Summer of Service Creates Positive Alternatives for Middle School Students

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Today’s guest contributor is the ICP Summer of Service Fellow Joshua Truitt.

On Tuesday, April 21, 2009, President Obama took a tremendous stride toward supporting youth civic engagement in the United States by signing the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act into law. Included in the legislation is funding for a new innovative program called Summer of Service (SOS).

A national SOS program — to help communities create positive alternatives for middle school students during summer vacations — was first proposed by Innovations in Civic Participation (ICP), an organization committed to increasing youth service opportunities in the United States and abroad. In the summer months, the lack of constructive activities and opportunities for young people often results in academic decline, risky behavior and an increased likelihood of failing to make the transition to high school. Yet, when young people participate in service activities they are better able to control their own lives in a positive way, avoid risky behaviors, strengthen their community connections and become more engaged in their own education.

A national SOS will enable a large number of young teens to participate in service as a “rite of passage” from middle to Continue reading

Service For All

RPCV Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) have introduced four bills that, taken together, emphasize access to service for people of all ages.

The legislators have called their initiative the Service for All Ages Initiative and it includes:

The Summer of Service Act would offer students making the transition from middle to high school an opportunity to participate in a structured community service program over the summer months. 100 hours of service would earn Continue reading