What is Learn and Serve America



Utilizing partnerships consisting of schools, community-based organizations, and local school-to-work partnerships, New Jersey's Learn and Serve America: School-Based Programs engage K-12 students in service projects in the following priority areas: education, human needs, the environment, and public safety.


  • School Success: helping children enhance their academic success in a safe learning environment through academic enrichment programs, tutoring, and mentoring.
  • School Readiness: helping pre-school children be prepared for school.
  • Literacy: helping school children be able to read by grade 3.
  • Technology: assisting schools and community agencies to build technology-networking capacity and enhance the skills of students, particularly in low-income areas.
  • Service Learning Project Example:
    Linden Public Schools: Linden High School and Soehl Middle School students provide assistance to and work with students from the Cerebral Palsy League on two service projects. The horticultural therapy and adaptive cooking programs provide a resource for attaining student objectives and educational objectives in planning and execution of gardening and cooking tasks. Middle and high school students learn adaptive measures for the use of equipment and procedures as needed to make gardening and cooking activities more accessible to students with cerebral palsy.


  • Crime Control: improving criminal justice services, law enforcement, and victim services.
  • Violence Prevention: reducing the incidence of violence.
  • Community Policing: supporting community-policing efforts.
  • Victim Assistance: work with victims of crime to link them with available services.
  • Service Learning Project Example:
    Camden City School District: After receiving 25 hours of extensive training and an additional 12 weeks of training, high school students in this program serve as youth trainers and peer mediators for elementary and middle schools in Camden School District. The focus of the training is on violence prevention using an interactive teaching method. The curriculum includes problem-solving skills, multicultural awareness, teamwork activities, cooperative learning, and tutoring development, which instill positive self-concept in students' culture and community. Teachers, parents and community volunteers are involved in the project at different phases of implementation. Upon completion of the training, the students also work in teams with 4th and 5th graders as tutors.


  • Independent Living: providing independent living assistance and home and community-based care.
  • Community Revitalization: rebuilding neighborhoods and helping people who are homeless or hungry.
  • Early Childhood Development: helping children in their early years with immunization, day care, etc.
  • Welfare Reform: assisting families on welfare to move to self-sufficiency..
  • Service Learning Project Example:
    Township of Ocean School District: This district matches students with service sites to identified areas of community need. The intermediate students provide services to specific sites that they have already identified, while high school students address a larger variety of social problems facing residents in the Ocean Township vicinity. To help alleviate hunger due to poverty in the area, students conduct food drives and volunteer their services at the local food pantry and soup kitchen. To assist the growing population of at-risk youth, and reduce their likelihood of becoming targets for less desirable influences in the community, older students tutor and mentor pre-school and elementary school students. Students also provide recreational activities and companionship to senior citizens, and provide assistance with school and neighborhood beautification projects.


  • Neighborhood Improvement: reducing community environmental hazards and revitalizing neighborhoods.
  • Natural Environment: conserving, restoring, and sustaining natural habitats.
  • Service Learning Project Example:
    Haddonfield School District: A sixth grade team of teachers designed an integrated thematic unit which focuses on the local Haddonfield environment in order to discover the similarities and differences between Hopkins Pond in Haddonfield and Mt. Misery in the Pine Barrens. Around the following three components: Generation, Restoration, and Preservation. This unit explores the inter-relationships that link the study of local environments with those of four ancient civilizations: Sumer, Egypt, Greece and Rome. Because there is nothing more basic to life than water, students also learn where water comes from and how it is endlessly recycled. By observing ways in which water is used and abused, students grow in awareness of the need to protect water as an important first step in ensuring an improved quality of life.