Washington, D.C. – The Corporation for National and Community Service is offering $5.4 million in grants to create new community-based Youth Engagement Zones throughout the country. The grants are managed by the Corporation’s “Learn and Serve America” program, which received expanded authority under the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act signed by President Obama in 2009.
The purpose of the grants is to provide service learning opportunities for students, which can include volunteerism, environmental conservation projects, urban renewal efforts and other hands-on activities that tangibly improve a community’s quality of life. The grants will support partnerships between local education authorities, community colleges and civic organizations to implement service learning programs in towns and cities nationwide.
Service learning engages young people in solving community problems, increases civic awareness and improves school attendance. The design and implementation of winning Empowerment Zone programs will feature active participation by educational and professional organizations to maximize the benefit to participating students. Existing service learning programs include educational outreach on nutrition, studying and mitigating the environmental effects of natural disasters, and assisting economically hard-hit non-profit organizations. Service learning seeks to go beyond traditional ideas of community service to include both a hands-on and an educational component.
“This chance to improve the prospects and quality of life for students and families around the country is too good to pass up,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, who sits on the House Education and Labor Committee. “This kind of social investment will be rewarded over and over in the years to come. Safer neighborhoods, more engaged students, and parents who feel their children have had a rewarding experience – those are exactly what federal and local policy should be about. These grants will make that possible, and I hope to expand this program in the coming years.”
Details about the grants and the application process are available in a notice at the Corporation’s Web site. Applications are due to the Corporation by June 15. For more information, call (202) 606-7510.