#DoGoodFromHome: NC Teachers Share Why They Use Design for Change  to Engage K-12 Students in Service-Learning during COVID-19 Crisis

Watch Webinar Here!

On Thursday, May 14th, North Carolina Service-Learning Coalition hosted a webinar about how North Carolina teachers are engaging K-12 students in the Design for Change #DoGoodFromHome Challenge. The #DoGoodFromHome Challenge inspires students to use compassion and creativity to engage in service-learning from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 As part of the international #DoGoodFromHome Challenge, students and teachers at Abbotts Creek Elementary (WCPSS), Ballentine Elementary (WCPSS), Envision Academy (NC Public Charter), Innovation Academy at South Campus (Johnston County Public School), and The Exploris School (NC Public Charter) have used the Design for Change process to identify community problems, empathize with stakeholders, plan and take action, and share their reflections and outcomes at the website. As North Carolina students are at home for remote instruction, Design for Change USA is showcasing inspiring work by students and teachers in North Carolina, across the country, and around the world as part of the #DoGoodFromHome initiative.

During this webinar, lead teachers at each school, highlighted how their students worked through the four steps of the Design for Change framework: Feel (building empathy), Imagine (brainstorm ideas), Do (implement solutions), and Share (inspire others), with examples from student service-learning projects. Participants learned how to support the implementation of the Design for Change process in formal and non-formal settings. 

More information about Design for Change can be found at

Make a Difference Monday

The NCSLC is excited to share resources for educators and parents to use during this time to help shape students into becoming servant leaders. Each Monday, we will share a helpful link for you to review to generate ideas of how students can make an impact. Check out our website or hashtag #MakeADifferenceMonday each Monday to see a new resource each week!

Monday, April 27th We ALL Have Something To Give! These lesson plans from Learning to Give will to help you link learning to generosity during the time of social distancing.

Monday, April 20th April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Amid the recent COVID-19 global pandemic, Earth Day 2020 has gone digital. Learn what you can do this year to celebrate the First Digital Earth Day.

Monday, April 13th #MakeADifferenceMonday by participating in Global Youth Service Day on April 17-19th.  Global Youth Service Day is the largest youth service and civic action event in the world and the only one that celebrates and builds the capacity of all youth ages 5-25 to help our communities and democracy thrive by working together for the common good. Check out their website for how to get involved and plan and/or participate in a service activity even while staying at home!


“Inspired to Serve” report recommends federal investment in service learning

Inspired to Serve presents The National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service’s conclusions, including findings and recommendations for legislative and administrative action as well as recommendations for expanding civic education and service-learning in K-12 schools across the country.

One major finding of the report was the need to revitalize civic education and expand service learning.  In the course of its work, the Commission identified a major flaw in the American educational system: the lack of exposure to high-quality civic education for students throughout much of the Nation.

The Commission recommends that Congress appropriate $450 million per year for civic education and service learning. Read the full report HERE.

Service Learning Summit Cancelled

Based on feedback from stakeholders, the NCSLC has decided not to hold the 2020 Service-Learning at Fayetteville State University on February 27th as planned. The timing of the summit has made it difficult for a number of interested educators and community members to participate, and we are concerned that this will prevent us from providing the networking and learning opportunities we had intended for the event.

However, we have invited presenters to share a recorded version of their sessions for the NCSLC to share online via our website and social media. Please be on the lookout for these sessions in the coming weeks.

If you registered for the summit and have NOT received a refund, please contact us at

We look forward to partnering with you in the future!

Service Learning: Designed to Motivate and Inspire

Originally published by Getting Smart
By: Liz Pitofsky

Part of the thrill of facilitating The Service Learning Project (SLP) is seeing the incredibly positive impact on youth of all ages, and there are consistent trends: Students are excited to participate in, but even more so to lead, the process. They are passionate about working together to help solve a social problem of their choice. And they are energized by the opportunity to share their proposals for change with adults in their schools and communities.

“Thank you for letting us express what we think problems are…
Thank you for giving me the confidence that I have now…
Thank you for teaching me that I will be heard if I speak up…
I wouldn’t have cared about this topic if you didn’t come.”
– SLP 4th graders

Why are children and teens so highly motivated by service learning or action civics? Research conducted by Paul Pintrich, University of Michigan professor of education and psychology, points to five essential elements of student motivation, all of which are fundamental to service learning, civics education and the SLP model.


According to the theory of self-efficacy, if students expect to do well, they will try harder, engage more deeply and show more persistence. On the other hand, if students don’t believe they can do something, they find it easier to quit or to feel that a task is impossible.

Service learning and the SLP model promotes student self-efficacy in multiple ways: First, at each step of the process, our faculty convey optimism about the general capacity of young people to create positive change, while also sharing stories about successful projects completed by other SLP participants.  Second, we emphasize the unique power young people have to capture the attention of adult decision-makers, which is confirmed during the research phase when students engage with adults who are often moved by their passion and determination. Third, we provide concrete and realistic feedback so that students do not feel overwhelmed by trying new tasks. Similarly, we make sure students do not attempt a new task, such as interviewing an adult working in their school, without sufficient preparation for the challenges that may arise.

Self-Determination and Personal Control

Not surprisingly, research also shows that students who believe they have more personal control of their own learning are more likely to engage. In an SLP project, students drive every step beginning with the selection of the social issue to be tackled. Although faculty guide the process, we ask students to take the lead by deciding what questions to research, which people to interview, which solutions to explore, etc.  Even with our younger students, who may not be quite ready to direct the process, we offer multiple options to choose from and then, at each step, follow the path about which they are most enthusiastic.

Similarly, SLP students have tremendous autonomy. Any task, big or small, that a student can handle, we give them the space to do so.  Whether it’s collecting information from their peers, facilitating a group discussion or editing a public service announcement (PSA), we encourage our young advocates to take charge and remind them throughout the process that the adults in the room are there merely to assist them in the process. This is very exciting, especially for young people who are accustomed to the more adult-driven approach of traditional classroom settings, and very effective in building their enthusiasm for the project.

Personal and Situational Interest

Tapping into personal interest is, of course, an excellent way to motivate students, which is one of the reasons our model requires that students choose the social issue to be tackled.

Situational interest, on the other hand, refers to how interested students are in specific tasks.  By allowing youth to take the lead in determining which activities to pursue, mixing up the activities throughout the process, and adjusting the focus, as needed, to evolve with the students’ growing knowledge about the issue, we ensure that the project stays interesting for our participants.

Value Calculations

Students want their work to be important and not busy work. With each activity, we make sure students understand why we’re doing it and how it will help advance their project. We also take any opportunity for students to appreciate how skills they are developing can be used outside of the SLP process in their academic and personal lives.

Goal Orientation

Students pursue many different goals in the classroom, both individual and social. Individual performance goals that are achieved through action civics include opportunities to demonstrate ability, receive recognition and compare individual progress with that of their peers.

Because social ‘success’ can be strongly related to effort and achievement, peer interaction is key to maintaining student motivation. Small group activities, which make up a significant part of the SLP process, are effective because they promote a sense of belonging to the group, demonstrate responsibility within the group, and provide emotional and cognitive support as needed during a particular activity.

Through work with SLP, we have seen the power of action civics and service learning on increasing the motivation of students. It is my hope that every student will one day experience the benefits of a service learning or action civics project—the benefits to students are profound.