My Voice, Need in Deed’s framework for service-learning, is organized around five sequential steps that happen over the course of a school year. Teachers are trained in the framework and given one-on-one support as well as monthly professional development and connection to resources and community partners:
Students are supported through individual and group activities to recognize their gifts and talents and then decide on a broad issue for their service-learning project.
Who am I? Who are we as a class? What combination of gifts and talents makes me who I am? What are the strengths of our community? What are some of its challenges? This simple act of engaging students in identifying social issues has power. The conversation itself ignites motivation.
Students use a variety of resources to explore the causes and effects of their issue and select one they would like to address through service.
When tackling tough issues such as racism, homelessness, violence, or substance abuse, adults can sometimes feel quite powerless. If we feel overwhelmed, imagine how this same experience feels for a child. Asking good questions that get to the heart of a problem gives students a sense of direction in their exploration.
Students use a variety of resources to learn more about their chosen cause or effect and determine how they would like to address it through service.
What do we want to accomplish with our project? A good service project is composed of the service the class conducts to address their chosen issue and the learning they will have to do in order to carry out the service effectively.
Students conduct meaningful service that addresses a cause or effect of their issue.
Conducting service builds students’ sense of purpose and capability. It calls on them to act and speak out on issues that are important and impactful in the community.
Students evaluate their efforts and celebrate their successes.
Culminating events show students that their efforts have not gone unnoticed, encourage engagement in future service, and bring closure to the project.
These five steps adhere to the national standards of the National Youth Leadership Council.