Learn and Serve America (LSA) is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Created under the National and Community Service Act of 1990, LSA distributes grants in support of service-learning in order to simultaneously enrich the education of young people, demonstrate the value of youth as assets to their communities, and stimulate the use of service-learning as a strategy to meet unmet community needs. Service-learning is a pedagogical method wherein students apply what they learn in the classroom and work with community groups to address real-life problems. In this manner, students become active citizens in their communities. Studies have also shown that students who participate in service-learning programs have better grades than students who do not participate, as well as better attendance rates.
LSA promotes service learning by offering support to K-12 schools, community organizations and universities. In FY 2010, Congress appropriated $39.5 million. Of this amount, about one quarter is allocated for grants to universities and the remaining three quarters fund programs led by community groups or K-12 schools.
Through the LSA program, over one million students a year are able to help their communities while gaining important skills and academic knowledge. In FY 2007, a total of 1.1 million students participated in Learn-and-Serve funded activities in over 1,500 programs nationwide. Some of the services that the LSA program provides are grants for school and community partnerships; training and technical assistance resources to teachers, administrators, parents and community organizations; and collecting and disseminating research, practices, models and curricula.
A list of the various LSA programs is available here.
Because LSA funds community and nonprofit organizations, community organizations may be able to take advantage of the funding to engage youths in community service projects.
- Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents - representing some 6 million students - dedicated to promoting community service, civic engagement, and service-learning in higher education throughout the United States.
- Community-Wealth.org has a section on University and Community Partnerships, which includes links and information on service-learning at: www.community-wealth.org/strategies/
- The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)administers the Learn and Serve America program. The CNCS' website is available at: www.nationalservice.gov
The CNCS also offers resources and tools for serving and other service projects at:
- The official Learn and Serve America website provides overall program information. LSA also offers program fact sheets and other publications at: www.learnandserve.gov/about/media_kit/factsheets.asp
LSA also maintains a broad range of resources through its National Service-Learning Clearinghouse website at: