for a service-learning grant, click  here .
  • Apply Now: Volunteer with the Youth Service Opportunities Project

      Deadline: Ongoing

      The Youth Service Opportunities Project offers middle school and high school students meaningful volunteer work, combined with a orientation and reflection. Members of this project provide vital services to those in need while reflecting on their experiences and broadening their perspective. Students help the hungry and homeless people of New York City through their work in shelters, soup kitchens, schools, food and clothing banks and other direct-service institutions. Students work in a workcamp environment, which helps build team spirit and give them direction. Learn more and apply.

  • Apply: Lead2Feed Student Leadership Program for Middle and High Schools
      Register: Lead2Feed
      Contact: Debby Dodge/772-229-2122

      Empowered to Lead. Inspired to Serve. Lead2Feed is a leadership program teaching students a proven process to become passionate, service-minded leaders for life. Lead2Feed provides teachers with free project-based lessons aligned to Common Core State Standards with a focus on College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing, Speaking, and Listening. The lessons are leadership driven activities centered on the challenge of solving a hunger issue on a local or global level. This student leadership program has been adapted from Yum! Brands CEO David Novak’s best-selling book: “TAKING PEOPLE WITH YOU, How To Make BIG Things Happen”. Mr. Novak, a “leader on leadership”, developed Lead2Feed as a Student Leadership Program designed to nurture a new generation of leaders – students sitting in your classrooms today! The lessons also include short on-line videos messages from David Novak as he guides students through a series of challenging but attainable action-steps toward becoming strong leaders. Once teachers register they will receive a personal copy of Taking People With You and the electronic edition of USA TODAY to accompany the lessons. What sets Lead2Feed apart from other leadership programs is its focus on project-based learning. By challenging students to move toward a solution to world hunger, they are motivated to step up and step out as leaders.Participating student teams choose a 501(c)3 organization that addresses hunger issues, and assists them as part of the program. Simultaneously, students are learning to set goals, be their best selves, and most of all empowering them to act, to serve and to make BIG things happen by taking people with them! Their efforts are documented, either with photographs or video content, and will be submitted to Lead2Feed: World Hunger Leadership Challenge by April 11, 2014. Winning student teams will split a Half Million Dollars: $500,000.00 in donations to their non-profit hunger organization. The Lead2Feed program can be implemented in any middle or high school classroom in the U.S. To register your school or seek additional information, please go to this site.

Service in Schools Congratulates the Service-Learning Grant Winners!

In February, Service in Schools was thrilled to announce the winners of the $1,000 Service-Learning Grant. Thank you to all schools who applied and congratulations to the 150 winners --the Service in Schools team looks forward to seeing the impact your students make on the community through their service projects! Click here for a list of all the grant winning schools!

    Lesson Plans and Resources

    Getting started in service-learning? These lesson plans and resources will help inspire and develop service-learning in the school classroom.

    Free Service-Learning Resources on Human Trafficking

    The Frederick Douglass Family Foundation provides resources about student public awareness campaigns regarding the issue of human trafficking in the U.S. Educators can also ask for volunteer opportunities for students or guest speakers to visit their schools.

    Free “Exploring Humanitarian Law” Toolkit from the American Red Cross
    Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) is a free, adaptable toolkit that gives educators easy-to-use materials to expose students to issues of international humanitarian law, which ensures respect for life and human dignity in war.  The toolkit offers educators primary source materials and strategies that reinforce and enrich existing curricula and educational programs.  Educators interested in becoming trained on how to include EHL modules into their curriculums are encouraged to attend an educator training session at the American Red Cross in Greater New York.  

    Free “Facing History and Ourselves” Materials and Workshops
    Facing History and Ourselves supports NYC public middle and high school history teachers to help them activate students through the lessons of history, civil rights, and social justice.  Inspire students and implement service-learning in your classroom through Facing History’s free workshops and online classroom materials. 

    Free Service-Learning Guide for Grades 6-9 Science, Technology, Mathematics, and Engineering (STEM)
    KIDS Consortium, a service-learning non-profit organization based in Maine, just released a new guide, “Integrating Scientific Practices Through Service-Learning: Engaging Students in STEM.”   This guide is designed to help educators of grades 6-9 integrate service-learning into STEM content areas and make use of Curriculum Topic Study (CTS), a valuable means of ensuring that STEM projects are developmentally appropriate and aligned with science standards.  Examples help illustrate how to plan and structure a STEM/service-learning project and how these projects benefit students, schools, and communities. 

    Generator School Network 
    This website is meant to link educators who are passionate about service-learning. This gives educators the ability to assess, share, and refine their practice while learning from each other, whether online or in person. Membership is free and open to any educator interested in utilizing service-learning resources in their work with students. 
    Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Service-Learning Program
    This curriculum-based, service-learning program provides free K-12 service-learning lesson plans about creating a positive impact for the animal community, human community, and environment. Educators can search by elementary, middle, and high school levels

    KIDS Consortium's STEM Service-Learning Guide 
    Educators can find service-learning projects connected to STEM content and environmental issues. They may sign up to receive regular updates on service-learning resources, including a free guide for integrating service-learning and research-based STEM curriculum planning and instructional strategies.

    Learning to Give: generationOn’s Curriculum Division
    Educators can find 1,600 free K-12 service-learning lesson plans and units, searching by Common Core Learning Standards, New York State standards, classroom subject, and keywords. There are also “Moments of Service,” a monthly list of holidays and seasons that inspire community service for students.

    National Service Learning Clearinghouse
    Educators can find free K-12 service-learning lesson plans by area of service (for example, homelessness or violence prevention)—as well as service- learning toolkits, which provide strategies, curriculum guides, and classroom handouts to enhance schools’ service-learning programs

    NYC Department of Education’s Green Curriculum
    Our Office of Sustainability offers a collection of free service-learning curricula regarding environmental issues. These resources can be incorporated into existing scope and sequence for all grades in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), and literacy.

    Revolution Hunger
    Use this service-learning web site to teach students about global hunger and ways to reduce it.  Find  research material for students and strategies to fight hunger in local communities.

    Semester of Service Strategy Guide 
    Youth Service America provides this free guide to develop 70 hours of service-learning for an upcoming semester at your school.

    Service in Schools Service-Learning Institute
    Each year, we provide service-learning professional development workshops, which provide the following helpful resources.  For sharing service-learning with educators, read this article by Robert Sternberg, Ph.D.  Use this step-by-step guide to develop a service-learning project  that match the specific needs and interests of your classroom. For classroom activities, use this guide, quote cards, and checklist. Learn homework and study techniques that promote independent learning in students, and also listen to the archived webinar led by Cathryn Berger Kaye, which covers a review of student work and service-learning literature.