KIDS Consortium's Blog

Youth Can Extend Themselves at Extended School Day Programs: Community Engagement With Service Learning

Posted in 21st Century Skills, Service-Learning, STEM, Uncategorized by KIDS Consortium on November 23, 2011

“It’s not your father’s Oldsmobile” and “Orange juice, it’s not just for breakfast anymore.” You recognize those taglines from a couple of old ad campaigns, right? Just good old Madison Avenue suggesting that we should think about some old friends in a new way. That is just a little bit like what this post is doing, only I’m not a Madison Avenue ad exec, so I don’t have a snappy tagline.  Plus, I know that this is not an entirely new way to think of “an old friend.” But if you come up with a snappy tagline, please, share it. I’ll give you all kinds of credit for it.

Just for breakfast?

More and more extend school day program (before school/after school/during school vacation programs) teachers are using service learning.


For the same reasons that other school teachers use it—the benefits are many.

The Afterschool Alliance, in partnership with MetLife Foundation, released an issue brief this month that discusses civic engagement and service learning in afterschool programs. The title of the brief is Providing Opportunities for Service Learning for Middle School Students. Even though the title isn’t all that catchy, it is a good one to download and read, especially if you have been looking for ideas and support for service learning outside of the school day. (more…)

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21st Century Skills and Service Learning: Data Collection and Analysis Creating Critical Thinkers and Effective Citizens

Posted in Service-Learning, Uncategorized by KIDS Consortium on November 18, 2011

Wanted: caring citizens who think critically, analyze information and make well-informed choices.

Last week I posted a list of seven ways service learning provides opportunities for students to demonstrate 21st Century Skills and gave examples of one of the skills being met through a real project.

Here again is the list:

1) Solve complex, multidisciplinary problems;

2) Think critically, analyze information and make well-informed choices;

3) Be creative and entrepreneurial;

4) Communicate effectively in person and in writing;

5) Collaborate and foster teamwork;

6) Participate in civic life and democratic decision-making; and

7) Cultivate an ongoing commitment to learning.

Let’s look at another project and see how students are developing these skills. (more…)

Service-Learning Is Good for Business

Posted in Uncategorized by KIDS Consortium on December 10, 2010

“The top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004. We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist using technologies that haven’t been invented in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.” This is just one of the statements in the “Did You Know?” video on the progression of information technology.

Chamber of Commerce breakfastKIDS Consortium Executive Director Fran Rudoff chose to open her presentation to the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce at their regular breakfast meeting December 9 with this video. The trends described—the explosion of information technology and online connectedness, shifting demographics, the changing nature of the problems we address daily—underscore the importance of developing specific 21st century skills in our youth.

Titled “Service-Learning: How Businesses and Nonprofit Organizations Can Partner with Schools,” her presentation discussed how service-learning builds the skills that employers want and need, particularly collaboration and critical thinking.

Through service-learning, students identify, research, and address authentic problems and needs in their communities, using knowledge and skills gained in the classroom. This structured, student-led approach to problem-solving is targeted toward fostering problem-solving skills that can be applied to those as-yet-unknown problems of the future.

Fran Rudoff speaking at the Chamber meetingFran offered several ways that businesses can partner with schools on youth projects:

  • Be a Partner: Businesspeople live and work in the community, and may see a problem or need that can be addressed by students. Businesses can benefit from youth voice on advisory boards, too.
  • Support Student Projects: Businesses can get involved with student-led projects. Expertise, supplies, and other resources are needed.
  • Support a Teacher: Service-learning is a teaching strategy that, like any other skill, needs to be developed. Businesses can sponsor professional development for a teacher or school, or provide space for trainings.
  • Advocate for Service-Learning: Everyone can be an advocate for engaged, active education. As school board members, parents, grandparents, friends, and community members, advocates can make a difference in making service-learning a part of the way schools serve kids.

KIDS Consortium has enjoyed partnerships with many businesses through the years, including State Farm, Downeast Energy, LL Bean, Renys, Unum, and dozens more. We look forward to continuing to work with the business community to foster great youth projects for years to come.

The Chamber meetings are always a great place for ideas about where Lewiston/Auburn, Maine, and the world are going next. We appreciate the opportunity to engage Chamber members in thinking about ways to involve young people in our region in hands-on authentic learning experiences.

Note: The “Did You Know?” video was originally researched and created by Karl Fisch, Scott McLeod, and Jeff Brenman, freely available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike license.

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Service-Learning Funding Opportunities…and Award Nomination Opportunities

Posted in Uncategorized by KIDS Consortium on October 14, 2010

The school year is well underway. KIDS Consortium will be announcing our Green mini-grant award winners very soon. However, there are still many other ways to consider funding your service-learning projects. Here are a few funding opportunities for youth-led projects, some with fast-approaching deadlines:

  • State Farm Good Neighbor Service-Learning Grants: Grants of up to $1,000 are available for youth-led service-learning initiatives. State Farm Good Neighbor Service-Learning Grants encourage semester-long projects (following YSA’s Semester of Service framework) that launch on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service (January 17, 2011) and culminate on Global Youth Service Day (April 15-17, 2011). Application deadline has been extended to November 9.
  • UnitedHealth HEROES Program: This service-learning, health literacy initiative developed by UnitedHealth Group and Youth Service America awards grants of up to $1,000 to help young people create and implement local, hands-on programs to fight childhood obesity. Applications due October 22.
  • Youth Garden Grants: If your project is a school garden, check out the Home Depot/National Gardening Association program that supports youth-led gardening. Applications due November 1.
  • Consider posting your classroom need online at

We want to mention two awards in the service-learning field, through NYLC and State Farm. Nominations for both are due October 29, just 2 weeks away.

  • Youth involved in service-learning programs/long-term projects can apply for the State Farm Youth Leadership for Service-Learning Excellence Award. The award focuses on K-12 projects showing a high level of youth initiative in all areas including identifying the authentic need, planning the service, and putting that plan into action.
  • Anyone can nominate an excellent service-learning practitioner for the State Farm Service-Learning Practitioner Leadership Award. Download the nomination form at

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