Children and Youth Voice, Youth
Involvement, Youth Engagement, Youth Organizing and Youth
According to the National Service Learning
Clearinghouse, service learning is the
combination of service objectives with
learning objectives with the intent that the
activity change both the recipient and the
provider of the service. The Freechild Project believes that youth-led service
learning is when young
people are the designers, implementers,
and evaluators of their projects. They aren't
manipulated or filtered by adults. The Young
Wisdom Project of the Movement Strategy
youth-led organization or project is one in which the youth
constituents decide what gets done and how it gets done.
Youth-led does not necessarily mean “no adult involvement or
role.” “Youth-led” is a specific relationship between youth and
adults where adults are supporting youth to gain the skills,
information and capacity to make decisions about the
organizations in which they find themselves. Adults play the
roles of coaches, trainers, and advisors to young people who are
the decision makers. Youth leadership promotes the notion that
adult allies should not do for youth what young people can do
for themselves." (click
here for source)
Point to Ponder
"...Youth voice is crucial to the overall effectiveness of
service-learning programs. Youth voice has a tremendous impact on program
participation and program outcomes, both short term and long term." -
The following resources have been identified by youth researchers at
Freechild to highlight the reality - not just the rhetoric - of actual
youth-led service learning projects.
Vashon Island (Washington) Youth Council
This program engages youth as planners,
leaders, activists, and equals in this small suburban community located
The Youth Innovation Fund
Young people in eight cities across the US are providing grant money to
support youth-led service learning projects in their communities. A
program of the National Service Learning Partnership. Each program is
unique, and is not done justice by being listed here. The participating cities are:
Kids Can Make a Difference
(Maine) - An educational program for
middle- and high school students, focuses on the root causes of hunger
and poverty, the people most affected, solutions, and how students can
help. The major goal is to stimulate students to take follow-up
actions as they begin to realize that one person can make a
difference. KIDS and World Hunger Year (WHY) publishes Finding
Solutions to Hunger: Kids Can Make A Difference.
Two teenage sisters created ManaTEENs in 1994.
Its a countywide club for teens interested in volunteering. Today, more than
11,000 active ManaTEENs not only assist 572 local agencies with volunteer
needs, but create, implement, evaluate, sustain, and replicate 92 signature
Youth Voice: A Guide for Engaging Youth in
Leadership and Decision-Making in Service-Learning
By J. Justinianno, C. Scherer.
This guide provides an introductions to the potential of youth-led service
learning with explanations, tools, and more.
Meaningful Involvement Benefits
All Students: Meaningful Student Involvement in Service Learning
By N. Nishida and A. Fletcher.
Service learning is highlighted as a driving methodology to
implement meaningful student involvement across curriculum,
including education planning, research and evaluation.
Student involvement in school decision-making and education
advocacy is also explored, as well as several resources and
Integrating Youth Voice in Service
Fredericks, E. Kaplan, and J. Zeisler. Includes examples, interviews,
and useful information on engaging youth voice throughout the service
provides training and consulting about
service learning. Email
firstname.lastname@example.org or call
360-489-9680 for more info!