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Learn & Serve Challenge


To all Learn & Serve Challenge Supporters!

The start of the 2008 National Learn & Serve Challenge is right around the corner! We are just 10 days out from the first day of the Challenge, and we have more than 100 activities registered and participation estimates far surpass last year's 18,000 participants. At least eleven different states have proclamations pending with their governor's and other state legislators.

The Challenge is also receiving national recognition. Kudos to all of you who have written editorials, articles, and short blurbs for your own organizations. The National Service-Learning Partnership was also able to secure ad space in Youth Today and Ed Week, running September 15-October 13.

With all of these exciting events going on, there are still things that we can all do. Below are a few things that you can all do to make the Challenge even more successful:

Don't forget to register your activity in the Accept the Challenge section of the website (www.learnandservechallenge.org). We want your event to count!
Document your event in various form: video, editorial, writing an Op-Ed, sending out a media advisory, writing a press release. Please see the attached documents for press releases and media advisories. Don't forget to send a copy to the National Service-Learning Partnership (nslp@aed.org).

The National Service-Learning Partnership is sponsoring a media contest (www.service-learningpartnership.org). Use the Challenge as a way to collect video footage and pictures for the contest - there is a $500 prize for each of the group winners!
Add the Challenge to your organization's website/newsletter. Widgets, logos, and banners are all available on the website.

Join us in making this even more successful than last year's Challenge!


Christina Kwon
Director of Member Engagement
National Service-Learning Partnershipat the Academy for Educational Development
1875 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20009
202.884.8982 (phone)
202.884.8732 (fax)


Take the National Learn & Serve Challenge!

October 6-12, 2008

For more information visit www.learnandservechallenge.org


ServiceNation and the Kennedy-Hatch Bill

Click here for the Service Nation website

Click here to download the ServiceNation Policy Book (PDF-3 MB)

Click here for the Service America Act Summary

Click here for the Service Nation "Decleration of Service"

A note from FL&S Director, Joe Follman

Dear Service-Learning Colleague:

FYI—Please see details below about a bill that has been introduced in the U.S. Senate as a key strategy for enacting recommendations and ideas that were generated through ServiceNation, the recent high-profile national initiative to promote and expand service and volunteering (www.servicenation.org). One component of this bi-partisan legislation (the “Serve America Act”) would provide awards of $250,000-$1M directly to local partnerships (K-12, higher education, and community-based organizations) to do the following:

“(1) provide increased high-quality service-learning opportunities for in-school and out-of-school youth in high-need, low-income communities as a strategy to retain and re-engage youth likely to drop out and youth who have dropped out; (2) to encourage more individuals to engage in lifetimes of service by teaching young people the value of service early in their lives; and (3) to establish youth engagement zones with the goal of involving all secondary school students served by a local educational agency in service-learning to solve a specific community challenge, through a program that can serve as a model for other communities.”

Please see below for details. If passed and fully appropriated, this bill would provide $20M in its first year and up to $40M by its fourth year for service-learning activities. There is a national effort underway to get as many co-sponsors for the bill in the Senate as possible by September 26. Florida’s Senator Martinez has been identified as an important potential co-sponsor. As a Learn & Serve America awardee, you and your students can provide information to Senator Martinez about your service-learning efforts and how the proposed Serve America Act could help to improve, expand, and sustain them. As a private citizen, you can contact Senator Martinez and express your wishes about this bill and whether or not you would like him to support it.


Joe Follman



Stay Informed • Be A Voice • Support National Service

Kennedy, Hatch Introduce National Service Legislation

On Friday, September 12th, Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced S. 3487, The Serve America Act. A major legislative initiative to expand and improve domestic and international service opportunities, the bill will recruit Americans of all ages to do service work in health, education, environmental protection and anti-poverty programs. Senator Kennedy, Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said in a statement, the “Serve America Act” will “connect every generation through service, and enable them to help tackle a wide range of national challenges, from the dropout crisis that plagues our schools to the lack of health care in our neediest communities to the energy and environmental crises that threatens our planet.” Senator Hatch said, “By harnessing the talents and efforts of the American people, faith-based groups and nonprofit organizations, we can empower more people, improve more communities and tackle more of our nation’s greatest challenges.”

S. 3487 will expand opportunities for people to serve their communities at every stage of life, from students and working adults to retirees. The original cosponsors include both presidential candidates, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Barack Obama (D-IL), as well as Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), and Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT).

The introduction of S. 3487 is the first step towards the passage of a comprehensive national service reauthorization bill that will build off the success of the existing national service programs. Programs like AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and Learn and Serve America have not been reauthorized in 15 years and legislation is needed to help strengthen and expand the federally supported service initiatives, stimulate community volunteerism, and increase accountability and efficiency within the administration of the programs. S.3487 builds and expands the national service infrastructure to further address critical community needs while developing civic competencies in those who participate.

Click here to read the Press Release from Senators Kennedy and Hatch upon the introduction of their bill.

Click here for an executive summary of S.3487, The Serve America Act.

Click here for S.3487's bill text

Website: www.voicesforservice.org, Email: info@voicesforservice.org, Fax: 202.742.7401


ServiceNation: Article in Time Magazine

Click here to view the article from Time magazine (PDF-3 MB)

A note from Volunteer FL CEO, Wendy Spencer

Last week’s ServiceNation event was historic for Volunteerism and National Service! Beginning with President Bush’s renewed “Call to Service” and ending with 108 national leaders and experts from the service sector participating in a daylong Summit in New York City, national service has never had a higher profile! Over 700 sector leaders participated! The highlight of the week was a nationally televised forum during which Senators John McCain and Barack Obama fielded questions about their individual visions for service to America.

I was honored to take part in all of these events, both as a member of the ServiceNation organizing committee and as a member of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. Alex Amparo was able to participate as well as he played a key role in developing policies for volunteerism in disaster work.

Some of the national leaders featured during the Summit were First Lady Laura Bush; New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg; New York Governor David Paterson; Caroline Kennedy; singer and dancer Usher; Alma Powell; Senators Orrin Hatch, Hillary Clinton, and Chris Dodd; President of Carnegie Foundation Vartan Gregorian; Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan; Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen; AARP CEO Bill Novelli; News Commentator and advisor to four U.S. Presidents David Gergen; Martin Luther King III; plus leaders from corporations like Target, Deloitte, Home Depot, and General Electric. There was a significant presence from higher education with presidents and other leaders in attendance from Duke, Columbia, Tufts, Georgetown, Bentley, Tulane, and Harvard Universities, just to name a few. Major players from the foundation community, such as the Case Foundation, and all of the leaders in the Service Sector including CNCS CEO David Eisner and Hands on Network CEO Michelle Nunn attended. President George W. Bush, Former President George H.W. Bush, Former President Bill Clinton, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger all made video appearances.

Some of the Big Ideas Raised and Major Commitments Made:

Announcement of the Kennedy-Hatch bill, called the Serve America Act, to expand opportunities for people to serve at every stage of life both domestically and internationally. This bill was introduced on Friday and the first co-sponsors were Senators McCain and Obama.
Governor Schwarzenegger called for the next President to establish a Federal Cabinet Secretary position for Service.
$250 Million pledged in Pro Bono service support from IBM, bringing to $400 Million the total commitments toward the $1 Billion Pro Bono goal.
Establishment of a goal for 100 million Americans to serve.
Establishment of a goal for 1 million full and part-time participants in National and Community Service per year by 2020.
Establishment of a Volunteer Rating System, an online system to allow service participants to rate their experience.
Creation of a new America’s Civic Health Index, which gathers data gauging how well Americans are connected to each other and their communities. Communities and states would then be able to compare how they are doing with the rest of the nation.
New financial commitments of well over $50 million from companies, colleges, and foundations for volunteer and national service incentives and support.
Announcement of the National Day of Action on September 27, when thousands of communities around the nation will mobilize volunteers to demonstrate the impact that service can have on our society

These are just a few of the strategies for “becoming a Nation of Service.” You will soon receive the full list of these strategies with the rationale and implementation plans to support them.

The ServiceNation web site is filled with a full recap of the Summit including photographs, taped coverage of the sessions, and even testimonials sharing support for the movement. Take a look: www.servicenation.org

Two of the five key organizers of ServiceNation will be with us at our Commission meeting in Miami on September 25-26. City Year CEO and co-founder Michael Brown and City Year Vice President AnnMaura Connolly will share details of City Year Miami at our Thursday evening dinner. They also will tell us the latest news on the progress of ServiceNation.

National service has never generated more excitement. We all are fortunate to be a part of this important movement right now!

Wendy Spencer

Chief Executive Officer

Governor's Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service -Volunteer Florida

401 South Monroe Street

Tallahassee FL 32301





Congress has just passed a resolution in support of the Learn & Serve Challenge (9/24/08).

Click here to donload the text of the resolution.


Corporation for National & Community Service

This site is sponsored by: The Corporation for National & Community Service, Florida State University's Center for Civic Education and Service, and the Florida Department of Education.

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