Learn and Serve America:
School-based and Community-based Programs

This grants program involves school-age youth in service-learning efforts that are administered by two different sets of organizations and receive support through two different competitions. The grants are:

What is Service-learning?

Service-learning is a method of teaching and learning that involves young people in service to their community as part of the curriculum.

[Photo:  Learn and Serve workers helping school children 
use a computer.]Service-learning programs engage young people in community activities that show how skills acquired in school can be used to solve real-life problems. At the same time, program activities help students understand their ability to help determine and address the quality of life in their communities.

Service-learning involves students in ongoing community projects that complement their classroom studies. For example, students might plan, prepare and serve lunch in a homeless shelter on a weekly basis as part of their health education class. By creating and serving balanced meals, students not only learn nutrition basics, they also establish relationships with people different from themselves and gain an understanding of the conditions that lead to homelessness.

How are Learn and Serve America funds distributed?

The Corporation distributes Learn and Serve America funds in two ways: (1) to state education agencies according to a population-based allotment (states then award grants to local applicants); (2) to state Commissions on National Service, nonprofit grantmaking entites, Indian tribes, and U.S. territories through a competitive application process.

How do schools and community organizations apply?

School districts and community-based organizations complete separate applications. Interested schools and school districts should contact their state education agency for applications. Community programs should contact their State Commission on National Service. Nonprofits operating in two or more states may apply directly to the Corporation. For your state contact and information on application deadlines, please call Learn and Serve America: School- and Community-based programs in Washington, D.C., 202-606-5000.

What do successful proposals have in common?

Successful applicants reveal clear understanding of service-learning and how a program will benefit communities served as well as enhance students' academic studies. Ideal programs allow young people to fully participate in their design and implementation. They also help students gain insight into how local government and nonprofit organizations can work together to address community needs.

Go to Learn and Serve America: Higher Education
Return to Corporation for National Service homepage.