Youth Leadership and Service Learning Programs

 

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Creating a more modern and robust democracy for all Nebraskans requires young people that are equipped with critical thinking, community leadership, and civil discourse skills. NCR manages after school programs in Lincoln and Omaha, and works with teachers in classrooms across the state to create supplemental programs and provide resources to do just that.

NCR provides community service project coordination, resources, funding, and training of community leaders that work with students and teachers in the schools in both urban and rural Nebraska.

NCR has three programs under our youth community leadership and service learning programs;
1) Civic Action Project inside during the day classrooms with teacher support
2) After school service learning clubs called “Street Team”
3) Complete site management of Extended Learning Opportunity (after school) programs

Below are brief program descriptions, but to find out more in depth information, click the above buttons or contact Kent Day at 402-990-8489 or at kent.day@nereform.org.

Civic Action Project (CAP)

This program is called the Civic Action Project (CAP) and works to create partnerships with local non-profits and governmental entities to provide unique and substantive service and experiential learning opportunities for students in the community. The goal of CAP is to engage community leaders with youth, and subsequently engage youth in the community through issue identification, problem solving, and civil discourse to create more civically engaged citizens that are stakeholders and more connected to their communities.

Currently, our programs are in K-12 classrooms in Lincoln Public Schools, Omaha Public Schools and now in rural classrooms thanks to a partnership with the Rural Futures Initiative and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications Department.

Our engagement programs all adhere to the National Youth Leadership Council’s service learning standards to ensure quality service learning programming. We tailor the program to the community and issues identified by students.

NCR Provides:

  • Community Leadership: A civic engagement mentor (CEM) or program provider in the after school setting that is a community leader that works with and engages the students in a service learning project chosen by the teacher or class.
  • Financial: All project and program costs.
  • Logistics: Non-profit partnerships, field trip details, project supplies, etc.
  • Curriculum and Program Support: Our director of civic engagement programs is certified with over 30 years of teaching experience.

Substantive Service Learning Results In:

  • Enhanced critical thinking skills (identifying issues and looking at them from multiple perspectives).
  • Enhanced problem solving skills (after identifying an issue, how do we solve the problem while considering multiple ways of solving the same problem).
  • Enhanced Corroboration Skills – Supporting their opinion with evidence and research.
  • Enhanced Contextualization Skills – Providing students with opportunities to identify issues and then relate the issue to their community.

 

“Street Team” After School Clubs

The NCR Street Teams are groups of students who are motivated to engage with the community and make a difference.

The teams are composed of middle school students and their instructor. The teams meet in the after school program and discuss, design, and implement service learning projects. Projects could benefit a population of people such as elderly people in a retirement home, or a community issue such as graffiti, or projects could benefit the school, or raise awareness.

Partners from the community will come in to work with the teams and teams will go out into the community as part of their projects.

Projects that have been done in past include:

Supporting an animal shelter

Making sleeping mats for homeless people

Creating birthday treats for children in foster care

Fundraising to donate to people who were in natural disasters

Building and supplying lending libraries

Raising awareness about native prairies and environmental sciences

NCR Street Teams are currently in McMillan Magnet Middle School, Norris Middle School, Monroe Middle School, and Morton Magnet Middle School

Resources:

National Youth Leadership Council http://www.nylc.org/resources?page=1

UNO Service Learning Academy http://www.unomaha.edu/servicelearning/

Nebraska Children and Families Foundation                                                                                            http://www.nebraskachildren.org/impact_areas/middle_childhood.html

Extended Learning Opportunity (After School) Programs

NCR manages the Dawes Middle School Community Learning Center in Lincoln Public Schools and the Sherman Elementary Community Learning Center in Omaha Public Schools. Our primary goal is to provide quality expanded learning opportunities with a heavy service learning and community engagement component.

daweslogoAfter school programs provide extended learning opportunities that increase overall academic achievement and alternative learning environments for students outside the classroom. We are excited to be a part of these critical programs for our youth. NCR will be fully integrating our youth service learning and community leadership programs into existing STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, and Math), arts, and health and wellness programs.

Our service learning and community leadership programs for youth emphasize issue identification, problem solving, critical thinking, and civil discourse skills. We work to create engaged, informed, and critical thinking young leaders who are excited to take on issues in their community. Development of these skills will have cross curricular impact and enhance overall academic achievement.

 

If you have any questions or interested in the Civic Action Project in your school or classroom please contact NCR’s Director of Civic Engagement Programs, Kent Day at kent.day@nereform.org or 402-990-8489.