Someone once called Need in Deed “simply a great idea.” Here’s why.

Students learn best when they can make connections to the world around them. That’s why Need in Deed starts with student voice.

We ask students what concerns them, and the issue they identify as a class becomes the lens for teaching and learning throughout the school year. Our evolution as an organization has added other dimensions of “great” to this “great idea.” Need in Deed is also

  • a great idea for achieving sustainable service numbers,
  • a great idea for building school capacity, and
  • a great idea for engaging the community in the schools.

We have come a long way since 1987, when we were founded by independent school parents concerned that their middle-schoolers’ one-off “community service” was not a meaningful learning experience.

Our focus on the city’s public school students grades 3–8 began in the late 1990s, when we were invited to join the School District of Philadelphia’s service-learning effort. Our staff facilitated the service projects with the students during school hours, reaching some 300 students in 6–7 schools each year.

Recognizing that our delivery model gave this powerful experience to only a limited number of students and left minimal capacity in the school building, in 2004 we founded our Teacher Network. We invite District teachers to integrate our approach in their classrooms, provided they commit to our program of extensive training, ongoing coaching, and individual technical assistance. Since founding the Teacher Network, we have served 12,000 students grades 3–8; at our current rate of service, over the next three years alone we will serve another 12,000.

While we have made these important changes to our service delivery model, we have been consistent in providing a high-quality experience focused on building students’ academic, social, and emotional skills through service-learning.

of Network teachers reported that students sustained or grew their ability to identify social issues in the community in the 2017-2018 school year.

We are committed to the students of Philadelphia public and charter schools.

Our first priority is serving the students of our home city. Through our long experience honoring their voice and supporting a teacher network across this major urban school district, we have much to share with other educators and community leaders.

service-learning projects were on display at the 2018 Shout Out.