By Penny McLaren 2013-06-11 22:12:43
Get to know some impressive students from around the country who are in charge and speaking out about not living “large.” Meet three people who are voicing their concerns about childhood obesity in their communities in conversations with some fairly influential people. Guido Dominguez, of Miami Beach, Fla., has spoken with former President Bill Clinton. Miranda Rosen, of Henderson, Nev., has collaborated with Nevada State Senator Valerie Wiener. Bodhi Lovely of Russellville, Ark., has shared ideas with Mayor Bill Eaton. These three individuals are bona fide leaders in the fight against childhood obesity—and they all have a particularly good view of the problem. That’s because they see it at eye level— they are students, in middle, high and elementary school, respectively. It’s not surprising that kids so young can speak eloquently about a topic that affects them and their peers. What is surprising is when youngsters choose to speak out—and go further to take action. And when kids put their passion and commitment on display and to work, it makes others sit up and take notice. Guido, Miranda and Bodhi are part of a larger group working to make their peers—and the adults in their communities— sit up, take notice and make changes. They are members of the Youth Advisory Board of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. With kids like these as partners in your own fight to address childhood obesity, we just might reach that vaunted goal to turn things around within a generation. Young Blood The Alliance for a Healthier Generation was founded in 2005 as a joint partnership between the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation to address the rise in childhood obesity. The organization seeks to “positively affect all the places that can make a difference in a child’s health, including homes, schools, doctors’ offices and communities.” Toward its goal to transform the conditions and systems that lead to healthier kids, the Alliance has launched numerous programs and initiatives. Through these, the organization supports more than 17,000 schools in their efforts to become healthier places where physical activity and healthy foods are available before, during and after school. In addition, the Alliance has worked with more than 100 companies to make better-for-you products more available and affordable to schools. It created the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) as a forum for young thought leaders who offer valuable perspectives on childhood obesity prevention strategies to both the Alliance and external stakeholders. The YAB is built on the philosophy that youth voices have a critical role in the fight against childhood obesity. Students ranging in age from 8 to 17 are selected to serve on this Board. They come from all around the country, from city schools, suburban districts and rural areas. They are appointed for an initial one-year term, but are welcome to serve for a maximum of three years or until they graduate high school. The YAB students meet in person twice a year (during the summer and over the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday weekend). Students perform specific roles in accepting the board appointment. They assume the role of advisors to Alliance staff. They also serve as spokespersons for the Alliance on childhood obesity issues. They reach out to leaders and do what they can to bring visibility to this issue. And they each make a commitment to conducting a project designed to make a positive impact on addressing childhood obesity in their own communities. Past projects from these enterprising youngsters have included developing a school garden, coordinating a 5K race for kids and teaching a class unit on healthy eating. Each YAB member is allowed to choose the project that best fits personal passions along with community needs. In fact, students who have applied to serve on the YAB already have championed some type of community or school project related to better health. Whiz Kids The Alliance’s Youth Advisory Board idea first took shape in 2008. John Wilson, national youth engagement advisor, has been involved in the establishment of the group since the very beginning. “This came out of my own experience in life,” explains Wilson, noting his own school-age engagement in addressing significant societal issues. “So I saw firsthand what it was like to be involved in solving a problem,” he says. “That carried me into what is now my career.” Wilson’s initial idea was to recruit a cross-section of kids willing to share their viewpoints with Alliance team members. He began by tapping the organization’s network of community stakeholders to help identify some school-age candidates and establish the first board. That initial group was different than it is today, acting more like a focus group and having minimal engagement, he recounts. “Like any organization, we have grown over time. We learned more.” The group’s service expanded from acting solely as a sounding board to Alliance staff to working with celebrities participating in Alliance events to the current model. Today’s student projects are not simple homework assignments. Each YAB member must develop a plan with measurable outcomes. “These are skill-building projects,” explains Wilson. “There is greater youth-to-adult interaction.” He doesn’t mince words when it comes to touting the level of commitment displayed by YAB members. “I was blown away at how capable they were,” says Wilson. “We moved from buzzrelated tasks to action, from talking to doing. They have the talent to do the work.” They also have the desire to make a difference. “Kids are engaged in working on their projects because they are concerned with issues like social injustice, how food affects the poor and kids of color,” explains Wilson. “Or they are passionate about community gardens. Or they know someone with diabetes, and see how it has affected families and kids. Some take on issues in their schools. Some want to see barriers to food choices broken, and so they are involved with community activism. Each one of them identifies with the issue.” YAB members must be actively engaged in their projects and not just build castles in the air. Regular progress reports are a requirement. Kids’ Stuff YAB in-person meetings, held in different locations each year, are co-facilitated by the young Board members and Alliance staff. “That helps make our own staff aware of what the kids are doing,” notes Wilson, “and the young people can learn from the experts we have on staff.” Once the kids get into their community projects, YAB members participate in a monthly conference call. These studentled calls are designed to provide peer support, sharing questions, answers and ideas as they develop their plans. The Alliance allots funds to the work of the YAB, paying for travel and expenses for each board member (accompanied by one chaperone) to attend the meetings. “We don’t want their participation on the YAB to create any financial hardship for the Board members or their families,” says Wilson. “They come from all kinds of diverse backgrounds. We don’t want the cost to stop them from participating.” The application process for joining the YAB today begins in the spring. Alliance staff work with school contacts to spread the word to potential candidates. Students submit answers to an essay question plus two letters of recommendation and are then interviewed by Alliance staff. After a year of service, YAB members can elect to stay on the Board for up to three total years, if they have not graduated high school. Some might opt not to continue, especially if they have other school interests or responsibilities that take precedence. YAB members can carry on and expand their project over multiple years, or select a new one. Of course, kids do graduate and go on to college and careers. What happens to a long-term project when a YAB member graduates? Sustainability need to be a part of the project plan, explains Wilson. “They need to know how to establish the project so someone else will keep it going.” Or, sometimes the YAB member acts as the catalyst for change, rather than a project manager. Their role might be to get the wheels of government turning or identify partners that can pick up the reins. No Kidding Around Through their service, YAB members are learning how to be leaders of their own generation as they grow into adulthood. “They build valuable skills,” says Wilson, citing, leadership, how to facilitate meetings, media training and community organizing. “Not just that,” he adds, “but they learn the complexities of issues and how to collaborate with others.” While learning, they are also doing— and making valuable contributions. “They have enormous potential to make changes,” asserts Wilson. “It is a program that is not really by kids for kids, but by kids with kids.” And the Alliance is learning a lot, too, from the kids and from the way the YAB has evolved over the last five years. In fact, the organization has developed a blueprint for others who want to enhance youth engagement around health and wellness efforts. Its Youth Engagement Guide is a step-by-step manual that describes how to get kids involved in addressing the childhood obesity epidemic in their own communities (see the box on page 42). “I think they are incredibly inspiring people,” says Wilson. “When we first started this, I was curious if someone 9 years old could actively participate in a project of a community-wide scope, or if 11-year-olds could make a difference in solving the problem of food deserts in cities.” He remains amazed by their compassion and their skills. “I see them as colleagues, not just kids on the Board. We see them as peers that have an equal place in the Alliance.” Wise Child: Guido Dominguez To appreciate the success of the Alliance’s YAB, let’s take a closer look at the efforts and attitudes of the three students cited at the beginning of this article. Guido, Miranda and Bodhi have taken on the issue of childhood obesity and are making the case for change. You’ll find their knowledge of the issue impressive—and be convinced that their peer-level insights could be a force for change. In addition, be sure to take note of the reflections of 10 other YAB members in boxes scattered throughout the articles in this month’s magazine. Eighth-grader Guido Dominguez just finished his second year as an Alliance YAB member; SY 2013-14 will be his third and final year on the Board. He is a student at Nautilus Middle School in the Miami- Dade County (Fla.) Public Schools district. Guido has been interested in body weight issues since 4th grade, inspired by the efforts and attention of a physical education teacher at school. He joined a running club under the teacher’s tutelage, who then arranged for Guido and other students to hear a speech on health issues by former President Bill Clinton. “In his speech, he stated that ours was the first generation that will probably die at a younger age overall than our parents,” Guido recalls. “That got to me. I thought, ‘What can I do to change that?’” In short time, he learned about the Clinton Foundation and the Alliance and applied to be a member of the YAB. “When I was young, I was a little bit overweight,” Guido reveals. “But I became healthier. I want my generation to live longer than our parents’ generation. I think other kids may listen to me more than adults talking about it. I have seen how it can have an effect on our life. When kids are healthy, they do better in school, have higher self-esteem and have a better social life.” For his SY 2011-12 YAB project, Guido used the empowerME4Life program that had been developed by the Alliance as an afterschool program. It is a healthy living course designed to equip tweens ages 8-12 with new attitudes, skills and knowledge about eating better and moving more. Guido presented the curriculum to 3rd-graders in an afterschool program at his former elementary school. Guido also has taken his role as an Alliance spokesperson and advisor to heart. At another elementary school, he participated on a panel with Reed Alexander, an actor and Alliance celebrity spokesperson. He also wrote an article for a Parent-Teacher-Student Association newsletter, co-hosted a picnic for 1stgraders to demonstrate healthy activities and has made the most of several other opportunities to talk to youngsters about keeping active. In SY 2012-13, Guido shepherded a project designed to expand beverage choices at school to include water and deemphasize sugared options. He’ll continue to work on this project in SY 2013-14. He also would like to host a 5K run for kids in Miami next winter. Guido knows that he can be a positive influence among his friends and other peers at school. “I know I am just one of many factors, but I have seen changes. I have been thanked a lot and received thanks from the PE coaches,” he reports. At his former elementary school, “Kids personally told me I have an impact.” Guido also credits his YAB involvement with helping him to change his family’s habits. Today, “We try to do something athletic together as a family, like do a 5K race,” he says. “Or we read labels together.” He knows his younger brother looks up to him, so Guido takes seriously his responsibility to set a good, healthy example. Thus, in May, he completed his first triathlon. As a competitive swimmer, Guido says he had no trouble with that segment and was prepared to run a quarter-marathon. His only weak area was the biking. “It went very well considering I was on a mountain bike and everyone else had a road bike,” he explains. Still, he finished fourth in his age group! And his YAB experiences have changed how Guido views himself—and his potential. “Now I am interested in health policies. I [once] wanted to be a theoretical physicist. But now I think maybe I might want to work with an organization like the Alliance,” he muses. “I have changed my views. I have seen how legislation works. I could become a senator or congressman.” Indeed, Guido’s already started rubbing shoulders with lawmakers! “I was an Alliance panelist for the Healthy Schools Program Forum where 251 schools [were represented],” he recounts. “There, I thanked President Clinton. It was a really great moment. I got to meet and say thank you to him.” Wise Child: Miranda Rosen Miranda Rosen joined the YAB in Summer 2012; she will complete a second year with the group as a senior at Coronado High School, in Henderson, Nev., a Las Vegas suburb. Miranda’s enthusiasm carried her into involvement with several projects. “I wanted to do lots of things that affect the community, not one big event,” she says. Among her activities has been discussing the importance of healthy living with Nevada State Senator Valerie Wiener. Miranda wants to see legislation that would require food establishments to post ingredients in menu items, as well as other strategies to keep kids healthy. She was appointed to the Vegas PBS Keeping Kids Fit Advisory Council as its first youth member and advises the group on ways to connect kids to various programs and events. She is planning to help coordinate some type of athletic competition in her school district. Miranda also is applying her personal interest in gardening to work with a nearby community garden in an effort to provide healthy foods for area families. All these activities will help her have an impact on more people. “A lot of people don’t know how to be healthy,” she notes. When Miranda speaks with fellow students, asking them about exercising or practicing a healthier lifestyle, “They say it causes them too much stress or it is too time-consuming,” and some find it almost embarrassing, she recounts. Others are so busy with high-level academic requirements that they think they can’t afford time to exercise. “I can show them that it is attainable, and it is useful to follow a healthy lifestyle. Otherwise, we grow up and have health problems,” she cautions. Miranda believes that schools need to make time for more fitness-based initiatives. That’s why she developed The Healthy Cougar Club with assistance from her PE teacher. Students work out together, doing Zumba or yoga or another trendy exercise regimen. (Independently, Miranda makes time for tennis and hiking.) Involved in speech and debate in high school, Miranda had been thinking about pursuing a law degree. Now, when she learns about serious issues like food deserts, it makes her want a career in public policy. She’s also appreciative of the working relationship she’s developed with Wiener, who Miranda calls “one of the most influential people in my life.” She also gives a shout-out to her supportive parents, especially her mom, who “has always taken me seriously.” The bad health choices of a grandmother with a poor diet and a smoking habit provide their own inspiration: “When you don’t care about your body, you are not tapping into all the meaning that life can hold,” Miranda says. “You only have one shot in life.” She says she loves everything about her YAB experience, really valuing the empowerment to implement ideas. “If I would not have been involved in the Alliance, I wouldn’t have realized my passion in life,” Miranda asserts. She also touts the close relationships she’s formed with her fellow Board members, even the youngest ones, she insists. “We all have this passion. We all respect each other. We talk and support each other, lend advice. Honestly, the members of the group are so inspirational.” Wise Child: Bodhi Lovely Having just finished his first year on the YAB, 10-year-old Bodhi Lovely is among the Board’s youngest members. He just completed 3rd grade at London Elementary School in western Arkansas’ Russellville School District. Principal Tami Chandler learned about the Alliance program and suggested Bodhi apply. “I stayed up late with my mom, and we talked about what kinds of activities I could do, like invite Jamie Oliver to the school,” he recounts. He reports that his first year got off to a good start at the summer meeting. “At first, we had a bit more fun,” Bodhi notes. “We played games. Then, we got to do more work. At the winter meeting, we did service projects and worked in a garden. That was fun. We helped to plant and move rocks and stuff.” Clearly, Bodhi found the YAB to be an enjoyable experience: “It was really good. I have reapplied.” Bodhi devised two service projects. Brain Breaks is a brief period of classroom exercise breaks conducted in between lessons. With the help of Chandler, he persuaded two schools in his district to try out the Brain Breaks idea. After a lesson has wrapped up, a teacher might play an exercise video or use a system like the Wii to get students to participate in a little physical activity. His vision for a Might Night event involved several sports activities being presented at different stations in a large room. Kids could come and try out each sport, getting a fresh opportunity to discover fun new activities. Upon consultation with Chandler, Bodhi reconceived the plan to a series of evenings spotlighting different sport each time. The goal, according to Bodhi, is that the introduction would lead to enrollment in a sport’s regular class or schedule. This would mean kids would be active every week. Bodhi plans to track the success of his Might Night initiative and benchmark results so that he can tweak the approach. For example, while some 30 participants turned out for “Karate Night,” Bodhi had hoped to attract 100 kids and thinks the location might have been a disincentive. “So next time, we are moving it to a more accessible location,” he says. Continuing to look forward, he hopes to expand both projects to all the schools in Russellville. Plus, he’d like to apply for grant monies to start up a school garden. “I think that is something I could do,” he asserts. In the meantime, Bodhi talks to his friends about healthy eating habits. “When they come home from school, they may get chips and cookies and watch TV,” he reports. I ask them, ‘Do you go outside?’ I think that I could make up some flyers that would encourage kids to only watch TV for an hour, and then go outside and play.” Bodhi might not know if his efforts will have a long-term pay-off throughout the community, but he knows he is making other kids take notice. Through his YAB participation, Bodhi says he has made many new friends and appreciates the peer advice. “If people are not coming to your events, then you can discuss ideas with other members, or help them out and they can help someone else. It’s like a circle,” he observes. He also enjoys collaborating with Principal Chandler about plans and ideas. “It’s cool to talk to people,” says Bodhi. When Russellville Mayor Bill Eaton suggested Bodhi write an article to support his efforts, the youngster followed through and saw it published. “I made it an invitation to Might Night and also suggested that they try the Brain Breaks at home,” he reports. “It is a good learning experience,” says Bodhi of his YAB participation. “When I joined, I only knew childhood obesity was bad and could cause diabetes.” Since, he notes, “I have learned a lot more.” Children Should Be Heard, Not Just Seen For the members of the Alliance YAB, addressing childhood obesity hits home; it’s a problem that directly affects them and their friends. That’s why they want to do something about it—and why they can be persuasive ambassadors of information and inspiration. Could your school nutrition program benefit from the assistance of engaged students? Absolutely. And while it might take some hard-to-find time to set up a youth advisory board, the potential for far-reaching success driven by peer-to-peer outreach is hard to dismiss. John Wilson advises that you seek out kids who “stand out, care more and go above and beyond. They want a platform, and they see how their value contributes to their community.” Got a student in mind who might fit the description? Go get that conversation started, because today’s kids clearly have something to say about health and wellness! Penny McLaren is a freelance writer in Vancouver, Wash., and a former editor of this publication. Visit www.healthiergeneration.org/about_us/leadership/youth_advisory_board to read more about the inspiring projects developed by all the members of the Alliance’s Youth Advisory Board. SNAPSHOT ■ Alliance for a Healthier Generation Youth Advisory Board members offer valuable perspectives on childhood obesity prevention strategies. ■ Participants are required to develop community-centered projects with measurable outcomes. ■ The potential for successful change is huge when engaging a by-kidswith- kids approach. Look Who’s Talking… …about changing the world Ethan Oro, 15, Menlo Atherton High School, Menlo Park, California School Nutrition thanks our youth authors, representatives of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Youth Advisory Board, for sharing their insights and enthusiasm with readers. As I rode the two miles between my community and the neighboring one, the large homes with well-kept lawns faded into the distance and were replaced by dilapidated houses with barred windows. Coming from a privileged community, where hunger and lack of resources has never been an issue, and coming face to face with the access issues of kids in the Green Oaks Elementary Afterschool Program definitely made an impression that still motivates me to take action today. Last year, I taught an eight-week healthy-living curriculum, empowerME4Life, at the afterschool program at Green Oaks, where 61% of students are English-language learners, only 22% of students read at grade-level and 80% of students come from low-income families. During one of my favorite sessions, discussing fruits and vegetables, I passed out a couple of apples and oranges; one of the kids commented that he had never tried an apple or an orange before. He inspected it as he would a strange object found on the street. This response shocked me, as I had always taken apples and oranges for granted. The fact that this 3rd-grader had never been given the opportunity to try something I [sometimes] readily wasted was a wake-up call. At that moment, I knew I wanted to go beyond trying to get him to try eating fruits and vegetables, but to get him some hands-on experience in growing them. To transform this wish into reality, I met with school officials, wrote grant proposals and eventually received $900 in [funding]. I brought kids from my old middle school to work with the Green Oaks community to build a teaching garden. Next, I found a local non-profit, Collective Roots, [that would come and] teach a garden curriculum covering nutrition and cooking. The Green Oaks students will now be able to grow a variety of plants and learn how to use them in cooking healthy meals. I can’t wait to see them bite into luscious cherry tomatoes and see the juice pouring out of their mouths! Every child deserves the opportunity to make positive choices about his or her health. And through my experiences, I know that change starts with me, and that my voice has the power to make positive changes. …about changing the world Katie Stagliano, 14, Pinewood Preparatory School, Summerville, South Carolina School Nutrition thanks our youth authors, representatives of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Youth Advisory Board, for sharing their insights and enthusiasm with readers. Since I was nine, I’ve been passionate about ending hunger. My family has always been blessed to have food on our table. I learned that this was not the case for all families. As a young child, I saw hunger as a simple issue. There are people who are hungry—provide them with food, end hunger. But as I have been on the front lines of fighting hunger, I have come to realize that it is a complex issue. In 2011, 50.2 million Americans (33.5 million adults and 16.7 million children) lived in food-insecure households. The effects of hunger can be devastating. Physically, chronic hunger can take a toll on a person’s health. An unhealthy diet can leave people defenseless against diseases and increase asthma rates, especially in children. Proper nutrition is directly linked to growth and development in children. A child who is dealing with hunger not only can have stunted growth, but they are often unable to perform as well in a classroom. Their test scores are lower, often full grade levels behind children receiving proper nutrition. There is also a direct link between obesity and hunger. Although it may seem contrary to what you would expect, many who are food insecure have an extremely poor-quality diet. There are many reasons why. Most emergency food programs are only able to offer packaged and processed food with a long shelf life due to a lack of cold storage. Food deserts can be another cause of obesity; if there is no or limited access to foods that make up a proper diet, the option becomes fast and junk food. For many, there is a perception that nutritious food is expensive, and those on a food stamp budget cannot afford a healthy diet. The effects of hunger can be felt on our medical system, our education system and our workforce. What is the answer to solving a complex issue such as hunger? I believe the solution is rooted in the earth. It’s a solution that gets us back to the basics in life; the purest and healthiest nutrition for our bodies. It’s a solution that knows no age limit and is not limited to any specific region. It’s a solution that can grow in backyards and schoolyards. What is the solution? Youth-run vegetable gardens. Do I know this solution can work? Yes—I have witnessed it firsthand. I started at nine, growing a vegetable garden and donating the harvest to those in need at soup kitchens, food pantries or through direct donations. What started in my backyard has grown into a national movement that is kid-based. Children grow vegetable gardens at their homes, at their schools, at Boys and Girls Clubs, wherever they have access to land and a water source. The produce they grow helps to feed their community the healthiest, freshest, most nutritious food. In return, youth receive an education in agriculture, nutrition, the environment, responsibility and compassion. Youth affected by hunger can, and often do, participate in growing the gardens, therefore providing a way to break the cycle of hunger. …about the importance of physical activity Bobby Sena, 10, West Creek Elementary School, Orlando, Florida School Nutrition thanks our youth authors, representatives of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Youth Advisory Board, for sharing their insights and enthusiasm with readers. In Florida, the sunny weather often leads me to our state’s amazing and beautiful golf courses. Golf can be played with both friends and family. I often enjoy walking the course from hole to hole with a bottle of water and fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks throughout the day. When I’m not golfing, I’m playing football in a community league to help keep kids active. The league is very competitive, and I enjoy playing with kids from my school. We condition and train four days a week, three hours a day, so my friends and I always hold each other accountable on the field and off the field to eat right and always practice. I definitely need to eat right and get plenty of rest to be able to perform and stay in the game. What I put into my body is important to how I perform—and that helps me build a high level of confidence that feels empowering. When I’m at school, my friends and I play basketball and tag. We don’t get much recess time, so we try to make the best of the time we have by choosing activities that get us moving quickly. Among the barriers to physical activity for my generation are video games and electronic devices. Many kids my age prefer playing video games or using electronic devices instead of playing outside. In an effort to help get kids to become more physically fit, I took on a greater leadership role in our afterschool Fuel Up to Play 60 club by organizing more physical activities and inviting community partners to encourage good choices today that will lead into healthy habits for tomorrow. I was able to win an Xbox Kinect for our school to teach students that video games can involve physical movement. Being physically fit can be very simple. You may not have the equipment or other people to play a game of football or golf, but all you need is a good pair of walking shoes and your family. There are many activities that you can do to get physically fit, so choose one and get up and go! Health-Based Service Learning How Can I Introduce a Youth Board In My School? Long-time SNA members likely remember the national Nutrition Advisory Council program that promoted development of school nutrition staff-led student groups. Although this national program lost its funding several years ago, SNA and its leaders never lost faith in the basic concept. Some states and individual schools continue to organize such groups. What about you? Now could be the perfect time to start, resurrect or reinvigorate an active student advisory group in your school or district. John Wilson, national youth engagement advisor at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, knows firsthand that today’s students are very interested in the issue of childhood obesity. It’s also a potentially terrific tie-in with the recent trend by districts across the country to require students to earn community service hours. Plus, such a group offers a great opportunity to help students develop their own leadership and problem-solving abilities. But how do you start? The Alliance has created the Youth Empowerment Guide to take you, step by step, through the process. You can find this resource online at www.healthiergeneration.org/take_action/empower_young_people/engage_youth. At the heart of the Alliance’s approach to managing its Youth Advisory Board is a service-learning model developed by Youth Service America. The model is based on the following components: INVESTIGATION: Teachers and students investigate the community problems that they might potentially address. Investigation typically involves some sort of research and mapping activity. PLANNING AND PREPARATION: Teachers, students and community members plan the learning and service activities, addressing the administrative issues needed for a successful project. ACTION (e.g. activity implementation): This is the “heart” of the project: engaging in the meaningful service experience that will help your students develop important knowledge, skills and attitudes and will benefit the community. REFLECTION: Activities that help students understand the service-learning experience and to think about its meaning and connection to them, their society and what they have learned in school. DEMONSTRATION/CELEBRATION: The final experience when students, community participants and others publicly share what they have learned, celebrate the results of the service project and look ahead to the future. Visit http://tinyurl.com/servicelearninginaction to see the full text of the steps for making curricular connections. Other suggested online resources follow. Corporation for National and Community Service A federal agency that helps more than 5 million Americans improve the lives of their fellow citizens through service. www.nationalservice.gov/about National Service Learning Clearinghouse A comprehensive service learning resource. http://tinyurl.com/servicelearningresource National Youth Leadership Council Provides an approach to teaching and learning in which students use academic models and skills to address genuine community needs. www.nylc.org/k-12-service-learningstandards-quality-practice
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