Service Learning
Students engaged in service learning can answer the question, "When are we ever going to use this in the real world?" When they use their skills and knowledge in real-life situations, learning extends beyond the classroom and into the community.

Service learning is different than community service in several key ways. Service learning includes student leadership, reflective and academic components, and chances for celebration once the service activity has been successfully completed. Students reflect on community needs, ways to help, and once their service has been completed, they can internalize how their efforts have helped, while learning more about academics such as geography, math, or science.

National School of Character principal Jeannie Maier (Salt Brook Elementary School) describes what one of her students did to raise autism awareness at their school.

Take a look at what our bloggers have to say about service learning, including such topics as what graduates should know before they graduate, connecting service learning to character, and Earth-friendly ideas.

Service Learning Resources at the National Forum on Character Education

Learn all you need to know about service learning at our National Forum on Character Education.

Education in Action: Great Ideas from Great Schools

Get your students involved in service learning. Browse more than 150 Promising Practices and lesson plans for service learning opportunities, arranged by topic, submitted by educators at schools like yours.

Military, America, Heroes

Adopt-a-Marine – Chesterfield Elementary School
Celebrating America: A Tribute to Our Heroes – Meramec Heights Elementary School
Celebrating our Constitution and Our Heroes, Past and Present – Alma Schrader Elementary School
Celebrating Veterans Day Throughout the Year – Oak Brook Elementary School
Fire House Service Learning – Valley Park Middle School
Freedom Pillow Talk – Sullivan Middle School
Gift Bags for Veterans– Beasley Elementary School
Honoring American Heroes– Jefferson City Public Schools
Honoring our Veterans through Service Learning – Chesterfield Elementary School
Military Care Package Project– Jefferson East Elementary School
Pillows for Soliders – Mehlville High School
Supporting Our Active Duty Troops – Murphy Elementary School
Veterans Parade – Beasley Elementary School

Hospital and Health
International and Multicultural

5th Graders Create Books for Peru Orphans – Carmel Elementary School
A Middle School’s Empty Bowls Are Filled with Hope – Oakville Middle School
Afghanistan Project – Point Elementary School
African United Interdisciplinary Project – Mill Pond School
Breaking Boundaries – Walls Elementary School
Community Partners’ Service that Saves – Lindbergh High School
Hearts for Haiti – Oak Brook Elementary School
International Service Learning Project – Wilton Manors Elementary School (link coming soon)
Native American Friendship Bowls – Muhlenberg Elementary Center
“Oh, the Places We’ll Go!” through Service Learning – Truman Elementary School
Pennies for Peace – Bayless Intermediate School
Service Learning without Borders – Imagine South Lake
World Wednesdays – Imagine South Lake
Shoes Supply Safe Water – Beasley Elementary School
Researching Countries Helped by the Shoeman Project
Fundraiser for Japan

People in Need

Animals and Nature

Elderly and Babies


Acts of Kindness and Recognizing Service Learning

Leadership and Kids Helping Kids

Service learning leads to academic integrity, according to David Wangaard, the director of the School for Ethical Education.

DENS – Warren Elementary School
EarlyAct Club – Lalor Elementary School
Junior Police Program – Imagine Schools at Desert West
S.A.I.L. Service Activities Involvement and Leadership – Secaucus School District
Academic Mentoring for At-Risk Students – Lindbergh High School
Elm Acres Service Learning Project – Pittsburg High School
KITTENS (Kindergarteners Inventing Teaching Tools Encouraging Numerous Students) – Endeavour Elementary Magnet School of Technology
Luke’s Buddies: Character in Action – Liberty Corner Elementary School
Partnership for Kids – Morgan Selvidge Middle School
Pathways to Inclusion – Cranford High School
The Peter Pan Project – Fox High School
YAP Service Learning Project – Fox High School

General Service Learning

100% Giving Day of Character – Blades Elementary School
Advocacy Groups – The Vanguard School
Angels’ Arms – Wild Horse Elementary School
Buddy Bag Program — Reaching Everyone – Lincoln County R-III School District
Building Community through Student Service Learning – Thomas Stone High School
Camp Kokua, Learning by Serving – Ho’ala
Caring and Reaching – Orrs Elementary School
Change the World through Your Heart through Service Learning – Westridge Elementary School
Class Character Competition – “The Golden Stone” – Thomas Stone High School
Every Child Lends a Helping Hand – Floresville Primary School
Gators Earn, Learn, and Give Back – Green Pines Elementary School
The Giving Day – Pleasant Valley Elementary School
Heart to Heart Project– Rogers Elementary School
Humanitarian Club – Lehighton Area Middle School
Kennerly Students Raise a Village – Kennerly Elementary School
Million Minor March – Maplewood Richmond Heights High School
Navigators Club – Sperreng Middle School
Peace, Awareness, Witness, Service Pledge – St. Aloysius Academy
Positive Action Center (PAC) – paxUnited
Project E.N.G.A.G.E. – Mehlville School District
Project-Based Learning within an Advisory System – Avalon School
Roughers Alliance for Intelligent Decisions (R.A.I.D.) – Muskogee High School
School Ambassadors Serving the School and Community – North Boulevard Elementary School
Season of Service, Period of Peace – San Leandro High School
Service Learnng Mania – duPont Manual High School
S.U.P.E.R. Club (Students Understanding Philanthropy and Educating Relationships) – Sadler Arts Academy
The C.I.A. (Citizens in Action) – Portage Central Middle School
Helping Hands Program – Uthoff Valley Elementary School
Fifth Grade Service Learning Project
Civic Responsibility: Meeting a Community Need

More Service Learning Resources

There are many resources available for community service projects, but the organizations and resources in the link below dedicate themselves to fostering service in a more sustainable approach. They offer service-learning ideas and other resources to help your students engage with their surrounding community and become life-long advocates for giving back.