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Do Community Service Requirements Decrease Volunteerism?

While “service learning” is popular in many schools, with 19 states granting graduation credit for volunteer work, a recent study suggests that mandatory volunteer work may actually result in a decline in long-term volunteering from students. Sarah D. Sparks, writing for EdWeek, makes the case that incentivizing service learning in schools, rather than outright mandating it, may help students become more invested in volunteerism.

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Building civic leaders

A couple of months ago, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) released a report looking at the positive effects that the national YouthBuild program has in helping young people from low-income households become civic leaders. The program allows participants to work full-time for 6 to 24 months toward their GEDs or high school diplomas while learning job skills by building affordable housing in their communities.

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Soldier for a day

Instead of choosing to go to Disney World or another amusement park, a ten-year-old boy from Marquette, Michigan with Leukemia recently used his wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation to work with his local Army Reserve unit to perform community service. Talk about good citizenship! Read the inspiring story here.

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Community service–not just a punishment

Writing the other week in Time, former Clinton speechwriter and creator of the Guiding Lights Weekend conference on citizenship, Eric Liu, wonders whether we send the right signals about the value of community service when we use it as a form of punishment or as a substitute for jail.

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Baltimore’s Operation Oliver

In Baltimore, a group of military veterans have banded together to clean up and revitalize a neighborhood that has often been run by drug dealers and has slipped into urban blight. As the Christian Science Monitor reports, many of these veterans have returned to civilian life from their time serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and are now searching for a way to, as one retired Marine Corps sergeant put it, “feel useful again.”

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